Monday, July 21, 2008

Dateline Stockholm, part 5

We picked the right day for our excursion to the Archipelago, as yesterday was a bit brisk but sunny, and we soaked up the rays on our trip to Finnhamn on the classic steamboat Storskär. The scenery reminded us of the Adirondacks in upstate New York: lots of green, rocky little islands, many with a house or two built on them. And while we did see a few powerboats, there were far more sailboats and far, far less of the humongous, obnoxious SUVs of the seas that clog up American waterways. The steamer was full of people carrying backpacks as the islands are great for camping and hiking (if you don't mind mosquitoes and ticks). The Sheila dipped a foot in the Baltic and promptly took it out, but the water's temperature didn't seem to faze the Swedes splashing about.

Oh yes, we also continued our exploration of Swedish husmanskost (home cooking) with pytt i panna, a sort of hash served with a pickle and beet slices. (I've lost count of the cinnamon rolls we've ingested.)

This morning, I headed up to Skogskyrkogården cemetary, where Greta Garbo is buried. It was quite a trek, as the subway line was under repair and I had to take a shuttle bus. Then I tried to find my way around the place, which is so spartan that it doesn't include many directions. Still, this has to be one of the most magnificent cemeteries I've ever seen; no wonder it's a UNESCO World Heritage site. A fine example of Swedish functionalism, it's completely different from the rococo excess of, say, Père-Lachaise in Paris; rather, it feels as if the graves are just in the woods. I was alone the entire time, walking in a light drizzle. Garbo's grave is a little more elaborate than the others, but not that much: just a reddish headstone with her name, no dates.

Alas, I won't have time to make it to Norra begravningsplatsen, which has Ingrid Bergman, August Strindberg, directors Victor Sjöström and Mauritz Stiller, and Vilhelm Moberg, author of The Emigrants (upon which Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus based their musical Kristina från Duvemala).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Parallel paths again! I've been running a Swedish hostel back home in Brooklyn for the past 10 days, and learning the finer points of Swedish censorship, "kickers", and death metal. Drop me a line someday, I want to trade books: