Fika Runt Stockholm – A Map!

You probably already know that Swedes loves their coffee. And they love to fika.

Which got me thinking that, there should be a map to all the popular, or in some cases only, cafes in Stockholm.

I took the SL’s tunnelbanan’s karta (metro map), removed all the stations, and inserted cafes. Surprisingly, it was a lot harder than I expected. There were tons of cafes in innerstaden (central city), but once you hit the förort (suburb), it becomes a coffee desert.

What I would love to do is have your input for coffee shops at the missing stations. I will be taking comments here until March 15th. Then I will update the map and repost it.

BTW, right-click on the map to open it as a full image.
fika runt stockholm

And yes, it means I’m alive!


Chaos in Husby & Stockholm Suburbs – Interview with Rami Al-Khamisi of Megafone

What started as a hostage situation with an elderly man armed with a machete, has ended in massive car fires and destruction of property by protesters in Husby and its neighboring suburbs.

It is uncertain whether the unnamed man shot by the police was a direct threat to them when they entered the apartment. He was shot by police after refusing to drop his weapon and was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. However, Megafonen, a youth community group only saw a hearse and never an ambulance.

They believe the shooting was part of an increasing presence of police brutality in Sweden.

To get a better understanding of what is going on, I have translated part of the interview with spokesperson Rami Al-Khamisi at Megafone with the newspaper DN.

1. Varför startade kravallerna? // Why start the riots?
–?Det var en reaktion på dödsskjutningen i måndags. Folk uppfattar att polisen har rasistiska föreställningar som gör det enklare att inte respektera människors rättigheter. Dessvärre har vi också ett samhälle som inte tar tillräckligt avstånd från det.
– It was a reaction to the shooting that happened on Monday. The people believe that the police racist act make it easier to not respect people’s rights. Unfortunately, we also have a society that takes too much distance from this.

2. Använde polisen rasistiska glåpord som ”neger” och ”råttor”? //Did the police use racist taunts like “n—er” and “rat”?

–Ja, vi överraskades hur polisen agerade mot människor, man använde hundar och batonger mot barn och föräldrar och uttryckte sig med ord som neger, svartskallar och apor.

– Yes, we were surprised at how the police acted toward people, how they used batons and dogs against children, parents and expressed themselves using words like negro, blackies, and monkies.

3. Tycker du att det är okej att människor kastar sten och bränner bilar? // Do you think it’s okay for people to throw stones and burn cars?

– Det hjälper inte att vare sig försvara eller ta ställning till det som händer, vi kan bara förstå det. Megafonen arbetar för social upprustning och har en konstruktiv och fredlig roll. Det är inte första gången upplopp sker i Husby. Det är strukturella problem som politikerna inte har åtgärdat. Ju större klyftorna blir kommer det tyvärr finnas människor som tar ut sin frustration på det här sättet.

– It doesn’t help to defend or take a position on what happens, we can only understand it. Megafone works for social rehabilitation in a constructive and peaceful way. This is not the first time riots have occurred in Husby. There are structural problems that the politicians have not resolved. The larger the gaps become, the more people will take their frustration in this way.

4. Du är kritisk till politiker och regeringen? // You are critical of politicians and the government?

–Regeringen väljer att lösa sociala problem med ökad polisbevakning och militarisering av förorten. Så länge detta pågår kommer människor att resa sig och vilja annat. Det skapar inte förändring men många tror att enda sättet att möta makten är med våld.

– The government choses to solve social problems with increased police and military presence in the suburbs. As long as this happens, people will rise up wanting something else. It does not create change, but many believe that the only way to meet that power is with violence.

5. Varför kräver ni en oberoende utredning av döds­skjutningen? // Why do you call for an independent investigation into the fatal shooting?

–Vi kräver en oberoende utredning för att ta reda på vad som hänt. Det har gjorts tidigare, och kan göras på förslag av rikspolisstyrelsen eller justieminister Beatrice Ask. Den kan bestå av jurister, professorer eller andra experter.

