Forrest Mallard - July 18, 2020

Urban Exploring in Stockholm

As a blog that promotes healthy, walking holidays, Trampasaurus Treks knows you sometimes want to get off the hiking trails and explore the city. In our Urban Exploring series, we invite you to put on your walking shoes, hit the streets, and discover the Hidden Gems of Stockholm.


Tegnérlunden Park

Where Astrid Lindgren’s thoughts took flight. In truth, this hidden gem of Stockholm is only a lightly curved green space amidst tall houses built at the turn of the past century and crisscrossed by a few trails. There is a small pavilion where a spring comes up, its waters running through a brook and into a pond at the foot of the hill.

However, it is during dusk that this place developed a particular charm. Then one can imagine how Astrid Lindgren on her way home to the Vasa neighborhood saw a young boy sitting on a bench. That got her thinking. He might be living in one of the nearby houses? And she asked herself why he preferred to sit here in the dark instead of going home.

The Musings of Astrid Lindgren

As she carried on musing about this, she had the idea of a genie-in-a-bottle taking a boy with it to a faraway land. That was the birth of the concept for her book ‘Mio, My Son.’

Front-Astrid-Lindgren-Tegnerlunden-Stockholm-Sweden

In Tegnérlunden Park, a bronze sculpture of the famous children’s author commemorates the fact that this hidden gem of Stockholm inspired many of her stories. For decades Astrid lived nearby at Dalagatan 46. (Take a virtual tour of the author’s house online at www.astridlindren.se)

Sitting on the shoulders of the author is Mister Lilyvale, who every evening takes the sick boy Goran with him into the land of twilight. A country where everything is possible, where young boys can drive trams and fly over church steeples. The popular author is opening her own coat to warm and protect a boy crouching in the foreground, his eyes closed. Could it be that he’s listening to one of her stories?

Once dusk falls, Tegnérlunden Park lies deserted, with the lights being switched on in the surrounding houses. Is this the Goran looking out of the window? And isn’t that the tiny Mister Lilyvale perched on the window sill? Was that sound a car passing or was it Karlsson’s propeller? In this place and with Astrid Lindgren behind you thoughts start flying. And anything is possible in the twilight hours.


Skinnarviks Mountain

A rocky plateau in the heart of Stockholm. In itself that wouldn’t be as much of a hidden gem of Stockholm, as other points around the city offer impressive views too. What is special here is that you feel like you are standing on a high mountain summit – right in the heart of the city!

Not even five minutes from busy Hornsgatan, the narrow Gamla Lundagatan snakes past a few small 18th-century wooden houses, painted red and yellow. These are the last remains of the old workers’ quarter that once stood here. In the 17th century, the mound was first settled by knackers and tanners. The eastern banks of the Södermälarstrand were called Skinnarvik at the time – another hidden gem of Stockholm, the Bay of Skinners.

There was plenty of water they needed for their work here. Also, they were far enough away from the town center at the time: tanning animal hides is a very stinky business. At a later stage, workers employed at textile factories, a brewery, and other industries settled here.

In Gamla Lundagatan the urban noise lessens perceptibly, and the ambiance is more reminiscent of a village. At its end, a narrow path leads uphill, and suddenly you’re standing on the summit. Only treetops line the extensive rock plateau. The telegraph mast standing in its center adds even more to the impression of standing on a mountain ridge. At the foot of the mountain lies glittering Lake Mälar, the sparkling spire of the Stadshuset is visible in the distance and to the right is a view of Riddarholmen.


Skogskyrkogården

Skogskyrkogården translates to “Woodland Cemetery.”

In 1915, Ashland and Sigurd Lewerentz, who had met at university, won the competition for designing the forest cemetery. The concept developed by the two architects focused on the emotions of the visitors of the cemetery, the mourners with their feelings. The architects wanted them to find solace in nature, symbolizing the cycle of life, and thus be accompanied in their pain. This Stockholm cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920 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.

The Skogs Chapel

Morbidly Beautiful Details. At the center of the Most Beautiful Cemetery. Standing amidst the dense conifer trees, the forest chapel by the great Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund first appears like a modest cottage. The only ornament is the golden Angel of Death by Carl Milles on the wood shingle roof above the entrance. The angel receives visitors with open arms. The chapel, inaugurated in the 1920s, is the first and smallest in Stockholm’s large forest cemetery. The Danish pleasure palace of Liselund, the world’s only thatched palace, had inspired Asplund to design this building.

