Friday, February 24, 2012

Stockholm, Sweden - Flygt Chick

Hej och välkommen tillbaka.. 
Till vår blogg om Stockholm. Efter en sådan fantastisk dag (och natt) Jag trodde det ett absolut måste för att skrivaseparat om att umgås med våra vänner: Flgyt Chick, herr Burgundy & Whiskey-man - namn ändrade för att skyddaoskyldiga!

Hello and welcome back..
To our blog about Stockholm.  After such an amazing day (and night) I thought it an absolute must to post separately about hanging out with our friends: Flgyt Chick, Mr Burgundy & Whiskey-man - names changed to protect the innocent!

So, where to begin?  Winnie and I were given strict instructions to “Meet at 11 at Central Station, next the big hole in the floor”.  Now, this could be taken any number of ways; what was Flygt Chick and Mr Burgundy planning to do with us?  Having worked with Flygt Chick, Winnie and I were expecting a fun day, and were not disappointed at all.  Thank you Flygt Chick!
Walking down the Old Town streets
All was revealed, when we saw them both wrapped up in HUGE puffer jackets (Flygt Chick was wearing a brilliantly bright red one, whilst Mr Burgundy was in a bright blue jacket).  So we were gonna be outdoors!  We infact were in store for a lovely walking tour of all of the major sights in Stockholm.  We started by heading away from central station to the Town Hall, dubbed the golden hall owing to the numerous golden pipes that it has, and is also the sought after location for the annual Nobel Prize Winners’ Celebration and dinner.  The chefs at the event put together a special menu that is unique to each celebration.  There is a restaurant next to the hall that recreates the menu for 364 days after the Nobel Prize official dinner.  After this we headed over to the Royal Palace, where we were taking photos of the guards on duty.  Next Mr Burgundy suggested that see the changing of the guards ceremony at the royal palace.  We went and it was no surprise to any of that it was a fairly dull event, but we stayed and watched it anyways.

At the Changing of the Guards

After this and since it was now approaching lunch time, we headed to a tiny boutique restaurant called Kryp In, located in Gamla Stan, with a detour via the small square that is famous for the Swedish bloodbath in the 16th Century (I hope I’m remembering all this correctly) – an ominous place that was infact very peaceful…none the less..

Lunch was phenomenal.  Simply put, a gastronimical experience rather the modest sangas, snacks and fries we have been munching on lately.  We opted for a two course lunch; I also had my first beer since leaving the UK!  500ml Premium Lager (cannot remember the name of the beer) in a boutique restaurant – I was expecting it to be expensive, but at 62 SEK (6 GBP) for a half-litre was pretty good.  I can imagine drinking lots of these would be expensive, but I’m not into that so it’s reasonable.  Starting off with a beer was great, especially since we were given locally made bread and soft butter to nibble on and chat to Mr Burgundy and Flygt Chick.  Our First Course of the lunch came to us within a few minutes of conversation.  I went for the pasta dish containing roast beef and roast reindeer; it had mushrooms and a very tasty light cream sauce.  I very much enjoyed it, to the last mouthful.  Winnie had the traditional Swedish Meatballs, which was accompanied with mashed potatoes, linden berries and pickle.  I had a sneaky taste (who wouldn’t?) and it tasted delicious!  After this, thanks to Mr Burgundy who kept suggesting great things, we went full hog and decided to crack into dessert.  I selected the dish that came with dark and white chocolate slabs with mango, a glass of warm rum, and a coffee.  Winnie and Flygt Chick had the same dish (minus the rum and coffee), Mr Burgundy had a Créme Brulee (without Licorice!) and a coffee.  It was a lovely way to finish the meal, and prepare for the cold outside (rum and coffee).

