September 28, 2012

Busy Weekend... Vintage, Autumn Goodies, Beer & Whisky!

Something for everyone this weekend! Besides the wonderful art exhibitions going on in Stockholm, you also have several fairs and markets to keep you busy.
If clothes from the 50's, 60's and 70's are to your liking, then don't miss the popular Vintage Clothes Fair (Vintagemässan) going on Saturday & Sunday (29th & 30th of September). Around 40 vintage clothes stores from around Sweden bring their best clothes, accessories and shoes for you browse and buy. This is the 10th time this fair has been held and it gets more and more popular each time. The fair is located at Drottninggatan 81 in the downtown area, entrance is 60 SEK and it is open from 11am to 5pm both days. If you really like to rummage, click here for some tips about flea markets in the city.
Photo by Anna Yu, Skansen
Skansen (park, zoo and outdoor museum) is a favorite place of mine to visit. This weekend is extra special as they will be holding their annual Autumn Fair on both Saturday & Sunday. Lots of great, traditional goodies to purchase... handicrafts, honey & jams, textiles, toys, local produce, cheeses and bakery items. There will be live music as well as traditional games, dancing, food & drink. Skansen is located on the island of Djurgården, a 9 minute ferry trip from Slussen (10 minute walk from the Rival Hotel). Entrance to Skansen costs 100 SEK (adults) and the market goes on between 11am and 4pm. Tip: there is also a Farmers Market every Saturday (10am to 3pm) near the hotel on Katarina Bangata in SoFo. October  20th is their last day for the season.
Finally, if you are looking for something a little more adult (boozier?), then we have the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival and Taste Experience going on. Two festivals, one location. Beer & Whisky concentrates on beer & whisky (obviously) as well as cider and calvados. At Taste Experience you will find wine, champagne, rum, tequila, cognac and more. This is the 21st annual festival(s) and very popular... there were over 36,000 visitors last year. At the festival you will find exhibitors, tastings, classes, competitions, restaurants, bars and more. Entrance costs 219 SEK and includes tasting glass which you can take home. Please note that you need to be 20 years old to enter! Opening hours are noon to 11pm on Friday and 11am to midnight on Saturday. In case you are busy this weekend, you have another chance to attend next weekend (October 4th to 6th). It is located at Nackamässan in Nacka Strand. The easiest way to get there from the Rival Hotel is to take bus 443 from Slussen (10 minute bus ride). Happy weekend!

September 27, 2012

Advisory: Sightseeing by Boat This Fall

This Fall they are continuing the renovations to the Strömkajen boat dock in front of the Grand Hotel. This means that Strömma's two boat sightseeing tours, Under the Bridges and Royal Canal Tour, start at the Nybroplan boat dock instead. Strömkajen is planned to be open again by Spring, 2013... just in time for the Summer season. To get to Nybroplan from the Rival Hotel, take the subway (red line) to Östermalmstorg and from there it is a five minute walk to the dock.
I had to also post this picture (see below) that I took the other day... a slice of Stockholm. It was about 12 degrees Celsius and this man was shooting the rapids in front of the Royal Palace (in short sleeves!). Crazy person or dedicated sportsman? You decide...

September 26, 2012

"Secret Love" at Östasiatiska Museet

Autumn is in the air here in Stockholm... a perfect time to visit some museums! I had heard some great things about "Secret Love", the new exhibition at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (Östasiatiska museet), so I made a visit yesterday.
It is a fascinating exhibition comprised of 150 works of art by 27 contemporary Chinese artists. The theme of "Secret Love" is, as the name suggests, taboo love. Besides looking at gay and lesbian life in present day China, it also looks at gender identity and norms as well as sexuality in general. The range of artwork in the exhibition is wide... from photography to painting and visual media to paper cutting. Included are very interesting stories (including interviews) depicting how it is to come out of the closet in modern day China, especially considering that homosexuality was decriminalized in China as late as 1997 (removed from the list of mental illnesses in 2001). The artwork is bold and fresh, reflecting a society tasting new freedoms... did you know that nudity in art & photography was strictly illegal in China during Mao's reign? The exhibition really shows how sexuality unites us in the world more than it divides us.
The exhibition will run until March 31st, 2013. Entrance for adults costs 100 SEK, free for children up to 18 years of age (though be aware of the sexual content and nudity in the exhibition) and for holders of the Stockholm Card. Östasiatiska is located on the island of Skeppsholmen, just a 20-25 minute walk from the Rival Hotel... through the Old Town past the Royal Palace. Otherwise you can take either bus 43 or 55. Click here for a list of other major art exhibitions this season.

September 20, 2012

Löjrom- Golden Caviar from Kalix

It's September, which means that the löjrom season has started! Löjrom is the eggs (roe) of the common bleak, a small freshwater fish.This popular Swedish delicacy can be eaten year-round, but they are harvested in September making this month the optimal time to try it. The area around Kalix in northern Sweden is considered the best fishing waters for the common bleak (Kalixlöjrom).
In celebration of the start of the season, the restaurant Riche is having a Löjrom Festival (September 20th to 23rd). Two guest chefs, Anders Lundberg and Håkan Thor, will be creating 4 starters, 4 main courses and 4 desserts drawing on inspiration from the county of Jämtland... and, of course, löjrom will be the starring attraction. So this is a perfect opportunity to sample this delicacy, whether by itself or incorporated in other dishes, as well as other great Swedish produce.
If you don't want to head all the way downtown, you can also dine on löjrom here at the Rival Hotel's Bistro. My favorite way to eat löjrom is the way we serve it... with butter fried toast, finely diced red onion, creme fraiche and a wedge of lemon. A classic! Earlier musings about löjrom.

