Travel

Malmö

The road from Copenhagen to Malmö is charmed. In just a matter of 186 Swedish Krona (20 Euros) and 40 minutes, we were in another country, and more importantly we were on the Øresund Bridge, synonymous with the Scandinavian crime show, The Broen (The Bridge). There was heightened anticipation thrown into the mix though it is a matter of some relief that you are not stopped by the discovery of a body, cut in half, lying on the bridge (here I refer to The Broen, so calm down and keep your hair on). The bridge is impressive on its own without the need for added drama for it is the longest road-and-rail bridge in Europe linking up the cities of Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmö in Sweden that lie on either side of the Øresund strait.

The bus was stopped at the Swedish toll booth by Swedish cops for on-the-spot checks, a young German Shepherd in their tow who sniffed his way most judiciously around the various bags stowed into the luggage compartment and the passengers. The idea is to ferret out drugs – we were travelling from Copenhagen, home to that druggie-hippie haven called Christiania . The skyline of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, was marked by The Turning Torso, a building that looks like it has been twisted along its length quite thoroughly, and the brainchild of the famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. I had seen his work previously in Venice in the form of a stone and glass bridge, and later The Oculus in Manhattan. The man knows how to boggle the mind.

For some perspective, Malmö is a formerly fortified Hanseatic port that traces its roots to the year 1272. Yet my three points of joy in the old town square had nothing to do with its history.

The first was a shoe shop, the signage of which read Crockett and Jones. What? Shoes from Northampton in Malmö? There we were in the shop staring lustily at these beautiful shoes crafted in leather, the finest stitches in place (with prices to match), from a brand that was started by two heavily moustachioed men — a certain Charles Jones had got together with his brother-in-law James Crockett “to encourage young men of good character in the towns of Northampton and Coventry to set up business on their own”.  The tall Swede inside the shop held up a pair and said: “They come from Northampton, an English town known for its shoes.”

That is travelling in a nutshell for you. You never know what lies around the corner.

The second instalment of my thrills was in acquiring a box of Summerbird chocolates. A Scandinavian chocolatier brand pompously priced but hey when a piece of chocolate is made from Trinitario cocoa beans, it wins all arguments. There are three noble species of cocoa beans – the rare Criollo, the common Forastero, and then Trinitario, which is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero and a blend that brings together the best of both beans.

Now, it is important that you picture a blustery, frigid day when we walked across the three squares in the city. You would then be able to imagine the indescribable pleasure that surged through us as we clapped eyes upon the most wonderful coffee shops I have ever seen. Their warm interiors called out to me, “come, child come”. The coffee shops in Sweden are a coffee lover’s dream. Warm wooden interiors, white walls for contrast, books stacked by the dozen into shelves, antique yellow lighting. It builds up a snug atmosphere where to give in to the Swedish coffee culture of fika — a break that demands a cup of coffee and a slice of cake — becomes a must.

There’s a self-respecting strain of passion for coffee in the country. For one, their historical customs records bear testimony to the fact that the first batch of coffee was shipped into the country in 1685. But it was King Karl XII who sparked the trend of drinking coffee in the 18th century when he returned to Sweden from Turkey with a Turkish coffee kettle. Coffee in those days however was an expensive drink but who could stop the bon ton when there was a statement to be made. I wonder what Karl XII would have made of these coffee shops. Would he have given up all thoughts of conquering far flung countries and just given into slices of chunky cake and a cuppa?

Stepping out of our coffee haven, we spotted the equestrian bronze statue of King Karl X in the middle of Stortorget, Malmö’s Big Square. He was Karl XII’s grandfather and an illustrious figure in his own right who had wrested the city’s freedom from Denmark. A city that is marked today by the contrast between its present through futuristic buildings and the old through structures of great beauty such as the castle, a commandant’s house and the Rådhus, its 16th-century City Hall that is featured in the lead photo of this post. Later, we headed into its 19th century railway station, refugees crammed into its every nook and corner, waiting to take the train to Lund.

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A blurred view of the Øresund Bridge
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The Øresund Strait
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On the Øresund
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The Swedish toll booth on the way to Malmö

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A group of musicians

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Crockett & Jones
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Summerbird chocolates
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Stortorget, the big square in the city
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The statue of King Karl X in Stortorget

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The railway station 
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Skånetrafiken commuter trains
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The coffeeshop inside the Malmö railway station
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Do you see what I mean? On days I imagine myself tucked in a corner in one of these coffee shops of Malmö, absorbed in a juicy crime thriller along with nibbles of cake.

 

52 Comments

  • Gabe Burkhardt

    I love that you highlight chocolate, coffee and shoes on your trip to Malmo! Not that these are things that interest me, but that despite their focus, you have a great gift for immersing us in the city through your prose and photos.
    Jealous…

  • whatismaria

    This looks exactly like the type of city I would love to visit for a couple of days and wander the beautiful streets and sit in the coffee shops, because an abundance of good coffee is enough to make me adore a place:’) And that German shepherd sounds so cute! Xx

  • Nemorino

    The only building by Santiago Calatrava that I know is his stunning new railway station in Liège, Belgium, on the high-speed line from Aachen to Brussels.