Lunch menu @ Kryp In

After lunch we waddled down Gamla Stan to the Ferry port, where we took a ferry to the Vasa Museum – this is an uber-old wooden ship (made in 1648) and it sank on its maiden voyage after travelling a grand distance of 1 nautical mile.  As annoying as that sounds, it meant that as technology (and DIVING) developed, they were able to search for and locate it.  It was discovered and salvaged in 1961, and has been preserved and restored since then.  The museum is amazing and well worth a visit, which was only 110 SEK (around 11 GBP) for a ticket.  
on the ferry across to the Vasa Museum

The carving and wood work on the Vasa, its bronze cannons and detail-work is simply astonishing.  To see that the restoration work, which has included replicating the carvings and sculpture work around the Vasa has been done with traditional and modern methods is awesome.  It’s really funny because when the vessel was raised from the see bed (30m) it needed a lot of specific skilled divers to tunnel under the hull and pass massive steel wires under it, then to remove the water / sludge as it surfaced they used the Swedish pumps that Winnie and I used to sell in Australia – Flygt Pumps.  It was funny watching Mr Burgundy and Flygt Chick rush to point this out to us.

After the museum we walked down the Swedish equivalent of the Champs Elysees (Strandvagen), passing all of the major architectural sights as the evening closed in.  I took the opportunity to snap lots of photos of the snow, lights, buildings and cars using slow shutter speeds, changing ISO and getting used to my DSLR’s many other functions. 

We then took a local train, and a bus to Flygt Chick and Whiskey-man’s home.  Whiskey-man is Flygt Chick’s partner and together they live in a very beautiful home in the quieter suburbs of Stockholm, which involves a wicked designed house which comes complete with Sauna and Bar (with disco ball, and awesome selection of single malts).  I really enjoyed getting to know Mr Burgundy, and catching up with Flygt Chick – it was nice having a few drinks with Whiskey-man.  Whiskey-man’s collection was largely Islay Single Malts, each 16 years or older.  There was a particular 28 YO Chieftain that caught my eye – but we’ll come back to that!

Next, we went upstairs to the kitchen and whilst Flygt Chick and Whiskey-man were preparing dinner, we were given drinks.  Ok – so everybody knows that Carlsberg lager is Danish, and the stock standard green stuff that gets exported globally is pretty standard as far as beers go… Well, Whiskey-man offered me the real stuff that the Danes don’t like to see leave Denmark; it was called “Black Gold” (Sort Guld) and it was amazing.  I downed 2 cans very quickly, noticing it was stronger than the normal green stuff.  Next we had some White Wine, and watched the one thing that most non-euro people or Brits don’t understand or care about – EUROVISION.  Although the Swedes do multiple rounds of selection live shows before the event, called Festivals of Music or something like that.  We watched these high budget performers (who were actually pretty good); including the obviously Swedish Justin Beber boy) and talked about Eurovision and how it is so popular in Sweden (since ABBA).

Entree :) 
For Dinner we ate another hum-dinger of a delicious offering!  Flygt Chick and Whiskey-man gave us Lojromstoast, which was Roe, crème fraiche, chives and red onion placed delicately onto a piece of toast.   Our evening’s chefs then followed this up with a Beef Fondue (the fondue was red wine and stock – which is lactard friendly, Shrimp-Dawg), served with hasselbackspotatis and a selection of homemade dips.  Hasselbackspotatis are roasted potatoes, but they are roasted from raw, with lots of slices through them, to allow the huge knobs of butter that they were roasted in, to ensure a tasty final outcome!  Flygt Chick seemed most proud of her dips: Chilli Bearnaise, Tzatsiki, Chutneys and Chilli & Tomato Salsa.

The meal was awesome, once you got the hang of spiking your beef – or fishing for it if you failed to spike it properly!  We continued with a lovely red wine from the Venice vineyards in Italy.  It was a very lovely wine, with a full body and lots of fruity undertones.

Yummy dips for the fondue
As the evening drew to a close, the extremely kind Mr Burgundy offered to pay for the three of us to go back to the city in a taxi.  While waiting for the taxi (which was less than 5 minutes), Whiskey-man and I went down to the bar to chat some more and sample the 28 YO Cheiftain Islay.  Now, that’s a way to finish the night!  I really enjoyed the day out, the food all day was top, top notch and the company was fun too.  It was good meeting new friends (Mr Burgundy) and getting to know Whiskey-man.

Thank you Flygt Chick, Mr Burgundy and Whiskey-man for the  best Stockholm experience!  We will reciprocate should you come to Sydney!  Pst – Flygt Chick and Whiskey-man you should come back to our hemisphere! 

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