Sweden – The Low Down Adventure
In Stockholm in January the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 3:30. That’s 6 hours of daylight – total. Each day. Now, granted, in Seattle this time of year, the sun takes its bow at 4:30. That extra hour makes a difference. We were a bit nervous – the cold, ok, we can handle that, we can bundle up and layer. But the dark – there’s no way around that.
Except, duh, the Swedes DO have a way around that. On the bus ride from the airport to the hotel, we noticed the same thing in every window: a paper star lantern hanging above a triangular electric candelabra. The designs varied slightly – white stars, red stars, fat candelabras, delicate and skinny candelabras – but the effect was the same. A city of twinkling lights, warm and welcome in the dark, a way to combat the center of winter. We knew right then and there that the Sweden Kit HAD to celebrate all things light and bright!
First day in town, we put on all our wool clothing and shuffled off to Södermalm (yes, of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame). Found a bunch of great shops – great selection and amazingly helpful store clerks – but nothing had that somethin’ somethin’ that makes a RAH good special.
Moving on, we found a store in the basement of a shopping mall. Walked down into the basement, past a jazz club that smelled of day-old Italian food, and BOOM! There it was – a shop filled with so much office-supply goodness we could hardly even stand it. Rows of notebooks, aisles of perfectly organized pens and pencils. And the people working there? Total office-supply geeks who love the goods as much as we do!
First item we landed on: the spiral-bound notebooks with bold stripes and phat black type. So simple, yet so stylie – just like all the rad Swedish design we saw on the trip. The Swedes got a look, and they nail it!
We had to go with Top Grip for the Mystery Item – a Swedish company that only makes paper clips and tacks. We opted for big honkin’ nickel-plated clips, etched with small horizontal lines – but then we saw the other sizes and styles and couldn’t stop. Each RAHstr is gettin’ a mix of clips this month, because we couldn’t pick just one!
The BIG score? Ballograf pens. THE Swedish pen company. From the bright hexagonal body, to the chrome-plated trim finely engraved with “SWEDEN”, we couldn’t leave these little gems behind. (I mean, the ball is made of tungsten carbide – how badass is that??). AND homeboy totally hooked it up to make it happen. Our new Swedish BFF!
Next trip to Stockholm, we’ve gotta go at Midsummer, when the Swedes party down and celebrate all things sun. But even in winter, you can’t deny Sweden’s charm. Gotta love a country that takes any excuse to make everything stylie and bright!