Sweden for Christmas! Malmo is located just over the Oresund bridge north of Copenhagen, meaning I could cross off another European country off of my list with just a twenty minute train ride from home.
Josie and I had wanted to do a weekend trip to Paris or Norway to go snowboarding before heading back to the Bay Area for Christmas, but a couple of planning constraints (i.e. the plague) kept us closer to home. We had rented out our Stevnsgade apartment on Air BnB for the night, so in turn, we rented out a room in Malmö. Just adding to our Air BnB reviews.
A wee bit ghetto
Josie had been to Sweden three times previously, and had mentioned that Malmö just felt different from Copenhagen. As soon as we got off the train at the Trianglen train station, I could agree- the architecture layout were all the same, but it was eerily quiet; no kids, no massive hordes of bicyclists, no conversations anywhere.
We then found the street our apartment was on, just a few blocks from the Trianglen station. At home, the Norrebro area we live in is commonly regarded as the ghetto part of Copenhagen. It’s considered trendy and ‘up-and coming’ at the same time, which is interesting, but for many it’s not a preferred area to live. (I like it.) The street that runs through our beloved Norrebro is Norrebrogade, nicknamed ‘Shwarma Lane,’ and would probably be an equivalent to the street we were going to be staying on for the night. But rather than trendy clothing boutiques and bars scattered with kebab places and bike outlets in between, this street had lots of very temporary-looking stores all selling odd items of no cohesive theme. This is what I’m pretty sure I consider ghetto. So far, I haven’t come across a street in Copenhagen quite like it.
The American Store
Exactly as it sounds. Stocked with almost everything I missed, but for obscene prices- smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce ($12), all different flavors of Doritos ($5), CANNED PUMPKIN ($10, we would have gone bankrupt over this during Thanksgiving), Ocean Spray cranberry sauce in cans ($8), and an entire aisle of steak sauces and barbeque marinades. Oh, and giant posters of Justin Bieber.
Fortunately I’m on the way back to the States as I write this and have already anticipated taking back an extra suitcase for hot sauces, but if you ever need your fix, this would be the place.
I now know the difference between cheap Swedish design and expensive Danish design, but all of it falls under the umbrella of pricy Scandinavian design anyway. We found a gift store filled with all these great design ideas transformed into products, like a scoop collander (no more holding the heavy bowl over the sink!), wire birds that attach to hanging lights, carafes with cooling rods, pasta servers with a cheese grater built into it.
The museum of modern art in Malmo was located in an old converted drill hall, pretty well hidden off of the main street, but was pretty obviously an eccentric art destination once we found it. The exhibit this weekend was on surrealism, including works that attempted to ‘disturb viewers and shift their perceptions of what was considered reality.’ One that stood out was a piece by Salvador Dali, titled The Enigma of William Tell. I’d never seen an original Dali before. It was done in 1933, and portrays William Tell with the face of Lenin. I tried to eavesdrop on the docents leading tours, but they were all in Swedish. All I remember was that of all the pieces in the surrealist exhibit, this one was the most thought-provoking in a way that made the most sense. I’m probably not at liberty to comment at all on art like this but most of the other things we saw were just strange.
All in all, not sure how I feel about modern art, but I do really like the concept of composite photography/ photomontages.
Brooklyn style cheesecake in Sweden?
I had no idea Swedish were so into their cheesecake until we got there and saw it advertised on the A-frame outside each and every café. We stopped in a cozy one, ordered two slices of cheesecake and a hot chocolate, and sat in a couple of squashy armchairs upstairs enjoy it. So, so so good. Josie had been feeling a little under the weather and literally passed out in her chair afterwards, but when she woke up, it was SNOWING! Immediate happiness.
Big Fat Swedish Movie Theater- Biograf Royal
We paid forty bucks to see Twilight. No shame. Downside- unlike in Germany, they did not sell beer at the movie theater. Actually, they don’t really sell beer at all in Sweden… fair warning. It explains the Swedish teenagers taking the train into Copenhagen all the time to buy alcohol just to bring it back.
And the Twilight movie was NOT that bad!! Relatively speaking. There’s horrible dialogue and still a questionable plotline, but the cast is easy to look at and the last 30 minutes make up for all of its shortcomings.
Jule brunch with Josie @ Restaurang Smak
Before catching the train back to Copenhagen, we decided to search out a place for brunch. Maybe I never noticed it in the States, but in Scandinavia, weekend brunch is definitely the experience to be had.
Smak café/restaurant was located in one of the back rooms of a concert hall. Brunch came with a larger entrée, salad, coffee, and tea. We ordered two dishes- one very Spanish-inspired potato pancake with olive tapenade and arugula (basically a fancy version of traditional tortillas españolas– my host mom in Granada made these all the time!) and a traditional Swedish minced meat pie with lingonberries and mashed potatoes. The Swedish dish was familiar, mostly because it’s a better version of comfort food served at IKEA. It was essentially a giant Swedish meatball served up.
The salad bar was MMM good. There was a garbanzo bean salad, a slaw made from fennel root and lingonberries, sliced cauliflowers in an herb dressing, among others. I didn’t try much of it, though, because I was too busy being fixated on the rugbrod and giant loaves of sourdough with balsamic and olive oil.
The restaurant had a great DIY tea selection, with a spread of jars with different teas in them and filters to steep them to the strength you want. I just scooped a bunch of maté into mine and dropped in a giant mug all together, but Josie did it the correct and civilized way with a toothpick through the handle so the tea wouldn’t be steeping with the whole bag. Working at the CoHo made me really rough with my beverages. Sometimes I forget that there’s a proper way to eat things, tea in particular…
This meal was wonderful. I really, really love the holidays. I’ve never been so conscious of how I was spending them, and who I was spending them with. Now that everything is out of sync, without being in school with a simple annual routine, I’m feeling a little pressure to start making my own traditions, and surround myself with just the people I know I want to spend it with. Happily, it’s been easy so far.