I wandered downtown this afternoon, ostensibly on an errand I thought I needed to run. But really, I just wanted to be outside in the sunny warm weather.
I’ve been “couching it” for the past week, recovering from a health issue and getting stronger every day. The weather turned toward summer (it’s been over 20°C every afternoon this week) on pretty much the first day I started feeling better. With each day of recovery, I ventured farther: I headed to the local mall for groceries and to the post office, to a nearby park to sit in the sun.
And the Swedes did not disappoint. The tunnel of trees down Valhallavagen is whizzing with bikes, with the sounds of people walking and talking; the park grass is studded with young and old women in bikinis (today I saw an older woman lying out in her black bra!); older couples sit on benches nearby; and men on daddy leave play with their children on the grass and in the fountains. The sun is here, and Stockholmers are sucking it up.
Today, the crowds went to Humlegården, outside the Royal Library; I was reminded of Strawberry Field in Central Park on a summer day. A lot of the people clustered on blankets on the grass looked to be tattooed metal heads, all in black (or nearly naked in the sun), wearing t-shirts from concerts, some with mohawks, and many older than 40. I was wondering if perhaps a big concert is happening in town, or a metal conference.
Then a guy walked by carrying what looked like an amplifier, which turned out to be a giant speaker with an iPhone dock on top. The mellow sounds of the Buena Vista Social Club wafted by me as he passed. (Hearing Ry Cooder’s Cuban music album from the 1990s made me feel suddenly old, or alien, possibly both.)
Over at Sergels Torg, I stumbled across the more touristy, perhaps even lowbrow throng, sprinkled with business types. I followed folks in shorts and t-shirts, men in suits, women in strapless maxi dresses brushing the sidewalk or wearing see-through mesh t-shirts (you would have thought it was really hot today!). One young woman was wearing a tiny dress with the hem riding just below her butt cheeks, talking into her phone at Nybroplan.
Then I turned up the road at Östermalmstorg, where the preppies were out! Not just the young ones, in their skinny suits and jeans, with skinny ties. I love the old gray-haired men in red cotton pants and dark blue collared shirts. Their Euro-ness makes me happy.
If I were a better photographer, I would have been able to document these things. I will practice.