As a consequence, the small forest chapel is surrounded by a low stone wall inside of which the trees are noticeably denser. They are intended to give mourners the opportunity to collect their thoughts before taking their leave of the departed. Inside visitors are greeted by a surprisingly light-filled room with a pantheon-like dome which conveys a feeling of lightness. After the ceremony, the mourners are led out through another entrance into a bright open landscape intended to make their return to life easier. Impressively designed through and through the chapel is filled with fascinating details. The keyhole at the entrance represents the eye of a death’s head and the cast-iron gate bears a host of Christian symbols.

Asplund and Lewerentz, who were behind this impressive landscaping, completed the cemetery in 1940. Gunner Asplund was to die only a few months after its inauguration. On the plain stone marking of his grave in front of the Chapel of Faith is the inscription: “His Work Lives On.”

Grave of Greta Garbo

One day in Stockholm I planned to take a trip to spend the day with one of the biggest stars in the history of Hollywood. I hadn’t considered before I arriving in Denmark which famous people might be buried there, but after mentioning I was spending some time in Stockholm one summer, a few of my friends that love classic films got very excited that I might visit Greta Garbo. So I made plans to do that for them and to place flowers on her grave for them.

Skogskyrkogården 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 and made it seem much more of a hidden gem of Stockholm. 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.

Right next to the pink tulips in the display case was a bunch of antique-looking lavender roses. These antique lavender roses looked like they would fit right into my friend’s house… so I got them for Greta.

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.

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.

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!


The Brunkeberg Tunnel

Located between David Bagares gata and Tunnelgatan, the Brunkeberg Tunnel turned out to be a difficult task for the engineers back in 1884. Two years later it was ready to welcome the Stockholmers and it is now a classic Instagram spot in the Swedish capital.

A Retrofuturistic Passage

This hidden gem of Stockholm does feel a little like being in a science fiction movie. The walls of the tunnel tube 231 meters (758 feet) long, four meters (13 feet) wide are clad with bright-yellow slabs. The ceiling consists of corrugated iron and riveted metal illuminated by neon tubes at regular intervals. In photographs, this somewhat futuristic effect is enhanced, accentuating, even more, the interesting shadow play between light and corrugated iron. At two points the cladding is broken, and a glimpse behind a wire netting reveals why the construction of the tunnel nearly turned into a fiasco in the late 19th century.

A Very Difficult Dig

Old maps of Stockholm show a narrow ridge running across Norrmalm. Formed during the Ice Age, this ridge made up of sand and debris – once divided the district. That goes some way towards explaining why the Brunkeberg Tunnel, which is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, seems to be the only underground passage to have ever been drilled through what is known as the Brunkebergásen.

This is where engineer Knut Lindmark, who made a name for himself with drawings for the old Katarinahissen lift, met his Waterloo. Loose rock debris on the western side caused the tunnel to collapse time and again. Only a freezer unit, originally invented for the transport of perishable goods by ship and rented especially from England, brought the solution the team longed for. The device allowed the scree to be cooled down to a temperature of minus 18 degrees, deep-freezing it as it were and allowing the crews to dig without interruption.

In 1886 King Oscar II inaugurated the tunnel, the passage of which initially cost two öre. The fee was abolished later, as it was considered too expensive.

Iconic Instagram Spot in Stockholm

On the summer day that I visited the tunnel in 2018, it was unbearably hot. Smart teenagers from all over the city had gravitated to this hidden gem of Stockholm, where it was not just naturally cooler, it was downright chilly. As the tunnel is secured on both sides by doors, it is constantly cool in summer and warm in winter. A spectacular setting for a futuristic photo shoot in any weather.

Look out for a tiny statue of Ernst Herman Thörnberg standing outside the eastern entrance to the Brunkeltberg Tunnel. It is quite easy to overlook him, but he’s an interesting little fellow.