September 18, 2012

Skavsta Stockholm Airport

Arriving early in the morning by bus...
I'm back from my long weekend in Rome! This time I flew with Ryan Air, using the Skavsta airport. As we all know, Ryan Air keeps their prices down by using smaller airports among other "shortcuts". Stockholm is no exception! Skavsta airport is located just outside of the town of Nyköping, about an hour and 20 minutes drive from downtown Stockholm. I have written a few times about Arlanda, the main international airport, but I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to write about Skavsta...
Small departure hall servicing Ryan Air and other "budget" airlines
Flying with Ryan Air has become quite popular and I get more and more questions about how to get from Skavsta to Stockholm. You have basically one choice... bus (if you don't rent a car)! It might not sound too fun to sit on a bus for that long, but the system is quite efficient, convenient and affordable. The busses are modern, with AC, reclining seats and W/C onboard, and travel between Skavsta and City Terminalen, located in downtown Stockholm. City Terminalen is adjacent to the main train station as well as subway station (T-Centralen) connecting you to the Rival Hotel and the rest of the city. The bus company is called Flygbussarna and a round trip adult ticket currently costs 259 SEK (price list). Tickets can be purchased at ticket machines or at the ticket counters at both the City Terminalen and Skavsta airport. They can even be purchased online in advance (a bit cheaper too). The bus schedule is timed to coincide with arriving and departing flights and their schedule can be viewed on their website. If you are thinking to yourself... "ha, I'm too fancy to take the bus. I'll just take a taxi"... well, just be aware that you are looking at around 1,400 SEK one way! You do have the option of taking a taxi (7 minutes, 200 SEK) to Nyköping train station and then by train to Stockholm. But you really won't be saving much time or money. Click here for more information about transfer options.
Speaking of Ryan Air... they recently interviewed me for an article in their in-flight magazine about the hotel's neighborhood (Södermalm) which includes some great tips. Click here to read the article.

September 7, 2012

Even a Concierge Needs a Vacation!

After a great summer season with lots of wonderful guests at the Rival Hotel, it is time for me to take a little vacation and recharge my batteries. So... it is off to Rome.
I will be back on September 18th and will get right to blogging about fun events coming up this autumn and other useful tips! Until then, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel and require assistance, contact my knowledgable colleagues at the Front Desk at

September 4, 2012

Restaurant Sturehof This Fall

Photo courtesy of Sturehof
More interesting things happening this Fall... this time in the realm of cuisine! The restaurant Sturehof has a line up of guest chefs all season long. And they aren't your run-of-the-mill chefs either! 3 of the 4 guest chefs have been winners of the prestigious title "Chef of the Year" (Årets Kock) and the fourth is one of Sweden's highest regarded pastry chefs. One evening each month a guest chef has the run of the kitchen to create a dish of their choice. Here are the dates and the chefs:

  • September 15th- Klas Lindberg (Chef of the Year 2012)
  • October 17th- Elisabeth Johansson (Pastry Chef)
  • November 21st- Tom Sjöstedt (Chef of the Year 2008)
  • December 19th- Victor Westerlind (Chef of the Year 2009)
Here is my blog post about Sturehof for further reading. You can book a table either online (website) or, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly. More interesting news coming from the owners of Sturehof this season... they are opening a new restaurant in the same neighbourhood called Taverna Brillo on December 7th. The cusine will take its inspiration from the Italian kitchen. While this isn't unique, the rest of the concept will be. Surrounding the restaurant will be boutiques where you can buy bread, ice cream, flowers and more. Should be a fun addition to the Stockholm culinary landscape!
Photo courtesy of Sturehof

Special thanks to Allt om Stockholm and What's On Stockholm for the information!

September 3, 2012

Events & Festivals in Stockholm- Fall/Winter 2012

Photo by Jeppe Wikström, Stockholm Visitors Board
We've had an amazing summer here at the Rival Hotel (thanks to all of our guests!), but now it is time to look forward to the coming season. While there aren't as many events and festivals as there were in the summer months, there are still lots of fun things to see and do in Stockholm. Besides all of the events, there are plenty of art exhibitions going on in the museums and art galleries... check my blog post for the shows and dates. Here are some calendar highlights to keep in mind when planning your trip to Stockholm this Fall and early Winter:

  • 5th- Placido Domingo concert at Globen.
  • 10th- Nobel Prize Ceremony and Banquet.
  • 13th- St Lucia celebrations at Skansen (and throughout the city).
  • 17th & 18th- Winter Solstice celebration (Fire and Ice) at Skansen.
There are also a myriad of fairs, conventions and exhibitions going on at the Stockholm International Fairgrounds (Stockholmsmässan) all season long. Check out their program schedule to see if they have something going on that you might find interesting... interior design, dog show, photography, health & fitness, boat show, winter sports, etc;
Photo by Jeppe Wikström, Stockholm Visitors Board

September 1, 2012

Tjejmilen- Women's 10K Run

Photo by Malin Ekequist/Tjejmilen
Today, Saturday September 1st, is the annual (and popular) 10 kilometer run that is exclusively for women... called Tjejmilen. Over 32,000 runners from 20 countries have entered this year's race. The entrants are made up of both competitive runners as well as people running for fun. The first group starts at 1pm and the scenic run will take them around the Djurgården and Gärdet areas... all beautiful parklands. Click here to see the course map. Good place for a run, but an even better place to take a walk!
Photo by Janna Saletti/Tjejmilen
From a visitors standpoint, you shouldn't have to worry about the race disrupting traffic (as it is on the outskirts of Stockholm), but it is good to know what is going on and why the city is filled with women in running gear. You will likely see the runners if you are visiting the Vasa Museum, Skansen, Kaknästornet or any of the art galleries on Djurgården island. The weather isn't that great today but take some time out and cheer them on! I would like to extend a special "good luck" to all of the Rival Hotel guests and staff who will be running today.