I’m On A Boat! Our Hotel Boat In Stockholm

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He travels a lot for work so he appreciates hotel amenities.  I really don’t care too much about my accommodations as long as they are clean and centrally located.  I’m so cheap that I’m bad.  Very, very bad.  I’ve stuck him in all kinds of hovels.  Stockholm isn’t a cheap city, luckily there are some great places that are easy on the budget, centrally located, have great views (see above and below), have a great on site pub and provide a unique experience.  You can stay on boat hotels in the Södermalm neighborhood (both on the Riddarfjärden and the Stadsgardsleden sides of the link to Gamala Stan).

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They had bikes you could borrow and cool lounges, but the best part was the amazing view from the seats (some of which were in lifeboats) on the upper deck.  We sat there taking in the views, enjoying the sunset and singing The Lonely Island‘s (with T-Pain) “I’m On A Boat” from the movie Stepbrothers.

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I give mad props to people in the Navy who live like this on a long-term basis.  The room was tiny, but had everything we needed.  We even had our own bathroom (It is something that he appreciates, but I have no problem foregoing.  Just ask him about the hovel I stuck us in when we visited Dublin).

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We had some new experiences in the bathroom.  I’d never showered in a place like this.  It was tight (so tight that you can see my toes standing on the toilet lid), but workable.  Everything fit in there like a masterful game of Tetris.  It was impressive and surprisingly easy to use.

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The best part of the room itself was the view from our porthole.  Amazing!

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Our Date On The Island of Långholmen in Stockholm, Sweden

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We visited Stockholm March of last year (when I made the Queen of Sweden smile and met Camilla Parker-Bowles at the Vasa Museum).  Some places March means spring, it doesn’t in Sweden.  We decided we had to go back to enjoy the city and the nearby archipelago in summer. We chose wisely.  It was a fantastic trip.  We stayed in the Södermalm neighborhood in a boat on the Riddarfjärden, a bay of Lake Mälaren in central Stockholm.  We spent a pleasant afternoon and evening picnicking and walking around the island of  Långholmen.

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Långholmen, the long island, was rocky and barren until 18th century prison inmates covered the island with mud dredged from the surrounding waterways.  It undoubtably made the waterways deeper and more easily navigable for larger vessels.  It also had the effect of providing fertile soil.  When things start growing, leaves drop, providing more organic matter for plants.  Before long, the island was lush retreat.  Trade and merchant ships introduced of exotic seeds, making its vegetation unique.  As a result, it is a popular place for walks, picnics and a cold dip in the lake.

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We trekked around the island passing a few people walking their dogs, people singing with guitars, a group of teenagers escaping their families apartments, boatbuilders, several rabbits and even a handful of kayakers.  We enjoyed this view of Kungsholmen (complete with a beach bar) on our picnic.  It was so peaceful.

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At the Stockholm Water Festival in 1993, a JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft crashed on Långholmen. It caught fire but the pilot ejected successfully.  Thankfully, no one was killed and only one injury in the large crowd of spectators.  We happened upon Thomas Qvarsebo‘s stainless steel sculpture commemorating the incident.  It is paper plane with its nose drilled into the ground.  It was so striking that I took a picture and looked up what it was later.

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Boats are everywhere.  Although the Swede’s love worshipping the sun, the climate requires a cabin.  The classic wooden boats looked like a great way to experience the country.  If someone’s rented one for a day, I’d love to hear about it.

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The walk from Södermalm along the Riddarfjärden was fascinating.  Many of the larger boats were homes or hotels!  By the way, the former Långholmen Prison is now a hotel and hostel, complete with a restaurant and pub.  If we hadn’t found unique boat accommodations, we probably would have stayed there.

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We had great views of the city towards Stadhuset and Gamla Stan.  This is the
giant Västerbron bridge that links Södermalm to Kungsholmen.

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Millennium Trilogy Walking Tour Of Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm – Part Two

Yesterday, I posted Millennium Trilogy Walking Tour of Stieg Larssons Stockhom – Part One.  It told about visiting the Sodermalm area of Stockholm, Lisbeth Salander‘s apartments, Mikael Blomkvist‘s apartment, Monteliusvagen and the Lunda Bridge.  Sodermalm  contains many other places named in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Södermalmstorg – Milton Security Offices

Lisbeth Salander worked as a freelancer for Milton Security.  Her first guardian, Holger Palmgren, recommended her to Dragan Armanskij, the Executive Director and chief operating officer of Milton Security.  They form a stable working relationship and build a degree of trust.  Most of their interactions take place at the Milton Security offices, located at the entrance to the Södermalm district from the old town of Gamla Stan.

The concrete, glass and steel buildings of Slussen are the offices of Milton Security, the company worked for as a freelancer.

Stockholm’s City Museum, which provides Millennium tours in several languages  and sells self-guided tour maps is located nearby.