Ernst Herman Thörnberg Statue

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The Socrates of Stockholm – In the 1950’s, when the Stockholm neighborhood Norrmalm was still called Klara, and life in the narrow alleyways was determined by tin and type foundries, stamp sellers, basket makers, groceries and pet shops instead of today’s shopping arcades and chain stores, you would have seen this man pass by the Brunkeburg Tunnel each day. What would have caught your eye was the way he was dressed. He would always wear a fur hat as well as two jackets or coats. The shoes were stuck inside galoshes and his ears stuffed with cotton balls.

Ernst Herman Törnberg (1873-1961)

In-a-Tuxedo-Ernst-Herman-Thornberg-Stockholm-Sweden

One of the most interesting characters in the history of Stockholm. This slightly eccentric exterior hid one of the country’s most erudite personalities. Ernst Herman Törnberg (1873-1961), also called the “Socrates of Klara” by the neighborhood residents, was a merchant by training but worked as a journalist, researching Swedish migratory movements on several trips through Europe and the USA. Eventually, he gained such a wealth of knowledge of social sciences that the Reichstag provided him with grants for his research. In 1939 the University of Uppsala awarded him an honorary PhD in philosophy. in Stockholm he would spend his days in the Royal Library to expand his already enormous knowledge base and to pass it on to others in lectures.

Visit Ernst at the Brunkeburg Tunnel

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Where he stands today, it is quite easy to overlook him. And most of those who do spot him have no idea who this little bronze man is. The sculpture by Swedish artist Ulf Diderik Sucksdorff (1932-1989) serves as a monument to the eccentric philosopher, who actually owed his extravagant dress style to various phobias. Thörnberg was terrified of thunderstorms, appreciating galoshes most of all for their ability to act as lightning rods. The great man also lived in fear of bacteria and he hated noise, hence the cotton balls, which, looking closely, you will spot on the sculpture too.


The Storken Pharmacy

Apoteket Storken is a pharmacy in the corner Storgatan 28 and Styrmansgatan 24 in Östermalm, Stockholm. The house was built between 1897-1899 by the architect and builder Hans Jacob Hallström (1840-1901) according to his own drawings.

Swedish Symbols of Healing. Back in antiquity, the serpent was taken as a symbol of the art healing. Here, rather than coiled around the Aesculapian staff it is shown inside the beak of a stork. The golden bird enjoys pride of place above the entrance to the Storken Pharmacy, putting visitors in the mood for its opulent interior.

Greatest Cultural Significance in Sweden. The preserved original interiors, designed by the furniture maker Carl Fredrik Allard and made by carpenter Petter Nilssonmade from noble polished rosewood, ebony, and jacaranda date back to 1899 and give the place a near-sacral appearance. Portraits lining the intricately carved shelves in the neo-Gothic style immortalize Swedish doctors and scientists: Jöns Jakob Berzelius for instance, who introduced a system of symbols for chemical elements. Depending on their level of fame, the researchers are commemorated with a small medallion or an impressive golden bust. Below them, 100-year-old pharmacist’s jars with Latin inscriptions stand next to discreet modern products. The walls are made of Swedish marble, the ceiling of painted stained glass by German artist Fritz Rosenthal. They show allegorical representations of illness and good health, life, and death: a sick man is writhing in the arms of a woman, while the Grim Reaper is waiting in the background.

Stockholm’s Medicinal Artifacts. Small wonder that the Swedish conservation authorities listed this business as the pharmacy with the greatest cultural and historical significance in the country. Apart from the brown glass apothecary bottles, the back room preserves further instruments in their original state, but most of all jars with a rather peculiar content. There is a small bowl with dried green iridescent flies. Contrary to popular belief the Spanish Fly was not an invention of the sex industry, as one can find out here. Ground to a powder in a mortar the insect works as a potency enhancer. Overdosed, the Spanish Fly leads to circulatory collapse and renal failure, leading to its use in the past for executions or secret assassinations.

Also in this house, there is a well-preserved electric lift, which was among the first in Sweden.


