Even in summer, with long days of sunshine, there's not much need for protective skin lotion in Stockholm, Sweden. Think highs in the 60s. More often, you need a jacket -- or more -- especially in the famous Absolut Icebar.
You've probably heard about this place. The Icebar Stockholm is inside the Nordic Sea Hotel. It's a room of ice, surrounded by ice, full of ice from a river in Sweden. Drinks are served in ice glasses, as in the picture below.
I survived the Icebar. They charge you $18 - $23 (depending on date and whether you get a discount for being a guest of the hotel) for a visit of 40 minutes, which is plenty to frost your nubbies. The temperature inside is 23 degrees Farenheit (5 degrees below zero Celsius).
The entrance fee includes a parka. I put on a communal parka, but I hesitated to slip the fur hood over my head, wondering: When was it last washed? Whose hair had been inside this thing before mine. At what temperature do lice die?
But once inside the igloo, after my ears and hands began to tingle seriously, I pushed the hood over my head and stuck -- that's the right word -- my hands into the gloves. Sticky the gloves were, from whatever was on the hands of my predecessors. But if you're going to drink -- the first one is free and I opted for the Absolut bloody Mary -- you're going to need the gloves to hold the ice glass.
Mary was mild, and my nubbies frosted, so I asked for extra Tabasco, which helped for a while, as I stood around watching other folks shiver for a long 40 minutes. Then, I hurried back to my hotel for a hot shower. With double shampoo.
Everybody wants to do the Icebar once, said a friend who lives in Stockholm. For more: Icebar Stockholm
Tea and eating well
Afternoon tea: Try Chaikhana, a teahouse in the old city center where I sampled three kinds of black and green teas, and got a lesson on the differences of each from the knowledgeable server.
Lunch with a blanket: In July, I stopped for lunch on a patio surrounded by grass and geese at Villa Godthem on the island of Djurgarden in the middle of the city, a short walk from famed Wasa Museum. My chair was equipped with a blanket. Everything in Stockholm is expensive. My club sandwich was $20.
Dinners from the ocean: I can recommend seafood and service at stylish (and packed) Kungsholmen (web site in Swedish), trendy Pontus Brunnsgatan 1 (on web site, click upper left for English), and the amazing Swedish smorgasborg dinner at the famed Grand Hotel, which will not be consumed quickly. Bring time, hunger and your wallet at these restaurants, as it is easy to spend a fast $100.
Outside art: Millesgarden is the home of sculptor Carl Milles and his wife, painter Olga Milles. Outside, a park built on terraces is a perfect backdrop for sculpture by Milles, Hand of God, left.
See earlier blog: City of Nobel Prizes and sleepless summer nights, with links to Wednesday's Nobel award ceremonies.
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