Sunday, August 05, 2007

N-ice bar

We only have a brief stop today in Stockholm and M and I thought we’d disembark as soon as we can and check out Stockholm centre before returning in a few hours and heading off for the Ice Bar and tour around the Old Town. Unfortunately with it being Sunday we can’t repeat our Copenhagen experience and explore Stockholm’s finest department stores as lamentably they’re not open until after we should be heading back to the ship.
But we enjoy a stroll around the port, have an ice cream and do just that. And fortunately I do get a chance to secure the obligatory Swedish magnet, a reindeer this time.

Ice Bars seem to be springing up all over the place now and I know there’s one in London but it seems more authentic to visit one in Sweden. We have an acerbic lecturer as our tour guide today; he’s very entertaining and doesn’t just do the “and on the right you’ll see…” He seems particularly intrigued by the fact that the major part of today’s trip is to an ice bar and because of the lovely weather many of us have bare legs and sandals. Though we are furnished with rather fetching silver fur trimmed ponchos and mittens to enjoy the chilly bar and are perfectly okay during our brief sojourn in the igloo.

The place is cool... in so many ways. The seats are blocks of ice topped with reindeer skins. The glasses with our chosen vodka cocktail and made of ice cubes hollowed out. You'd expect your lips to freeze to the ice 'glasses' but they don't. I recall many a slapstick moment in a comedy film where the haphazard hero inadvertently gets his tongue (and it's normally a 'he') stuck to an ice sculpture. But maybe as the glasses are so frozen and the ambient air so cold that this doesn't happen. Or the clips I've seen of this happening in films is just a urban myth.

The beautiful Stockholm is built on fourteen islands and though we enjoy our brief tour of the cobbled streets around the Royal Palace of the Old town, I wish we had more. We are definitely not here long enough to really appreciate it and unfortunately not for the merest mouthful of Potatis Gratang (the Swedish version of my favourite Gratin Dauphinoise) or Janssen's Temptation, a similar potato dish studded with anchovies. Ah well maybe next time!

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