Raoul Wallenberg Square

Lead-Photo-Raoul-Wallenberg-Square-Stockholm-Sweden

In 1944 the Swedish government sent 31 -year old diplomat Wallenberg to Budapest, where he dedicated himself to saving 100,000 Jewish citizens from deportation to Auschwitz, using false Swedish passports. In 1945 the Soviet secret service kidnapped Wallenberg, suspecting him of espionage. He was to spend two years in various Soviet prisons; after 1947 the trail runs cold. The role of the Swedish government in this affair is not a particularly glorious one.

Wallenberg’s disappearance was ignored, as were offers on the part of the Soviet government for an exchange of prisoners. For ten years, a Soviet-Swedish research team tried to resolve Wallenberg’s whereabouts, yet to this day the fate of this courageous man is unknown.

Figures-in-Ground-Raoul-Wallenberg-Square-Stockholm-Sweden

The Soviet Union claimed that Wallenberg, incarcerated at Moscow’s Lefortovo prison, died on July 17, 1947, of a heart attack, The New York Times wrote in 2000. However, he reportedly was interrogated six days after the date Russia claims Wallenberg died, according to others studying his case. A special commission investigating victims of Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s political terror said he was executed at Lubyanka prison at KGB headquarters.

Memorial-Plaque-Raoul-Wallenberg-Square-Stockholm-Sweden

Not On Every Stockholm Map. So in a way, it’s quite fitting that Raoul Wallenberg torg on Nybroplan is not marked on many maps. On the other hand, there are actually two monuments here to this quiet hero. The twelve reclining bronze sculptures created by Danish artist Kirsten Ortwed in 2001 met with little enthusiasm. Despite the fact that Wallenberg’s family was given a say in the design, on completion his sister remarked that the sculptures looked like twelve ugly stones. At least the artist cast Wallenberg’s signature in bronze, as a reminder of the thousands of passports he signed that would save Hungarian Jews from the extermination camps.

A Symbolic Path to Freedom in Stockholm

This message, however, was apparently not deemed to be clear enough by the Jewish community, whose synagogue is around the corner and who therefore erected a second monument in 2006. A stone sphere bears Wallenberg’s name and the phrase: “The road straight when Jews were deported to death. The road was winding, dangerous and full of obstacles when Jews were trying to escape murderers.” A symbolic path with cobblestones, outlined with train tracks, from the Budapest ghetto leads from here in the direction of the synagogue.

A ceremony is held in the square on the memorial day of the Holocaust on January 27 each year.

Stockholm’s Second Memorial to Wallenberg

At Gustav-Adolf tort, right in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, another monument to Raoul Wallenberg was inaugurated in 2012. A bronze diplomat’s briefcase bearing the initials R.W. on a bench of black granite. A matching monument entitled “Hope” by the artist couple Kratz can be found in front of the UN Headquarters in New York.


The Sun Boat

The-Sun-Inside-Sun-Boat-Christian-Berg-Stockholm-Sweden

Is it the abstract representation of an artist pallet? Or a giant baseball catcher’s mitt? Your mind can probably imagine a few possibilities for what this sculpture by Swedish sculptor Christian Berg was trying to depict. The artist himself called it ‘Sun Boat,’ saying that a stay in the Greek Aegean had inspired him for this work. From the right angle, with a little imagination, and if you squint your eyes, the bright curved form standing on a granite block could possibly be taken for a billowing sail.

Since 1966 the artwork has occupied this place on the Evert Taubes Terras, offering one of the finest views of the city. No matter what one sees in the sculpture, its most important feature is the oval opening in the center.

Depending on which step of the terrace people stand on, it will always frame something different. In this way, it lends the already charming view an additional dimension.

Stretching out behind the sculpture, the Riddarfjärden is spanned in the distance by the impressive arches of the Vaster Bridge. To the right is the shining golden dome of the Stashes, to the left Södermalm with the former brewery. The best time to be here is an early summer’s evening when the tourist busses negotiating the cobblestones have left and the last civil servants have left their offices in the surrounding your and administrative buildings. Then the streets between the old palaces of the Riddarholmen nobility are quiet.

Christian Berg (1893-1976) Sweden

Christian Berg studied at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm from 1915 to 1919, where he created realistic paintings with a focus on the wilderness. Berg was strongly influenced by his travels through Egypt and Greece in the 1920s, where he became acquainted with modern art and the ancient Egyptian sculptures. He also traveled to Paris, where he developed close ties to the artistic community surrounding Fernand Léger.