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

Hornsgatan 78 – Mellqvist Kaffebar

Located near Lundagaten (where he set Lisbeth Salander’s first apartment), this was one Stieg Larsson’s favorite places.

In the 1990’s, Stieg Larsson was a director at Expo magazine, which had its offices above the coffee shop.  He sometimes had breakfast and hung out there.  He wrote several pages of the Millennium Trilogy there.  It is a perfect place to stop for coffee or a quick-lunch.

This tiny neighborhood coffee shop and a setting for several scenes with the name Kaffebar.  It is a favorite haunt of Mikael Blomqvist. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo he meets Salander there and she asks him for a loan so she can go to Zurich.  He also meets Erica Berger there.

Transit Stop: Karlberg station

Götgatan 17A (the corner of Götgatan and Hökens Gata) – Millennium Magazine Offices

In the books, Mikael Blomkvist and Erika Berger run Millennium Magazine.  Their fictional offices were located in an L-shaped office on the third floor of this building.  In reality, it houses apartments, above the real-life Greenpeace offices.

In the Swedish film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, number 11 Götgatan street stands in as the entrance to the Millennium offices.

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

Götgatan 25 – 7-Eleven

This is a 7-Eleven where Lisbeth Salander often shops for large packages of frozen pizzas (Billy’s Pan Pizza, flavor unknown) and Marlboro Lights.

7-Eleven is surprisingly popular in the nordic countries.  While it was too cold for a Slurpee (darn), you can take advantage of this stop to refuel.  You could even pick up some Ramlösa sparkling (the mineral water, the preferred brand Mikael Blomkvist).  It’s Swedish and comes from near Helsingborg.

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

Tjärhovsgatan, 4 – Kvarnen

The members of the heavy metal band Evil Fingers are some of the few people with whom Lisabeth Salander is able to forge a relationship.  They play at Kvarnen every Tuesday night.  Salander goes regularly.  Mikael Blomkvist and Millennium employees also come here.

Kvarnen is a legendary 100 year-old beer hall that is full of character with a massive wooden bar.  Its restaurant serves traditional Swedish dishes like Swedish hash, fried herring, reindeer, and meatballs.

Several scenes from the books are set at Kvarnen.  In The Girl Who Played with Fire Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are both at Kvarnen.  Salander sees Blomkvist is having a beer with Dag Svensson and tries to attract his attention by kissing Miriam Wu.

Transit Stop: Medborgarplatsen T-bana

St. Paulsgatan 13 – Synagogue

This is home to the Adat Jisrael Synagogue.  Detective Inspector Jan Bublanski is a member.  He meets Dragan Armanskij (Salander’s boss at Milton Security) here.

Hornsgatan 20 – Java Cafe

In the books, the characters frequently visit Java Café, indulging in the Swede’s love of coffee.  It is currently located at Hornsgaten 20 and has a different name.

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

Tavastgatan 28 – Tabbouli (the inspiration and stand-in for Samirs Gryta)

Tabbouli is the inspiration for Samir’s, the Lebanese restaurant where Blomquist, his friends, and Millennium Magazine’s staff dine (lamb stew anyone?).  In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, it is the location of the shoot out with Nikolic brothers.

Subway Stop: Mariatorget T-bana

Mosebacke Square/Sodra Teatern

Mosebacke square, near Salander’s new apartment on Fiskargatan, features a statue of entwined sisters.  She is seen walking through here in the movies with her lawyer Annika Giannini.  At the end, they are shown at the Sodra Teatern, restaurant and summery terrace popular for having a drink and its wonderful views.

The Millenium Trilogy is set in other Stockholm’s neighborhoods.  Kungshlmen, an island across from Sodermalm where city hall is located, contains the courthouse and police station.

Scheelegatan 7 – Courthouse

Located in the Kungsholmen district on Rungsholmen, the Stockholm District Courthouse is easy to spot because of its tower with the green roof.  The Millennium Trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starts here, with Mikael Blomkvist’s conviction for slander. It is also the scene of the trial where Lisbeth Salander is declared legally competent.

Transit Stop: Rådhuset T-bana

Kungsholmsgatan 37 – Police Headquarters

This police station features in the books The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest as the workplace of  inspector Jan Bublanski leads the team of investigators, Sonja Modig, Hans Faste, Cut Svensson Jerker Holmberg.

Subway Stop: Rådhuset T-bana

Upplandsgatan – Substitute Guardian Erik Nills Bjurman’s Apartment

The the Vasastan area  on island of Kungsholm was the home of Astrid Lindgren (the author of the Kalle Blomkvist and Pippi Longstocking books).  It is not surprising that Larsson, who greatly admired Lindgren, used this as a setting for pivotal scenes in his books

Salander’s second guardian, Erik Nills Bjurman, has a four bedroom residence on Upplandsgatan street in Odenplan, near the Odenplan T-station.  It is not far from his office in Vasastaden district.

