Stockholm, Sweden

A Day with Greta Garbo

Forrest Mallard

This adventure started about two weeks ago, when I posted a copy of the Swedish 100 Kronor note, featuring Greta Garbo. One of the first responses was from the amazing Charles Busch, requesting that I give her tombstone a kiss.

Location

Skogskyrkogården

Directions

Skogskyrkogården:
UNESCO Site

Today, I spent some time with one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood, right here in Stockholm, Sweden.

GRETA GARBO

I had no idea at the time that her tombstone was in Stockholm, and after doing some research on the exact location, and mentioning that I would actually be making that pilgrimage, I received another message from Anthony Maldonado to leave some pink tulips on her grave for him.

Today I Visit Greta Garbo

Skogskyrkogården (the name of Greta’s cemetery) wasn’t that far from where I was staying, yet within the 10-kilometer journey, I had to make a few train transfers, making it seem much farther.

At the exit of the train station were rows of florist kiosks, and this is where I thought I could get some pink tulips. But, pink tulips are out of season as they are more of a spring flower. So I hope Anthony will be ok that substituted pink roses.

Picking the Perfect Roses for a Legend

Right next to the pink tulips in the display case was a bunch of antique-looking lavender roses. I have always imagined that Charles Busch would live in an apartment with red velvet sofas and table lamps with fringe hanging from the lampshades. A kind of classy, West Village, bordello look. These antique lavender roses looked like they would fit right into my imagined Charles Busch house… so I got them for Charles and David Noh to share.

As I entered the cemetery through the main gate, there is a plaque announcing Skogskyrkogården as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is considered to be one of the most important modern Nordic architectural creations. It seems Greta picked a nice spot.

The name of the cemetery translates to “Woodland Cemetery.” This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, on the site of former gravel pits overgrown with pine trees. The design blends vegetation and architectural elements, taking advantage of irregularities in the site to create a landscape that is finely adapted to its function. It has had a profound influence in many countries of the world.

When I arrived at Ms. Garbo’s residence, I approached timidly. I was not just there for sight-seeing, I was there to deliver a kiss and some flowers for my friends. When the time came to give the tombstone a kiss, I think I actually blushed. How brazen was I to just do this! Then I set the roses below her name and I retreated several meters to a bench and sat for a while.

One of the Most Beautiful Cemeteries in the World

It was easy to get back up and continue exploring this beautiful place, and a walk there was comparable to a short forest hike. It was interesting to see so many locals using this site for walking, running, biking, walking the dogs, and even picnicking. A cemetery so full of life!

Charles, David, Anthony… mission accomplished.
The flowers… I think she liked them.

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By Forrest Mallard

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