– We demand an independent investigation to take account of what happened. This has been done before, and is done on the suggestion of the National Police Board or the Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask. The board is comprised of lawyers, professors, and other experts.

6. Ni kräver också en ursäkt till kvinnan vars man dödades och Husbyborna? // Do you also demand an apology to the woman whose husband was killed and Husby residents?

–Vi kräver en offentlig ursäkt till Husbyborna som känner sig otrygga och fruktar för sina liv efter polisens övervåld. Folk såg att kvinnan blev illa behandlad av polisen och var i chock för att hennes man dödats. Polisen gick också ut med felaktiga uppgifter om att personen avled på sjukhuset vilket han inte gjorde.

– We demand a public apology to Husby residents who feel insecure and fear for their lives after the police assault. People saw that the woman was poorly treated by the police and was in shock that her husband was killed. The police also went public with false information that the person died in the hospital, which he did not.

7. Men är den felaktiga uppgiften ett bevis för övervåld? //but is this

–Frågan är om det krävs en insatsstyrka så många skott mot en knivbeväpnad, psykiskt sjuk man i 70-årsåldern. Frågan är också varför han inte fick hjälp efteråt och varför man inte kallar på ambulans.

– The question is whether a task force was needed and if it needed to fire so many shots to a mentally unstable 70 year old man. The question is also why he did not get help after and why an ambulance was not called.

–End interview.

If you are live outside of Stockholm central in Husby, Jakobsberg, and other suburbs, many community groups are walking out during the evenings this week to help instill a state of peace and security for the citizens.

Stockholm, Vacation, & July = The Zombie Month

It’s summertime in Sweden. And that means one thing: semester. Vacation, that is.

the stockholm summer photo collection

Everyone is on vacation this month. I mean everyone. Like France and Germany vacating the cities in August, Swedes vacate their cities in July and head out to the countryside or abroad.

In Sweden, if you are a full time employee, you are guarenteed under the law to take four weeks off in July, not any other month, between June and August (see Magnus’ comment). It’s awesome that any employee can actually take a relaxing vacation and not have to worry about bosses, work, or the fear of being fired for taking a vacation; something that happens at many US companies.

But I love working for a couple weeks in July and then taking one or two weeks off for vacation. Since coworkers are off and summer business is generally slow, you can be the only one in your department.
That means you get your work done in peace, plan projects that are on hold until after vacation, and chill.

Plus, nothing beats taking the Stockholmers out of Stockholm! Stockholm is peaceful, nice, and friendly. Though, a lot of restaurants are closed and that sucks.

And you can always get a seat on the tunnelbanan.

*photograph by Andrew M*

On days like this, I freak out that the zombie apoycolyspe has happened. I really wish I had a gun license for a shotgun! Who wants those summertime zombies to eat people’s brains out.

If you are in Stockholm in July, there is still plenty to do:

  • Visit a Swedish summer country house.
  • Head to Öland and Gotland.
  • Be a tourist in Stockholm and check out the museums, my secret favorite spots, and walk walk walk.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride (will share photos!).
  • Get out of Sweden, but really, what’s the fun in that? You’re missing the one time of year when there IS sun.
  • Fika, fika, fika at the best cafes in Stockholm.
  • Head north to Lappland and enjoy the midnight sun.
  • Eat a lot of strawberries and drink wine in the park.

Trevlig sommar!

Public Drinking at Popular Parks in Stockholm

I always notice that whatever park I am in in Stockholm, people are drinking. Beer, wine in a box, cider kool-aid are the beverages of choice.

When I first looked online at Stockholm’s official site, their information was totally outdated, by years. That was not helpful.

This year however, they got it together and have posted where it is legal and not to drink.

Either way, the chance of a police office actually finding you and fining you for illegal drinking is almost nothing. Just don’t ever drink near a school (that is always illegal), be underage, or completely drunk.

The one time the police stopped us, they said we shouldn’t drink in this particular park but being midsommar, it was okay. Aren’t the police generous?!

