I have made numerous trips to the beautiful city of Stockholm over the last decade, yet somehow I have never translated the experience into a markontour blog. Worse, I also appear to have lost all my notes of the museums, bars, restaurants and record shops I have enjoyed. My latest visit lasted less than 24 hours and was largely spent in meetings, but it was fun enough that I want to go straight back, so here’s the start of a markontour guide to Stockholm.
A proper vinyl emporium, with racks of records neatly stacked and well organised, and which I had to visit after reading Tim Burgess’ ‘Tim Book Two‘. Swedish bands are prominent, but the bulk of the stock is British or American. On this trip I snaffled John Denver’s ‘Farewell Andromeda’ (with a mildly psychedelic cover suggesting country-hippy contents), The Pretenders’ ‘Get Close’, The Men They Couldn’t Hang’s ‘How green is the valley’, and Conor Oberst’s new one – ‘Salutations’ (the cheery title contrasting with a cover photo of a man face down in a swimming pool).
Built in the early twentieth century when Stockholm was clearly in some pomp, this has to be one of the most lavish city halls in the world (and I have been to a few). Certainly, when the sun is shining and Lake Malaren is glistening alongside, there can be no more beautiful place in the city. The Gold Room is more exotic than even the most over the top conquistador Catholic church, with 18 million gold mosaic tiles variously depicting a vision for peace between east and west, the journey of human life (lots of fun when you’re young, then a slow decline to death), and the history of Sweden. Visionary architect, Ragnar Osterberg, had a habit of changing his mind, so the Blue Room is not blue, the concrete roof joists in the council chamber are painted to look like an upturned Viking long-boat, and a whole room was reconstructed to accommodate a Persian carpet that turned out to be a few feet too long. Most importantly, and entirely coincidentally of course, the 3-crowned golden tower of Stockholm City Hall stands one metre taller than that of Scandi neighbour, Copenhagen..
Offering a stunning tasting menu of 3, 5 or 7 courses and specially chosen 60ml glasses of wine to match, Smak is a gourmand’s paradise. Of the Nordic tapas on offer, markontour particularly enjoyed the ‘Lemon’ – mashed roe, potato and onion; ‘Parmesan’ – risotto of mushroom, pumpkin and vinegar; and, obviously, ‘Mint’ – crisp pear and chocolate. Nice tapestries on the walls too.
* Thanks to Magnus & the Mayor for the special tour