When people want to meet downtown, this is often their meeting place as you can see from all the waiting people in the picture. A hideous concrete construction that gives great protection from the elements and is affectionately known as Svampen, i.e. "the mushroom" because of the way it looks. It is in a particularly good place for those about to hit the trendy bars around Stureplan since it is plonked straight in the middle of it.
Just recently I saw a program on equal rights in Sweden here on German TV and I also read something in one of the official pamphlets:
parents in Sweden have the right to spend the first 240 days with their newborn child - and 48% of the men make use of this! And indeed, we did see quite a few fathers with their little ones in a buggy walking through town!
The funniest sign of this "equal right" was a sign on the men's toilet - a sign for parents and children (diaper change). Before I had always seen it only in the ladies' area!!!
On the other hand women take over in other areas as well, such as traditionally male professions like busdrivers or soldiers.
During the summer you see a lot of swedes playing "kubb" in the parks. It's as popular as boule in France but without the berets. Ask to join and show the swedes how to really do it.
The game is played on a playing ground 5 x 8 meter, usually grass or gravel. Snow works in the winter time. The players are divided into two teams (1-6 players in each team) and take place behind their baseline.
The game is aimed at to knock down the other team's kubbs (small wooden bricks) with the throwing batons according to the rules. The baton must be held in one end, not in the middle. The throw with the baton must be made from below and forward!
When all the kubbs are knocked down, the king (placed in the middle) should be knocked down, the team which does this has won.
At the Evening of the Dead (Alla helgons dag) which this year 2003 was celebrated 1 November, the custom is to visit your family graves and put some flowers and also light a candel. At the Woodland Cemetary this is a big ceremony because of the great number of graves. When the sun goes down at half past three it is quite an impressing sight.
This custom has grown stronger during the last decades, but from what I have been told it is a fairly new custom in Stockholm, although the tradition has been used in the country side earlier.
We found that we could be standing on a corner with a map in our hand and no one would offer to help us with directions. However, when we ASKED, everyone was quite helpful and knowledgeable. Don't be afraid to ask!
If wandering around Stockholm museums and sightseeing points, you will probably come across the name Bellman. He was an 18th century poet and trubadour whose songs and melodies are much loved today, Bellman was a poor man who wandered around the inns of Stockholm and described what he saw in lyrics, and drinking culture played a huge part in it all with Bacchus being mentioned in several creations. He was also fantastic at describing 18th century Stockholm not just with its inns but also its harbour life and odd characters. Today, his music is sort of national-romantic in the way it is glorifying all things natural. Bellman is a national icon. If you are into music, why not buy a CD with his music in any record shop. There are countless interpretations.
By chance we saw the couple of this wedding get ouf the church in Gamla Stan, directly behind the palace. All guests wore lod traditional clothes and this was intersting to look at. i wonder if all swedish couples are wearing these clothes...
Even though I have lived here almost my entire life (I came here as a child from Poland) , I still cant stand the people - I mean the everyday meetings with everyday people. Thats why I have to get away from this place at least ones a year, I go to Asia, Spain, France, US - and even Poland - just to escape.
I have many fantastic swedish friends - so there are exeptions (and they too escape this hell - at least ones a year). Its hard to point out exactly whats wrong with these awerage people but they are not freindly, they are cold, sociofobic and lack all normal manners whatsoever. I have lived in one house for 5 (!) years and still the next door neighbour is trying to avoid eyecontact and has never replied to my Hello. If you go to a party you should bring your own drinks/wine and then keep it to yourself all evening. No shoes aloud inside, it looks kind of funny how dressed-up girls in elegant dresses walk around in their socks. Most swedes are extremely xenofibic and many are rasist - exept towards americans/britts kaukasian looking people.
Its a sad sad place, and people who move here think that its cozy, dark and kind of nice - for a while. But they soon find out that it doesnt get better, this is it. So better come here as a tourist: best time is in june/july. And remember to never smile at people in the street/store - they might think you`re totally nuts.
Summer season is a special time in all Sweden, but maybe the effect of summer is best seen here with so many people throwing their coats off at the same time as soon as the temperature creeps up ever so slowly and the sun stays up longer - a LOT longer than most places come June. People lighten up considerably and t-shirts are worn as soon as it is at all possible. This explains the Swedish obcession with going out on a sunny day. We simply cannot spend a sunny day indoors - what a waste that would be! :-)))
The Swedish people are very well-mannered and have a great respect for everything around them. Simple things like disposing trash in the proper place and saying please and thank you go a long way. Also, Swedes have a reputation for punctuality, so if you are invited somewhere, be exactly on time!
Many people love strolling along the waterfront here and there are summer pavilion restaurants and cafes along the stroll. You can walk all the way to Rålambshovsparken, a park where people sunbathe and where you can do watersports. This park is also a popular place to celebrate summer sports victories such as the World Championship football (soccer) bronze medal.