Some parks are not governed by the city and some parks don’t have alcohol times but residents in the area may self impose restrictions. Be sure to check the park for alcohol rules.

Here’s the list of every park I could find:
Innerstan, Östermalm, Norrmalm:
Lejonparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 22.00-07.00 perioden 30 april till och med 15 juni.
Lappkärrsbadet – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 22.00-07.00.
Brunnsvikens strandbad – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 22.00-07.00.

Rålambshovsparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 00:00-07:00. Om Parkteaterns föreställningar varar längre än till kl. 00.00 är det tillåtet att dricka alkohol.
Smedsuddsbadet – Alkoholförbud mellan kl 00:00-07:00.
S:t Göransparken – Alkoholförbud under alla tider
Kristinebergsparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl 00:00-07:00.
Kronobergsparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl 00:00-07:00.
Serafimerstranden – Alkoholförbud under alla tider
Kungsholmstorg – Alkoholförbud under alla tider

Fatbursparken, near Medborgaplatsen – Alkoholförbud under alla tider
Skinnarviksparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 00:00-07:00 på hela Skinnarviksberget.
Tengdalsparken – Alkoholförbud under alla tider
Vitabergsparken – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 00:00-07:00 i hela Vitabergsparken.
Fåfängan – Alkoholförbud mellan kl. 00:00-07:00.
Tantolunden & Drakensbergsparken – There’s no information about either park from Polisen or the city website. I have a feeling that Tanto is still privately owned and the parks recreation does not fall under the city jurisdiction. It was privately owned but was given to the city many years ago. You can drink there without restrictions but the colony residents and park goers are known to have scuffles.

Liljeholmstorget & Trekanten – Alkoholförbud under alla tider

Am I missing any other parks? Let me know and I’ll try to get information for it. You can also download this map that Stockholm created.

Stockholm Decides to Consider, Maybe, Possibly Fining People for Cigarette Littering – Half Win

Two weeks ago, the Moderaterna Traffic and labor commissioner in charge of sanitation in Stockholm, Ulla Hamilton, wrote an op-ed piece in the newspaper Aftonbladet about cigarette littering {cigaretfimpar} and the need to curtail butt litter.

Basically, she wrote littering is bad and that the city needs to pass a law that both makes it illegal to dump cigarette butts but also considers it a finable offense.

Currently, there is only the Stockholm litter law which went into effect last summer. All those beer cans and engångsgrill trashed in the parks became an offense. But in typical Swedish fashion, not one person has been fined for leaving their crap out in public.

To me, this is a big DUH. The fact that Stockholm has never passed a law against littering until last year and even then, avoided placing cigarette butts as ‘litter,’ astonishes me. No wonder most parks in the city are a dump.

In 2010, Stockholm announced it would be working with the tobacco companies to clean cigarette butts off the street with nifty vacuum cleaners. Instead of having the people be responsible for the crap they throw on the sidewalks, the city offers a cleaning service to deal with the problem.

Seriously, the city needs to get with it. I am tired of living in the supposed “most clean city of Europe” when nothing is done to make the people be responsible for the shit they throw on the streets.

Here is a plan I support:

  • Make it illegal to dump cigarette butts and make it finable civil offense (note: not criminal).
  • Hire police officers that would be in charge of giving citations. I am guessing this is revolutionary idea considering in the three years I have lived next to Polishuset, I have NEVER ONCE seen a traffic officer issuing tickets. Hell, I have seen a traffic officer twice in my entire time living in Stockholm. They’re as good as severely endangered species.
  • Have police make occasional sweeps in parks and public places to fine people litter cans, garbage, and cigarette butts.
  • Provide more garbage cans, especially, small litter baskets to accomodate cigarette butts.
  • Blitz the city with campaigns and education to inform citizens: 1. littering is BAD; 2. littering is city offense; 3. cigarette butts are disgusting and destroy the environment.

Fast facts about Stockholm litter:

The City of Stockholm’s garbage measurement was conducted with the Keep Sweden Tidy and SCB.