In his apartment, he violently assaults Salander and where she exacts her revenge.  It is also the site of his murder in The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Transit Station: Odenplan T-bana

  • Outside of Stockholm, the quaint village of Gnesta, doubles as the fictional village of Hedestad in the Swedish films.
  • Mikael Blomqvist has a cottage on the archipelago island of Sandhamn.
  • Kurgens Kurva is home to the world’s largest IKEA.  This is where Salander purchases the furniture for her new apartment.
  • Goran Martensson of the Personal Protection Division at Sapo and a member of “the section” lives in Vallingby.
  • Millennium employee Dag Svensson and Mia Bergman live in (and are murdered in) an apartment in Enskede.

Millennium Trilogy Walking Tour Of Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm – Part One

I read and loved Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (so did the rest of my book club in Charlotte, ladies this one is for you).   In Stockholm, you can take the Stockholm City Museum’s popular and award-winning Stieg Larsson Millennium Tour (available in several languages).  It is also possible to  do a self-guided tour with a Millennium Map sold the City Museum for 40 SEK ($5).

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

The City Museum (at the entry to Sodermalm)

Heading out in search of sites from the books and movies seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out Södermalm, a fantastic neighborhood in Stockholm where many of the book’s scenes are based.  Sodermalm has always been the working-class, even bohemian part of the city.  Although gentrified, it retains a unique character.  Old wooden cottages and 20th century stone houses line its narrow cobblestoned streets.  Steig Larsson lived there and he had his characters live there too, at least the heroes do.  The villains live elsewhere.

Fiskargatan 9 – New Apartment Home of Lisbeth Salander

With her ill-gotten gains, Lisbeth Salander purchased a 21-room suite on the top floor of the upscale building Fiskargatan, 9 for 25 million kronor ($3,850,00 or  2,808,000  Euros).  It is in an exclusive and discreet neighborhood.  She chose the apartment for its light and excellent views over Gamla Stan, Djurgården Island and the Bay of Saltsjön.   Built in 1910, its green metal roof, making it easy to spot.

In The Girl Who Played with Fire, Salander moves in to this apartment.  She went to IKEAfurnished only three of its rooms.

The name on the door to Salander’s apartment is a nod to Sweden’s famous children’s book character, Pippi Longstocking’s town “Villerkulla”.  The buzzer to her apartment was labeled “V. Kulla.”  Stieg Larsson was inspired by the idea of a grown up Pippi Langstrump (Pippi Longstocking) who gets things done on her own when creating the character of Lisbeth Salander.  This is clearly a nod to another famous Swedish author.

Transit Stop: Slussen T-bana

Lundagatan – First apartment of Lisbeth Salander

Unlike most of the locations in the books, the number of Lisbeth Salander’s flat on Lundagaten is never named.  She had a miserable upbringing in her mother’s public housing flat on Lundagatan.  At 18 Lisbeth Salander, aided by her guardian, Holger Palmgren, purchased it for her mother.  From the books, we know it is located on Lundagatan street near Högalid church and is close to the #66 bus stop.  Some have speculated that it is number 38.  In the Girl Who Played With Fire, Salander moves to her new apartment at Kargatan 9.  She allows Miriam Wu to use the flat. When Salander lived there, it was unorganized and not very clean.  Miriam Wu cleans it up and decorates.

Transit Stop: Zinkensdamm T-bana

The Lunda Bridge (Lundabron)

This a bridge that connects Lundagatan, where Lisbeth Salander’s first apartment is located, and Bellmansgatan, the street where Mikael Blomkvist’s apartment is located.  It is significant because it was the fastest way between them.

Monteliusvagen

From the Lundabron, you can walk via Monteliusvagen, a quarter-mile promenade overlooking Lake Malaren and the Old Town, to Mikael Blomquist’s apartment.   From the path you can also see the courthouse where Mikael stands on the steps after being found guilty of libel across the water.

Bellmansgatan 1 – Mikael Blomvist’s Apartment

It is located on Mariaberget Hill in the historic Söder district.  Many of the buildings in this area were built after a fire in 1759.   Blomkvist’s apartment is in a luxury building located in a desirable neighborhood.  You can recognize it by its gothic and neo-gothic spires, mid-air walkway and castle-like details.

It has views of Riddarfjärden bay, the Saltsjon bay and Stockholm’s old town Gamla Stan.  From the books, we know that Blomkvist bought the flat in the 1980s.  In the book the entrance to his apartment is the front door of the building. In reality, it is accessed directly from the elevated walkway.

Don’t expect an undiscovered spot; it may well be Stockholm’s most well-known address.  Fans from all over the world come see and photograph this building.

Subway Stop: Gamla Stan T-bana

More from Sodermalm tomorrow…