Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Paradox of Stockholm

Stockholm reminds me of that episode of Seinfield where he is dating a girl and her appearance can vary significantly depending on the where they are. Throughout the episode he continuously moves her to places where she has the more attractive appearance.

In Stockholm I can be walking in one city block and feel like I am in Greenwich Village or the upper East Side. I can walk a block away and feel like I have to be walking in the ugliest city on earth. The trees disappear and things look bleeker and less inviting.

It can really effect your outlook and mood. One minute strolling along on the tree-lined street thinking, "Yeah, this is OK, I can do this for a year" and ten minutes later the world is darker and my thoughts turn more to, "Blech".

My twelve year old daughter recognizes this also. We'll be walking along commenting on how we like this area or that area and when it abruptly changes (and it always does) she'll joke that we are "ooops, back in North Korea".  A comparison to the drab, unadorned grey landscape that fills the capital of the communist country, Pyongyang.

Another phenomenon is that many of these bleak unassuming facades hold some of the most wonderful interiors imaginable. A dull, old and uninviting entrance way can miraculously give way to a sleek, modern,  tech-savvy interior.

While I find the city itself less than awe-inspiring. It lacks the wonder of many European cities. I don't feel the specialness in the air as in, say, Paris or the richness of the history as in Berlin. But as far as interiors go, the Swedes do them well. These are, after all, the people who gave us IKEA.


  1. Don't stop...we are here waiting daily for your next passage. We discuss them, they engage us. We are mesmerized by your secret talent...

    I think I would like Sweden :)