  • Cigarette butts account for an average 65 percent of the estimated debris objects in streets and public places in Stockholm.
  • A 2005 survey shows that over 1 billion cigarette butts are thrown on the ground in Sweden each year. This is an increase of 36 percent since 2007.
  • For the sixth consecutive year, Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation will have 23 to 27 litter picking days in 2012.
  • Kindergartens and schools will receive materials about how we take care of our environment and will participate on litter picking days.
  • The City of Stockholm employs 150 sanitation workers to pick up more than 5000 tons of garbage each year.  That is more than 6 kg per Stockholmer.  This includes  chewing gum, candy wrappers, cigarette butts, cigarettes, glass paper, pouch, coffee mugs and much more. 
  • The litter costs SEK 100 million annually to pick up from the streets which instead could have been placed in one of the 11 000 bins found in the city.

What’s really amazing is that kids will be assisting on clean up days.  Not adults or adults who smoke and throw the cigarettes on the ground, but kids.  Sure, children should the importance of keeping a clean city but shouldn’t littering adults do the same?

No matter what, there is absolutely no excuse that Stockholmers have the ability to litter without repercussion.

My 9 Favorite Spots in Stockholm

It’s that time of the year again. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the tourists are arriving by the boatload (literally) into Stockholm.

I have previously published a few short articles about Stockholm but this should be your starter as to the must see spots in the city.

First, the Visit Stockholm collection:
Walking/Jogging Routes in Stockholm
15 Best Cafes in Stockholm
Best Bars and Pubs to Visit in Stockholm
Visit Stockholm on the Cheap: The Stockholm Card
Free Museums to Visit During the Summertime
Visit Stockholm: Bars with a View

I visited all these spots several times because they *feel* Stockholm. And they lift my spirits on good and bad days.

Vasa Museet / Nordiska Museet
Vasa Ship
A ship that sank because it had too much ammo. The Swedes dig it up from the wet clay and put it in a museum! It is the museum I have been to four times.

Nordiska Museum is the best museum for Nordic history and contemporary collections.

Kaknästornet – Located in Djurgården, this radio/tv tower has a small cafe and restaurant to enjoy a 360° view. No, the tower does not rotate, you have to move your legs but it’s the best place to see Stockholm’s archipelago.

I don’t care much for the food or coffee but I do love sitting down and watching the view.

Drottningholm – The Queen’s castle is for the summertime only. Go for a stroll, take a jog, or walk the gardens; this is one of the few castles to experience a ‘Versailles’ of Sweden.

Take a picnic lunch with you because the only place to eat is a quaint but touristy cafe. Tours of the castle are available during the summertime.

Crossing the Bridge to Gamla Stan
last of the colorful days
There are five bridges to cross from Stockholm central to Gamla Stan. All over their own special views. It’s one of the spots where you can be transported back in time and watch the world go by.

Moderna Museet / Asiatiska Museet /Skeppsholmen – Even if you are not a modern art or Asian art museum fan, go to Skeppsholmen to take a turn of the island. When you get to the top, where Moderna Museet lays, hope into their cafetaria for a view to Östermalm.

And play in the grassy area with the bizarre, colorful statues.

The view to City from NE Södermalm – Walk from Slussen station and go up the street, Katarinavägen. After 7-8 minutes you will see the docking area for the cruise liners, Gamla Stan, Gröna Lund, and Skeppsholmen. Most often people take the street sea level route (Stadsgårdleden) but it does not offer the charm of the Katarinavägen walk.

If you continue walking to the bend of the street, you can go straight (Fjällgatan) and head to Hermans for a fika, lunch or dinner. They have great vegetarian food and the perfect view.

The view to Stadshuset from Södermalm’s Radio Tower

Here’s a big secret. The radio tower is one very cool place to hang out and have beer. It’s windy and full of moronic teenage boys but the view is fabulous. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! I love just staring out at Stadshuset.

Lilla Essingen strand – Packed on those days when Swedes sit out like solar panels, you have to get to Lilla Essingen’s strand early. There is no sand there compared to the other beaches, on Kungsholmen for example, but it’s just a fun spot.