Berg transitioned from his earlier post-cubist painting to become a sculptor where the classical influence is apparent in his torso sculptures, which he created in various formats and materials from 1926 onwards.

Berg participated at the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition, where his largest work based on the theme Monumental Sculpture, and perhaps also his most austere in terms of shape, could be viewed. The sculptor considered to have had the greatest influence on Berg was Alexander Archipenko, though Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti also seem to have provided significant inspiration.

Who is Evert Toube?

Evert_Taube_1961

The place takes its name from the famous Swedish author, artist, composer, and singer Axel Evert Taube (1890–1976), who enjoyed ecstatic reception from the audience in the Grönalund leisure park. He is widely regarded as one of Sweden’s most respected musicians and the foremost troubadour of the Swedish ballad tradition in the 20th century.

Evert Toub is perhaps best known as an interpreter of the idyllic, with motifs from the Swedish archipelagoes and from the Mediterranean, from a perspective every Swedish four-week holiday tourist could recognize. But he also wrote the most hitting anti-fascist anti-war poem in the Swedish language, “Målaren och Maria Pia”, about the Italian war in Abyssinia, from the late 30s, as well as the anthem of the budding environmental movement in the 70s, “Änglamark” (originally written for the successful 1971 Hasse & Tage film The Apple War).

But even the musician lets his lute rest for a moment, pointing instead in admiration of the views across the water.


Sjöguden the Sea God

Commander over Stockholm seas. Squatting amidst the hustle and bustle of the waterfront eateries at Skeppsbrokajen, he watches what goes on, grinning. This is where the ferry to Djurgården departs, but steamboats and international shipping traffic stop here too.

The compact sculpture by well-known Swedish artist Carl Milles, made from red granite, is a little reminiscent of a Sumo wrestler or a sea monster. It’s probably meant to represent Triton, the Greek God of the Seas and son of Poseidon.

He can be identified by the trumpet snail in his left hand. When he blows the Triton harm, as it’s known, he can whip up the seas or calm them, just as he wishes. The resulting cacophony sounds so awful that even giants take flight.

Triton is often represented with a human torso and a fish-like lower part. Thus, in Mills’ artwork, his ample thighs are only sketched, ending in a fin.

The sculpture was made in 1913, during a phase when Milles was still heavily influenced by the monumental work of German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. Miller had lived in Munich for two years and got to know Hildebrand’s art philosophy there. Hildebrand was an advocate of a clear formal language dispensing with superfluous details.

Miller had wanted to design a further nine sculptures for the waterfront, but that plan didn’t materialize; Sjögudvn remained alone. This doesn’t seem to bother him, possibly because of the pretty mermaid snuggling up to his shoulders. She too is holding a shell in her hand; possibly we are looking at a nymph, a kind of assistant to the Gods.


Stockholm’s Oldest Restaurant

Just across the street from Sjöguden the Sea God stands the restaurant Zum Franziskaner, which is allegedly the oldest restaurant in town. Supposedly this restaurant was founded by a Franciscan monk. The quality of food is debatable, but the beer hall is filled with one-of-a-kind Art Nouveau furnishings from 1910. Worth a visit.


Systrarna / The Sisters

The two ladies look down on the cheerful hustle and bustle with a gentle and friendly expression. Naked, back to back, right on Mosebacke torg, they don’t seem to be ashamed of being nude. Quite the contrary. One of them is stretched out, hands behind her head, emphasizing her beautiful body. The other holds a jar, pouring water over both of their backs. She too is showing off her physical charms.

Are they muses? Or goddesses of poetry? The location of the sculpture in front of the Sudra Teater seems to suggest this. Indeed, artist Nils Sjögren (1894 – 1952) was initially working on a sculpture of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and erotic desire. However, when he heard about the fate of two women, he decided to create a monument to them and their love.

These two ladies have occupied one of Stockholm’s most beautiful squares since 1945. However, very few, if any, people that may be lounging in the square know the sad story of this hidden gem of Stockholm.

The Tragic Story Behind ‘The Sisters’

The two women were lesbians. Out of desperation for having to keep their love secret in the society of that time, they drowned themselves in 1911 in Stockholm’s Hammarby Sjö. To do this they tied their bodies together and weighed down the veils of their hats with stones.

