Sweden - Stockholm
Stockholm – Definitely the Capital
There was a time when I was a student in Sweden and the sheer size of Stockholm used to be awe inspiring. Especially if one had just been exposed to Uppsala and other towns in Uppland that are definitely small. Now that I am living here it is just the friendly big city in the neighborhood. Something like New Delhi, which I can’t say I am afraid of really. When one thinks of Stockholm now, or is told to name three important experiences from Stockholm, they will be SergelsTorg, Dramaten and Drottningsgatan.
The Drottningsgatan experience is actually the best for windowshoppers like me. Often, I just take a train to Stockholm and walk down Drottningsgatan a few times and let Mats pick me up at the Railway Station, near the Klarabergsviadukten. That takes clearly 3 hours for me. Ordinary names like H&M, Jc, Carlings and Vero Moda, which have most ordinary showrooms in Uppsala, have gigantic palaces here. It requires a lot of self restraint to stop oneself from buying everything. As I am one for patronizing shops in Uppsala, I usually carry no money in these trips. The Bankomat (the Swedish ATM) is always round the corner for emergencies. There are often street dancers here - I have seen all from Michael Jackson to Chinese puppets dance. In the centre is a fire eating dance, where the keep a hat for people to give money. Sounds very old 'Queens Roadish'.(That is what is the exact translation of the word Drottningsgatan). It is here that one can feel the sheer crowds of Stockholm. The worst thing for me is that I forget to walk on the right side of the road and have actually bumped into people.
As the name suggests it is the big theatre of the city. The building is very imposing and with names like Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman attached to it has a lot of historical significance. It was built in 1908 and had cost 6.3 million kronor in those days. The building is decorated with many paintings and sculptures made by very famous Swedish artists like Carl Milles and Theodore Lundberg. Dramaten has a capacity of 750 seats at the moment. The theatre had been opened in 1908 with August Strindberg’s play 'Master Ölof’ in 5 acts, much like the kind of plays they stage even now. We saw Köpmannen I Venedig( a modern version of the Merchant of Venice), which was also in 5 acts. At present they are running Romeo and Julia whose running time is 3 hours 15 min. The coolest experience was using the WC at the top of the building, which probably even Greta Garbo has used. There is a beautiful salon where drinks are served during the interval.
As a vociferous reader of Swedish detective novels,I had a very shady picture of Sergelstorg, which is always the place where the crook buys the gun. One has also heard of drugs sales here, but then one has heard of drug sales in Stureplan too and that still happens to be the best address in Stockholm. So the drugs story was not going to deter me and hoping that gun sellers wouldn't approach me, especially if I was accompanied by a sari clad mother... I ended up spending a whole day there. Continued here.