Seven Days of Positive – Day 84

In Sweden, Travel on December 12, 2014 at 12:06 am


Sweden 3144

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…

stove 2stove 1Sweden 3109Sweden 3104Sweden 3101

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.

coastal islands

Sweden 2805Sweden 2810

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.

Sweden 3129

Sweden 2818Moss and lichen were another obsession. This was taken on a lovely walk we did round the island. The light in Sweden is really different to anywhere else and these soft colours seem to pop out in it.


Grippsholm SlottSweden 3117

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.

Taxinge Slott 'cake castle' fearuing Princess Cake, as seen on Bake offSweden 3079Sweden 3076

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…

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Sweden 2995

Sweden 2992

This is the crispbreads aisle.

Sweden 2993Sweden 2989 Sweden 2990 Sweden 3001Note the brand on this gorgeous tin of anchovies.

Abba anchovies

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!

Maggie Alderson Sweden schnapps - and horror skin

Read more in the mag.




  1. Loved this Maggie. Sounds like a dream assignment. What with those pretty tiled stoves, Island scenes, cakes and castles and fab pink ‘Abba’ anchovies it’s all my ideal elements in a hol except would have to draw the line at ‘Hydra headed ‘ glasses full of schnapps !

    • Jane! Lovely to ‘see’ you. It was all sooooo gorgeous. I’m desperate to go back to explore Stockholm properly. It’s built across a series of islands, so water is everywhere. I didn’t see a single fat person the whole time I was in Sweden – which is amazing considering those cakes. xxx

  2. I totally get your love of the stoves. The place we’re staying in Austria next month has one – Delftish tiles and all. I can still remember it from 6 years ago.

    Maybe if it continues refusing to snow we will have to go up north to Sweden instead of staying in Austria. And I will certainly be buying a copy of Red – well done on being a travel writer as well!

  3. How wonderful. A part of the world I dream of visiting. It looks as beautiful as I imagined it would. I’m going to nip out tomorrow and buy my copy of red.

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