In their memory, the gay community puts a veil around their shoulders during the annual ‘Pride Festival.’ In 2012 the ‘Spartacus Guide,’ a guidebook for gay men, crowned Sweden the world’s most gay-friendly country. Maybe that is why the two women now look so content.

Mosebacke Terrace – Amazing View of Stockholm

Across the street is another hidden gem of Stockholm. The terrace of Mosebacke offers refreshments and fabulous views across Stockholm, described by Strindberg in “The Red Room.”


Aeter & Essence Factory / Essencefabriken

The factory, which apart from essences of every kind, also sells hundreds of spices and a wealth of spice blends, and is the old shop of its kind in Sweden. It was founded in 1887 by Adolf Fredrik Lilieblad, who extracted essences and concentrates from fruit, berries, and herbs and sold them to industrial factories as well as bakeries. To this day most items are prepared according to the original recipes — naturally, without preservatives.

Unchanged since 1889 – In 1889 Lilieblad opened the shop which to this day has remained unchanged, extending the range of products by adding spices and herbs. At the end of the 19th-century offerings in the sector were fairly limited to Sweden, and soon enough Stockholm’s housewives spread the news amongst themselves about this shop in Wallingatan selling high-quality spices at low prices.

Today, managed in the fourth generation of the same family, this hidden gem of Stockholm looks exactly the way it did 100 years ago. Goods are still weighed using vintage mechanical scales and even the cash register is still the original.

Alongside the ingredients for baking and cooking, the factory also offers some interesting blends for home-made spirits, including spice mixtures for brandy from the 19th-century recipes. These bear interesting names, such as “Black Widdow,” particularly suitable for fans of licorice.

Much has changed in Stockholm since then, but the environment and interior of the Aeter & Essence Factory shop have been fully preserved, though the range of spices has evolved all the time. This hidden gem of Stockholm now has about 300 different spices, of which 60 are exclusive recipes.

Essencefabriken is Sweden’s oldest company in the industry and has remained a family-run company, currently run by the fourth generation.


Folckers Snörmarkeri

You seriously will feel as if you have been transported to another world as you cautiously make your way through this hidden gem of Stockholm. A jungle of bobbins and rainbows of trimmings.

storefront-Folkers-shop-stockholm-sweden

The Hein family opened the shop in 1890 and from the very start, they focused only on textiles for furnishings. in 1936 they moved to the current location on Hornsgatan Street. In 2003, the business was taken over by John Johansson and Tino Rivero, continuing on the same mission.

It took a moment to compose myself after first entering the shop the first time. I didn’t want to take any photos without asking first, but I was so in awe of my surroundings I forgot how to talk for a second. I was given permission to take as many photos as I wanted, as long as I didn’t include the proprietor in any images.

It was easy to strike up a conversation with him. All I had to do is mention that I work in theater and often make or repair costumes, and suddenly I was welcome into a world that included talk of providing ornamentation for costumes for a multitude of international touring productions. A wonderful hidden gem of Stockholm to experience if you have to the time.


Hemlös rav (Homeless Fox)

One of my favorite things in Stockholm. This hidden gem of Stockholm is a tiny sculpture by British artist Laura Ford. The city of Stockholm purchased HEMLÖS RÄV in 2008 and hoped that this relatively small piece of art would serve as a reminder of those that are living without access to life’s basic needs. The local homeless newspaper “Situation” took a poll and asked its readers where this statue should be permanently installed. The result of this poll had Homeless Fox cemented in a position near Stockholm’s parliament building, casting his hollow gaze towards the politicians, and wondering how/why he has been forgotten.

I visited this little guy several times while I was in Stockholm. The message of this artwork is especially strong at night when he is all alone on the street.

This little fox makes an impression so profound that it is one of the things I will most remember about this lovely city.

Of the just under 800,000 citizens of Stockholm, there are about 3000 that live on the street, with the number of homeless children particularly distressing, and increasing. Stockholm’s “Stadsmission” organization works for short term and long term solutions for the homeless of the city. The organization runs cafés, bakers, and several second-hand clothing shops to support their efforts.