  • lexandneek

    I don’t know which I am charmed more – by the lovely custom of fika or the group of lively musicians marching down the street. Although I have a feeling that the musicians will not get very far 😉 I will dream of Summerbird Chocolates tonight! – Neek

  • Osyth

    You had me at ‘The Bridge’ …. how incredible was that show!!! Then you had me at coffee …. I love a nation that quietly respects the brew – France shares that in some way and of course Italy would not be Italy without its love of the roasted bean. And cake. You had me at cake – but you always will. There is just SO much to delight in, in this post and your pictures beguile beautifully xx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you Osyth 🙂
      The Bridge – I remembered the anticipation and thrills of that show. That scene shot on the bridge scarred me for days. I miss such shows. So if you have any recommendations, please to pass on.
      I would go miles for coffee …I have never had bad coffee in either Italy or France. So it is easy to see why those countries have my heart too. And cake, sigh, you are in the land of the best patisserie. xx

      • Osyth

        I’ll give it some thought and also ask my youngest daughter who is VERY good at recommending good viewing. My biggest recommendation at the moment which is a book not a film (they started making it and never finished to my chagrin) is ‘The Boys in The Boat’ .. I seldom say ‘must read’ but honestly I think everyone should. And on that note, it would be rude not to trot to the patisserie to snaffle a cake for some merit to go with my afternoon cuppa! Green tea now, no more coffee til the morrow or I shall not sleep a wink. I wonder I wonder I wonder what will catch my magpie eye today ? xx

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          Ooh ooh ooh, I would love to know what it is. I am taken back to a particular evening as I walked by a patisserie in Versailles’ beautiful neighbourhood where the aroma of vanilla and butter drew me with an intangible thread. I remember the evening, the girls and the pastries that made me want to snaffle all in a huge breath. Even Nessie would have risen out of the loch if all that booty was laid out at Urquhart.
          I shall look up The Boys in the Boat. I love book and show recommendations. Do fire away. I hope your daughter has a ton in store for me. Hugs to both of you! xx

          • Osyth

            Oh please do … it’s a marvellous read. I shamefully had it on the shelf for 3 years after it was recommended by an elderly gentleman my husband chatted to on a plane and mentioned my rowing back history. I foolishly thought that a book centered on rowing could not be compelling. How wrong I was! I am back home now and have a tarte aux noix caramélisées which is the local speciality (Grenoble is the home of walnuts) – the tea is brewing and I am definitely in a corner of paradise for a little while xx. I can guarantee my daughter will deliver lots of ideas – I’m the same as you…. just keep them coming! Do you follow Sultana Bun? She reviews books so irresistibly that I am practically bankrupted by her!

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            No, I do not know about Sultana Bun but I shall check her out now. Your recommendation cannot be overlooked.
            I could not locate Dinah Jefferies in the libraries here. I have to look again or just start using Noorie the Nook (she is lying untouched in a corner of my drawer)!
            The tart sounds just up my alley. Scoff away, my friend. I shall savour the nutty sweet & salty goodness of it in my mind and close my eyes with delirious pleasure from across the waters. xx

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            I like the sound of this cult and love the cross-stitch pattern of her logo already. So pretty and homey 🙂 Yet to browse because I am making lists. I shall await your mail, my lovely! xx

          • Osyth

            You are going to be in Rome? Oh la la … I used to live there! It’s my favourite place on earth. Where I thought I would end my days but then I met old Two Brains and France it is (which I also love unreservedly but Rome ….. Rome!!) Bon voyage ma belle amie xx

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            Thank you, my lovely!
            To have lived in Rome… I doubt not that there was bounty in Two Brains’ charm 🙂
            We were so swept away by Rome last summer that we cannot hold ourselves back. Plus it breaks an otherwise awfully long journey to India. Onwards ho to Campari and carciofi land! 😀 Any particular recommendations? xx

          • Osyth

            Yes. The Pantheon is still my favourite place in the whole city. Spend time in the ghetto – it’s my favourite quartier but I lived there so it would be I suppose. Treat her like you treated Copenhagen …. just be, don’t be tourists. What else? Too long ago to recommend restaurants and cafes but just eat and drink it all in. Jealous. A little. And if it was Milan I would drive down and give you both a hug – Rome is a little too far. I’ll be thinking of you, I will email you and I wish you both safe travels. Or rather bon voyage. Xx

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            We have done the touristy bits, rest assured. Now it will be the one-off palazzo or so but mainly speakeasies and jazz clubs and gelaterias and pizzerias. We did wander through the ghetto briefly earlier so maybe will explore it a bit more this time. I do not want it to start because then it means it will come to an end all too soon! But thank you for the wishes, o wonderful Osyth 🙂

  • Sheree

    Unlike those Scandi crime series which I feel deter potential visitors – but that maybe is their raison d’etre – your posts and photos positively draw in the reader and we’re then all planning our next trip to somewhere in Sweden.

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Tee hee thank you Sheree! If you do, do indulge in some fika and savour it for me. For me, the Scandi crime series are the draw 😛 I cannot get enough of them. Yes, yes, you have a strange one here! xx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Thank you Klaus (would it be okay to shorten it)? I hope so too for the bridge is a delight and the book fayries can fly their flag in the cold air! You too have a lovely time this weekend 🙂

  • Sarah

    Oh hello there… here I was searching WordPress for blog posts about Malmo and look who popped up. I am looking at doing a trip in November next year to Europe & have a few days in Copenhagen. I thought about popping over to Malmo. Would you definitely recommend it?

Hit me up, buttercup

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