Take some grilling stuff and all the fixings, the local ICA grocery store doesn’t have a great selection so pack your meats, treats, and drinks with you.

Humlegården – One of the few parks that has grass; real, long stemmed grass. I like to find a spot in the sun but close enough to a tree that I can hid under if I get too hot.

During the summertime, it’s packed, surprise surprise, with solar panel Swedes. The upside is that there is a ton of hot Swedish men and women to stare at. Japp, delicious godis! Just shield your eyes away from the stekare. Eww!

All these spots remind me of how beautiful Stockholm can be. To live on a city built of islands is an amazing experience.

Berns Asiatiska {Dinner & Brunch Review}

One of the oldest, posh, buildings in the city belong to Berns, a restaurant and nightclub. Located at the end of Strandvägen and overlooking the beautiful Berzelli park (whenever they finish construction there) at the base of Östermalm, Berns is one of those places everybody goes to for something.

A concert.



Summer party.

Afternoon tea.


I’ve always been enthralled by Berns’ interior architecture. Entirely in the rococo style, the restaurant does everything to celebrate this late Baroque period: large gilded frames, huge chandelirs from catherdral ceilings, scrolled woodwork, and romantic lighting.
love the decor!

Then, Berns does something entirely crazy and instead of offering a Franco-Swedish menu or similar, they went all Asian, East Asian. From dumplings to spring rolls to sashimi, Berns offers the best of East Asian dishes.

On my first visit to Berns I attended a concert. Besides the fabulous architecture, entertaining unisex bathrooms, and overpriced drinks, it was overall a great night.

The second visit was at the Berns Asiatiska brunch. It’s pricy, 350kr, but with a full buffet of the same food served at dinner, a much better deal and selection.

Berns Asiatiska Dinner Service
I also visited Berns for a birthday dinner, which is when things went terribly wrong. We had a night where Murphy’s law dominated our service and food experience.

Our waitress arrived thirty minutes after seating to take our order. She skipped our drink order for another twenty minutes. In the interim, she explained that Berns serves its food family style; meaning, your orders can be combined and placed on a large platter to share.

Normally, I would love to do a family style service but as I only know two people at the table and considering many servings were single piece only, our host informed the waitress that we rather have individual servings.

She warned us that the ‘food will come out when it comes out’ and we agreed. What happened next was a nightmare.

Several dishes were combined, especially the dumpling orders. Some people receive one, two or three of dishes with 45minutes of ordering, I for example, received nothing. At that point I asked the waitress where my food was, she had no idea and after another fifteen minutes, I received one of two dishes I ordered: a dumpling.

Yes, a dumpling. ONE dumpling for 35kr (I swear I paid 32kr from the restaurant tax drop, but their website confirms 35kr). And when you are hungry and tired of waiting two hours from the time of seating, you are not happy.

the lonely dumpling

My chicken satay arrived a few short minutes after and the sauce was delicious but the chicken was rubber.

My friend had the sashimi platter and said the sashimi quality was higher than average for Stockholm, but average compared to a good sushi restaurant on the US West Coast. As for price, acceptable but not amazing enough to go back repeatedly.

A few other folks at our table never received some of their orders, only to find out that it had been ‘combined’ and served to someone else. The waitress did not inform either party.

With the whole fiasco over, I went home fuming; eating a burger and ice cream to comprise a makeshift dinner.

The amount of of times I had poor service in Stockholm had reached its tipping point and I decided to write to Berns and explain the whole situation. {Nicely of course}

Two weeks later I received an apology from the manager. He asked some follow-up questions and a week later, explained that it went all wrong for them as well.

He apologized, owned up to the mess, and offered myself, the birthday girl, and two guests brunch at Berns. I accepted and we went again.

Berns Asiatiska Brunch Service
As a caveat, when I went to Berns for brunch, the maître-de met me and knew about the situation. However, service from her was impeccable and she was friendly and smiling. Good start!

Our waiter, who served drinks, was prompt at refilling our teapots/coffeepots when necessary. He was not responsible for any food service since the brunch was a full buffet.

