Time to kick off part III of my Stockholm guide, and this time we're off to Söder, which I know is the favorite of many Stockholm-travellers. Söder was once the home of Stockholm's many factory workers, craftsmen like carpenters and blacksmiths, and immigrants from all over Sweden, who came to Stockholm to find work and maybe get a better life. It was hard times. Söder was poverty and alcoholism, but also solidarity and loyalty. The low income and tiny houses all stood in great contrast to the "finer" parts of Stockholm, Östermalm f.i. being one of them. Until the 1960ies, Söder was almost considered slum. Some of the small, wooden houses were replaced by larger brick-made apartment houses in the 1880ies, but many of the flats were small, and Söder kept facing the same problems. When the worst conditioned of the old buildings were torn down in the 60ies, voices were raised. People felt it was their history that vanished. Thankfully a lot was spared. Today Söder has changed into the hippest, coolest, most retro part of Stockholm, with cafes and small, unique shop. Söder is revitalized, but it was always atmospheric, always special. I cannot help thinking about its strong history, biking along Hornsgatan. If you want to know more, read Per Anders Fågelströms books "Mina drömmars stad". Unfortunately, I think they're only available in Swedish.
That was a long intro. Maybe the longest there will be that doesn't feature any specific city tip. Don't worry! I'll get there. But first, Söder deserves all it's attention. Here I find some of my very favorite Stockholm treats. That's why I start with vegetables. Not buildings or a city view. We're going to start our journey at Mariatorget, where you'll find one of the finest eco food stores I know. Very reasonably prices and everything is so fresh you just want to buy it all.... They also have a small cafe. Don't miss it! (8T8 Medveten mat Swedenborgsgatan 1)
Why buy candy when you can buy locally grown swedish tomatoes?
Mariatorget - have your lunch in the park. And your eco ice cream. I know I already raved about it. I keep doing it. It's so so so good!
Mariatorgets metro station opened in 1964. It speaks to me with it's excellent original materials.
In Sankt Paulsgatan 24, on the southern corner of Mariatorget, lays St.Pauls bookstore. It's been located on the same spot for 125 years and is a fascinating conglomerate of antique books, local history books, newer books, children's books, postcards, chairs from an old cinema, stationary, and even local happenings. Truly a unique place.
Söder, and Stockholm in general, is bursting with baked goodies, buy frallor, they're all so tasty. My favorite bakery is Paulus, vis-a-vis the eco store. The staff is so friendly and everything tastes super yummy! While eating your fralla, you can start walking St.Paulsgatan, it holds great shopping opportunities, like the comic gallery, two fabric stores, and a shop selling old comics and magazines.
St.Paulsgatan ends in Götgatan, one of the main streets of Söder. Just walk it back and forth, from Slussen to Medborgarplatsen, and you'll most definitely find something to please your shopping needs. Don't miss Emmaus second hand clothing (Peder Myndes backe 8)
Next to Slussen metro station, Stockholms stadsmuseum/Museum of Stockholm is located. Learn about the history of the city and visit the great book shop.
Poplin is another top tip! A sewing atelier, where it's also possible to subscribe to the prettiest dresses made of the nicest vintage fabrics. Prices are very decent, and Karolina, the girl behind the brand Orkanlia, is super talented. Turn left up Hökens gate when walking towards Medborgarplatsen. (Hökens gate 7)
After you passed Medborgarplatsen, Götgatan expands and you have to watch out for traffic. But, it's worth it to get to Sofia, another cosy area of Söder. Turn left into Folkungagatan, stay on the left side of the street, and you'll soon find the fabulous store Retro.etc. All you have to do is look at the picture below to understand why this place is heaven. (Folkungagatan 65)
The area around Sofia holds lots of vintage stores, Cissi & Selma (Bondegatan7, picture below) sells beautiful retro dresses. Beyond Retro is a chain, with biiiiiig stores filled with clothes, shoes and accessorizes of all categories to good prices. ne is located at Åsögatan 144, one more at Brännkyrkagatan 82.
At Pärlans konfektyr, Nytorgsgatan 38 (picture below) you can buy the famous swedish caramels, and watch them being made through the window! The also stock delicious danish ice-cream! What are you waiting for?
