I’m going to go ahead and blurt it out, I fancied you from the moment I saw your photograph. So can you imagine my surprise after I discovered your personality not only matched your looks, but surpassed them? It didn’t take long for me to realise you are so much more than just a pretty face, or do you prefer to be called handsome?
The more I saw of you, the list of why I liked you grew and grew, even after I returned home I found more reasons to appreciate you. Maybe it was something I heard, or just something I read that I had missed the first time. It didn’t take me long to see you again, although at the back of my mind I worried whether we’d still have a spark, would I like you as much as the first time? Should I risk ruining my warm memories of you with another visit?
In the end I decided if we couldn’t get along, then maybe you were never really what I thought you were in the first place. But I needn´t have worried, you were just like how I remembered. Only this time you were shedding some layers and turning a beautiful shade of red, orange and brown: autumn had just begun. I bought my friend Clara along to see you, and she too revelled in your understated demeanour.
It wasn’t until we visited you in Södermalm that we noticed you were looking more hip than usual, the beard suited you and so did a few extra tattoos.
You, Stockholm, have so many qualities I admire. You’ve got character and substance, you’re cool and open-minded, you’re romantic and creative, and most importantly, you want to help people and the planet. That’s a massive turn-on.
You take care of so many people fleeing countries of war, and I’ve seen the monuments you’ve erected which symbolise a zero tolerance on violence. You lead by example. Although I understand in recent months you’ve developed a blemish aka a new government, hopefully this won’t change you a lot, and you’ll keep what the whole world respects you for: your acceptance towards others.
The knotted gun named Non-Violence sculpture by artist, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd.
Restaurants also belong to the Non-Violence Project.
I’ve tasted your food, so scrumptious and fresh – did I hear you say Fika? You take pride in what’s local, sustainable and organically grown, you like doing things the right way, and if that means taking longer and costing more money, then so be it.
Hotorgshallen food market
Get fantastic vegetarian food at Hermans Vegetariska Restaurang.
Yummy deserts at Blå Porten
You are intelligent and you admire the quality in others, when every year you hold the Noble prize ceremony and give recognition to those pushing the boundaries of modern thinking. You are a longtime supporter of equal rights, one of the first to introduce same-sex marriages and woman’s suffrage. You are a free-thinker!
I love you during spring as you emerge from hibernation, but summer is when you truly shine and everyone is out to enjoy you. And why wouldn’t they? Each day stretches into the next without a true sense of darkness taking hold, the sunlight never wanting to leave the night sky. Exploration of your many islands and skerries occupies visitors and locals alike, they hop on and off boats, some go swimming whilst others just dip their toes in to relish the coolness of your waters.
There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to explore you, any direction is the right direction. However, there is a particular view I like to see you from and that’s from above. When I climbed up the spiral staircase of the bell tower and saw you in much of your entirety, I couldn’t quite believe how spectacular you looked. Brimming with bridges, water and Baltic architecture. Although, I need to tell you to get rid of that mesh guard, I know it’s to protect people from falling down to a grizzly death but it spoils the view. I did manage to pretend it wasn’t there by peeping through the holes… but still…it’s ugly… get it removed.
But as I have previously written, for everything you are on the surface, you are infinitely more intriguing below. I mean this literally as well, just take a look at your underground. There’s a whole neighbourhood to explore down there. You’ve claimed the title of the world’s longest exhibition, spanning over 90 stations. Once I discovered this quirky side to you I spent hours and hours train hopping, crossing barriers and borders and taking photos to show people back home. What I really should do is ask the London Transport Board what the hell they are playing at! LET’S BE LIKE STOCKHOLM! If they did up the ante, I think it would save tens of thousands of Londoners from depression. I’m not kidding.
The Rainbow inspired Stadion Station
I thought you looked the best at Solna and Stadion station, but I loved the messages and drawings you left for me to read at Östermalmstorg. And about those messages – my dad said he remembered reading them in the 70s, all those years ago. A quick visit to see you ended up lasting two years. You made him happy, it was the era of all that love, and although he finally left and rooted his life in England, he didn’t forget you. So like father, like daughter, it was always going to be in my blood that I would like you Stockholm, because you’re more than just a pretty face.
The inspirational drawings and people at Östermalmstorg station