So, as you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame and I spent a few days recently in the Land of Ice and Snow, specifically in the lovely and gracious Swedish capital city. We had a truly spectacular -- or should I say spektakulär -- time, but I must confess I found the place a little odd, despite a lot of really great food.
Herewith, a visual record of some of the highlights of our trip. [Click on all photos to enlarge]
Contrary to what you might have heard, the Swedes are actually a vicious and warlike people. Here's an example of the kind of militaristic indoctrination Swedish kids are exposed to at an early age.
On the other hand, they have a deep respect for nature. Sweden is, in fact, the only country in the world where even the trees get their own cozies.
This was a sign at the lounge in our hotel. Apparently, the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been running a side business overseas while on the Supreme Court.
Like the Canadians, it seems the Swedes really like their moose.
They also really seem to like their Red Sea Pedestrians. This is the gift shop at the fabulous Swedish Historical Museum -- you'll notice that they're selling the traditional shofar, or rams horn, which we Jews wail on during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
And this was taken at one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the country. Why it has the Hebrew word for God as part of the decor I have no idea, but it shows a nice ecumenical spirit.
This is a typical Stockholm subway station. Some of the others, which I forgot to photograph, look like hyperkinetic acid trips carved out of the living rock.
And speaking of acid, we saw this at the Stockholm equivalent of MOMA. What I wouldn't give to encounter that on an actual interstate.
Noted without comment.
We had our first taste of those ubiquitous Swedish Meatballs at this joint, which has been continually in business since before the American Revolution.
Interestingly, not only had the decor not changed since then, but apparently Jan Vermeer was off in a corner painting a picture of the dining room while we were chowing down.
Saw this at a science-fiction bookstore in Old Town. A kindly American couple actually moved it lower on the shelf so I could get more flattering lighting as I photographed it. I am not making this up.
Have I mentioned that the Swedes really like their moose?
The gift shop at the Nobel Prize Museum. The national concensus is that Dylan's lyrics are better in the original Swedish.
And speaking of the Nobel Prize Museum, these lab coats were on display. Our guide told us that these were worn by future laureate Keith Richards while he was conducting experiments with drugs.
The Swedes are also a very considerate people. This is a canal behind our hotel -- note the life preserver thoughtfully provided for any locals who get existentially depressed and decide to jump in and end it all.
We glimpsed this sign in some sort of chi-chi shop window in upscale Ostermalm. I don't speak a word of Swedish, and I have no idea what this translates as, but who can argue with the confidence with which it's expressed?
And speaking of drunk history, I am very impressed with the fact that Sweden's most famous lady scientist (the country's Madame Curie) basically invented alcoholism.
An exhibit at the amazing VASA Museum, which is dedicated to the most embarrassing shipwreck in Swedish naval history. You learn something new everyday in this town -- for example, who knew that Kellyanne Conway was something of a national hero?
The gift shop at the VASA Museum. I think it's very cool that Soupy Sales' old sidekick Pookie the Lion is big in Sweden.
Have I mentioned that the Swedes really love their moose?