Monday, June 14, 2010

Flat-hunting in Stockholm still continues...

Although I just moved in to the current apartment two weeks ago, I have to keep looking for the next apartment to move in because I have to move out by the end of September.

Today I view one apartment in Kristineberg, the area I've never heard of before. It's located at the western edge of Kungsholmen (perhaps the least fashionable---the most laid-back, in other words---district of central Stockholm). It's a very quiet area with lots of green space. On the way to the apartment from Kristineberg metro station, I only see one supermarket in front of the station.

However, somehow it feels different from other uninspiring (sometimes even depressing) suburbs of Stockholm. After viewing the flat, I explore the area a bit. Just a few minute walk takes me to a good view of Tranebergsbron (an arch bridge connecting Kungsholmen and the area called Traneberg). Then, totally out of blue, I find a Tanzanian restaurant called Jambokula. Unlike usual eateries in a suburb of Stockholm, the decor is very neat and, when I'm browsing the menu at the entrance, a very tempting smell of foods floats into my nose. This is very, very unusual in Stockholm, I must say. When I think about it, I've almost never had this experience in this city. Swedish cuisine doesn't smell anything. All those trendy cafes and restaurants never ever tempt me by smell (even if food is actually good). It's such a shame that it is about 3 pm when I'm not hungry...

Then I walk down to Kristnebergs Strand, an unpaved footpath on the edge of the island of Kungsholmen. The view of Ulvsundasjön bay is beautiful. I'm told during the summer people barbecue here. That would be very nice, indeed.

I keep walking and enter the area known as Hornsberg, a former industrial area where urban redevelopment projects are ongoing. Red-bricked factories appear to date back to the early 20th century, judging from the presence of ornaments on the facade. It even looks beautiful. There is a well-designed skateboard rink, too. Post-industrial chic. That's what I miss in Stockholm. Finally, the missing piece for my image of a city is found here.

Then a massive shopping complex called Lindhagen where a branch of the major supermarket chain ICA, probably Stockholm's biggest, spans two floors of the spacious building. For every consumer good, all the brands available in Sweden seem to be on the shelf although, for some reason, the meat section is rather small (smaller than the entire section for sausages or for cheese), and they don't sell my favorite Nuremberg sausages. The shopping complex is far away from any metro station. Bus 49 stops in front but every 20 minute at best. Unless you have a car or live really close by, there's no point of visiting this place.

If I live in this area, Fridhemsplan is the closest busy area. I have lunch at a French-influenced cafe called Et Encore, located inside Grandpa, a well-known hip boutique. The menu is different from other standard cafes in Stockholm. A toast sandwich is fine, but the accompanied salad of not very fresh tomatoes, cucumber, and lettuce (a very typical salad in Stockholm) makes everything collapse. What's worse, their coffee is Caffe Monteriva, which I hate. By the way, they forget serving me with coffee. When I claim it after finishing the sandwich, a shop attendant gives me a macaron for free (which tastes good), telling me with a smile, "It's French, not Swedish." It seems a pure quality of Swedish sweets is what some Swedes also notice.

In Fridhemsplan, there are two big supermarkets. On the way home, I shop at one of them, DagLivs, which turns out to be one of the best supermarkets in Stockholm.

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