As for the brunch itself, there was a full section of East Asian foods: cold salads, raw oysters with caviar or truffles, Thai green curry, dim sum, soft pork buns, cut of lamb, sashimi, and sushi. And a perfect brunch is incomplete without a dessert table.

dim sum, oysters, and goodies

Favorites were dim sum – though could have been warmer, sushi, fresh scallops – which tasted like fluffy clouds, and oysters – which I ate for the first time.

The dessert table was the highlight of the service. Dozens of mini mousses, brûlées, cookies, and cakes line the table. There was something for everyone. Delicate jasmine tea notes in a crème brûlée conclude the brunch service in a masterful way.

the dessert plate

Overall everyone was very happy, well fed, and feeling good. I take pride in a restaurant giving good service and this time Berns brought itself from the dead.

If only restaurants gave their best the first time around, dismal evenings would not be had. Nevertheless, they owned up to their mistakes, offered a meal to give a second chance, and improved their reputation.

That is real customer service.

Berns Asiatiska
Overall: Brunch is absolutely a must for people loving Asian food. Afternoon tea is supposed to be excellent though have not personally tried it.
Location: Berzelii Park; look for a large building across from the theater.
Access: Closest to Kungstragården Tbana stop; 7 minute walk from Östermalm Tbana

Cupcake STHLM {Cupcakes You’ll Fall in Love With}

Exactly a month ago, on Leap Day, I spent the afternoon with Mikael, one of the cofounders of the cupcake bakery, Cupcake Sthlm (short for Stockholm).

They are a growing local business that I have loved ever since they opened in late 2010.

It was a glorious afternoon sampling mini cupcakes. Cupcake critics out there may call the cupcake selfish and overindulgent, but to me, it’s a piece of a little rainbow. The rainbow that unicorns puke, true story.

What I love about Cupcake STHLM’s treats are the mix between Swedish style and taste and American fluffiness. Mikael told me that on any day they try to incorporate three types of cupcakes: Swedish traditional, Swedish modern, and American. And go seasonal when possible.

Founders Mikael and Martin didn’t start in the cupcake business or even pastry school; they were chefs. They met in 2008 while operating a restaurant in Åre (the ski resort city) and wanted to brach out on their own with something new and exciting.

Then, Mikael’s girlfriend suggested, “Why not cupcakes? They’re cute, popular, and people love them.”

From then on, they experimented with different flavors and frosting. You know why their cream cheese frosting is delicious? Because it contains only cream cheese, icing sugar, lemon and cream. That frosting is to die for. They have a secret way to whip the frosting so it is solid enough to pipe (believe me, piping cream cheese is a royal pain), but creamy enough to melt in your mouth.

On any day, you can catch them selling seventeen flavors at their two little boutiques in Stockholm. A lot of them reminds you of Sprinkes, Magnolia or even Georgetown Cupcakes; the three powerhouses of the cupcake world.

What I love about these guys is that they are also about having fun. They have lots of little trivia and ‘free mini’ days if you partake in Facebook trivia or contests. And even if you are not on Facebook, a song and dance number will earn you a delicious bite.

{Today’s special is Stjärnan – red velvet cake/summer flavors/rhubarb. Comment on their FB status to recceive a free mini!}

Plus, you can book them for a variety of events including birthday parties, bridal showers (möhippa), tastings, and even a full evening rental of their S:t Eriksplan shop.

They also have cupcake classes where you learn to bake and decorate cupcakes. They have them in Swedish only right now but after the summer (when it’s cooler) are hoping to teach an English class. Even if your Swedish is basic, you should be fine if you know cupcake jargon. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll take a class.

Tourists and Stockholmers, go make yourself and someone else happy and pick up a few little darlings at their stores.
Location: S:t Eriksgatan 83 & Götgatan 78 (in Skrapan). Stockholm, Sweden
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10AM to 6PM
Sat-Sun: 11AM to 4PM
Types: Regular cupcakes, seasonal, and vegan