Back in September I went to Sweden to do a travel story for Red magazine. I was thrilled because, although I’ve longed to go for years, I’ve never made it to anywhere in Scandinavia.
I was not disappointed. Everything you’ve ever heard about Stockholm is true. It’s the Baltic-lapped Venice of the North, everything is immaculate, everyone is beautiful and I’m sure I saw Eric the Vampire, eating dinner at the deservedly-named, Taverna Brillo.
After one night there we headed out to the rural area just to the south of Stockholm, which seems to be that city’s equivalent to the Southern Highlands, or the Cotswolds. A rural idyll the urban elite escape to at weekends.
I fell in love with it – but you can read more about all that in the January issue of Red.
What I can do here is share here are the gazillion photos I took – which I couldn’t Instagram or Tweet live, as it would have pre-empted the piece I was there to write. It nearly killed me.
I took gazillions of shots – and that was just of the ceramic tiled stoves, I became obsessed with – and it’s hard to choose, but here are some of my highlights.
Think of it like one of your uncle’s holiday slideshows…
Stoves r us. This isn’t even all the pictures I took of stoves. I don’t know why we don’t have these in Britain. I love my wood burner but these are so decorative and I didn’t see two the same.
This is a youth hostel on Sävö island (above), one of the thousands of small islands in the archipelago, just off the coast. £30 a night. So nicely done. The pink china became another obsession. I found it in a shop – but fortunately all the other gorgeous Love Hearts colours made it impossible for me to choose one, so I didn’t buy any.
Lakes are another big feature of the landscape. The huge tracts of still water give an amazing sense of tranquillity. The castle in the upper picture is Gripslholms Slott, one of the Swedish monarchy’s royal palaces. It was full of the most amazing Gustavian rooms, but we weren’t allowed to take any pictures in there dammit.
Then we went on to a different kind of castle… Taxinge Slott is a restored country house, now known as the ‘cake castle’. It’s basically a tea room with the most extraordinary spread of cakes I’ve ever seen. It was overwhelming. Particularly thrilling to me was the bright green one – it’s a Princess Cake, which the contestants on The Great British Bake Off had made the week before. Of course I had a slice – sponge, jam, whipped cream, marzipan HELLO? – and it was amazing.
When we got to the lovely resort town of Trosa, I spent an hour in the supermarket, looking at all the beautifully designed packaging. Everything looked nicer. I also bought all my presents to take home in there. Please note the brand of the pink tin of anchovies at the end…
This is the crispbreads aisle.
Our schnapps arrived in weird three-headed glasses which made me feel very Game of Thrones. It’s rocket fuel and led to a hilarious night. Skol!
Read more in the mag.