For those that feel inspired by The Homeless Fox to help Stadsmission, you can check their homepage for information on their current projects or make a contribution.

Homeless Fox is made by the British sculptor Laura Ford, born in 1961. Her sculptures are found in Tate Modern’s collections and the Arts Council of Great Britain. She represented Wales at the Venice Biennale 2005. The fox is part of her Rag and Bone sculpture series. In this collection, she created a group of sculptures and drawings based on the children’s stories of Beatrix Potter. Characters that many people have grown up to love. Characters that through her art are portrayed as homeless. Ford works with a variety of materials, often using random recycled materials, from fabric and found objects, to more traditional materials such as bronze and plaster.


Kungsträdgården Metro

Taking the metro in Stockholm is a rather pleasant experience, as many of the stations are full of some very serious art installations. And though the Kungsträdgården Metro Station is among the most impressive in these respects with its illuminated ensemble of neoclassical pillars and statues standing in front of the bare rock tunnel walls. Almost everything on the station tells the story of the site above ground. About its history, former and current buildings. The color scheme – red, white and green – is a reference to the old French formal garden and statues around the station are actually replicas or surviving artifacts of a local palace’s exterior art after it burnt down in 1825.

As impressive as the artwork is, however, it is not what makes this hidden gem of Stockholm special. There are many species of flora and fauna that have attracted researchers and scientists to make this metro stop their home.

Kungsträdgården is the only place in Scandinavia where you can find the Lessertia Demichelis, a two-millimeter‘ dwarf spider.’ This little guy only lives in the caves pits and catacombs of southern Europe. The cave-dwelling spider has lived on the station’s walls ever since it opened for service in the mid-1970s, but scientists don’t know exactly how it got there. Presumably, it traveled on machines and excavation equipment from Southern Europe that was used during the construction.

There is also a moss growing on the walls that was previously thought to be extinct in the Stockholm region. The pillow moss growing here has only been found to thrive in the hothouses in Stockholm since the 1930’s and otherwise has remained confined to the Öland and Gotland areas.

In 2016 a team of scientists conducting a survey of the metro’s wildlife discovered two previously unknown species of fungi covering the station walls. Upon closer analysis, the fungi turned out to be from a previously unknown genus, with unique DNA compositions.

Rare Salt Deposits

The hidden gem of Stockholm Kungsträdgården is the only station in the Stockholm metro system that can boast violet, turquoise, and dark-green salt deposits. Water is continuously dripping from the ceiling, resulting in the beginnings of a dripstone cave. This has been puzzling experts since the cave consists of granite, and dripstone caves normally form on limestone and marble.

The excitement of all of these revelations was so great, that in 2012 the station was closed for a while so that researchers could study everything and take samples.

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Hi! I'm Forrest Mallard

In 2005, I moved to Quito, Ecuador with $35 in my pocket and a small handful of online clients. Fifteen years and five continents later, there were moments of absolute glamour, as well as a number of brutal rough patches. But I always felt that a horrible day of travel is infinitely more preferable than a great day at the office. Oh the stories I could tell, and I will try to do that here in Tramposaurus Treks. You'll have access to the good times, the horrifying times, and a few well-deserved moments of travel glamour.

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    Hidden Gems of Tallinn

    Put on your walking shoes, hit the streets, and discover the Hidden Gems of Tallinn, Estonia. Secret places only the...

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    May 29, 2020

    Slovenian Mountain Trail

    This stunning, long-distance trail winds across the mountains of Slovenia. The trail passes through this country’s best scenery, including the...

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    May 29, 2020

    Camino Francés

    The French Way (Camino Francés) and the Routes of Northern Spain are the courses which are listed in the World...

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    May 30, 2021

    Risnjak National Park

    Risnjak National Park is located in the "great green heart of Croatia" a crescent-shaped mountain range with numerous hiking trails.

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    May 30, 2021

    Pala Ronda Trails

    The two options you can take on the Pala Ronda Trails: the "soft" trek or the "hard" trek, both of...

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    May 30, 2021

    Mount Pelmo Circuit

    The Mount Pelmo Circuit, passes the eastern face of Mount Pelmo, which many consider the most beautiful mountain in the...

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