Fab details to be found in this area! At Sofia there's also a hidden gift, the combined Museum of toys and transport. If you're into old trams and busses, or dolls and teddybears, this is the place. Lucky me who's into all of it, it's a two-in-one! The address is Tegelviksgatan 22.
Imagine giving this guy to your kid....!
Old ice-cream advertisement at the transport museum.
So, time to turn back to Götgatan for one of Stockholm's real treasures, the cinema Victoria. Opened in 1936, it's neon letters, lobby and artwork is maintained and in mint condition. Actually, Söder used to have so many cinemas I can't name them all, thankfully Victoria is still going strong. If you spot the green bronze lion on the baldakin a little further away, that's Göta Lejon. Once cinema, now theater.
As I said, Söder is so, so much! We have to leave Götgatan for the other main street that runs in the opposite direction, Hornsgatan. It starts off well, with several second hand stores:
Stockholms stadsmission (Hornsgatan 58), Myrorna (Hornsgatan 96, also at Götgatan 79), and Röde Kors next to it. Keep walking south, and you'll find more of your hearts desires. Don't miss Pen store, Hornsgatan 98.
Hornsgatan is also excellent for sign and neon spotting.
Hornsgatan is long, too long to walk all the way down to Hornstull. Take the metro. Hopefully you'll end up on one of the pretty, old, blue trains. Hornstull metro station opened in 1964. The tiles are to die for!
Actually, the entire Hornstull is to die for. Walk along Hornstull strand, and take a swim in Stockholms nicest, cosiest, loveliest pools. I can't find enough good superlatives to describe how much I love Liljeholmsbadet. Here I have photographed it 24/7.
Liljeholmsbadet is floating. It's actually a bathing house, reminds me so much about Japan and Chihiro (Spirited away). The pool is 17 meters long and the atmosphere is so relaxed and friendly, you never want to swim anywhere else. It opened in 1930 and has been voted most popular pool of Stockholm recently. No water slides or aqua action, just the best swim you'll ever have. (Bergsunds strand 26)
Hornstull also has a cinema, a small local one, that has re-opened and runs better than ever. Rio is so sweet (if that word could be used about a cinema??), it opened in 1943 and is drawn by architect Albin Stark. The neon is new, but it really works, the people behind Bio Rio is doing a fab job, though the cafe in the lobby is kind of overwhelming in the narrow area. Oh well! The cinema "Flamman" two blocks further up has been transformed into a work out studio....
Glass art at Hornstull strand.
Now, our walk is no longer organized. Here comes some best-of's, that just can't be missed. First, Medborgarhuset (Söder area city hall) at Medborgarplatsen. Drawn by Karl Martin Westerberg and built 1936-39, it holds among other things offices, a library, a theater, and of course an indoor pool. Forsgrenska badet is also very nice, I love modernist architecture, but nothing beats Liljeholmsbadet. That's just the way it is. Medborgarhuset can find comfort in the fact that no one beats it's yellow neon. It's just totally fab!
Söder is the mecca of us swimming enthusiasts, at Eriksdalsbadet you can swim both inside and outside. The outdoor pool is from the 50ies I believe, very good atmosphere. (Hammarby slussväg 20)
Sorry, couldn't resist the Hipstamatic filter here. And I don't remember which one. Sorry again!
When I was leaving Eriksdalsbadet, I bumped into Trädgård på sporet (Garden on the tracks, Urban gardening). The international movement has reached Stockholm. It's just brilliant! You live in the middle of the city, no garden, no chance to grow veggies....what do you do? You team up with fellow enthusiasts and start a garden on an abandoned track, all approved by the city government. Read more about it here: www.pasparet.org
We're coming to an end. But of course, I have to give you something special that's not featured in any guide book. (Except for maybe the Architecture guide of Stockholm, my bible lol). For anyone who loves 50ies style, Stockholm is the place to be. They have a very special touch to this époque, and lots of their buildings are so well preserved, in opposite to Oslo, who have made a true effort ruining everything. And were successful.
Swedish architecture of my favorite time period is desecrate, yet stunning, they use light bricks a lot and knows where to place the elements on the facade. Come with me to the Girls college of Söder. (Now a private college). Finished in 1943, drawn by famous (in Sweden) architect Nils Olof Ahrbom, you'll find it at Bohusgatan 24-26. I could post an endless row of pictures of it, but I promise, there'll be more 50ies gems when we get to the suburbs. Stay tuned, hope you enjoyed!