Sunday, October 25, 2009

What to do with an extra hour

We observed the end of Day Light Savings today. This is one observance I've always enjoyed - not only did you get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, but that also meant that it would be light for a while in the mornings - my favorite time to run. Well, Myrna decided to abstain from such a practice and was wide awake and ready to play at the new 6:30 a.m. (to be fair, she hasn't quite grasped the concept of sleeping a little later on the weekends either) - so much for that "extra hour of sleep."

After four and a half hours of play and breakfast and more play, she was ready for her nap, and I could enjoy my "extra hour" and finally unpack my running gear, which still was in ziplock bags from the move. My last run had been over three weeks ago in Freiburg - where it was warm - shorts and t-shirt weather. I was reminded again that we missed the gradual change of seasons as I bundled up in my winter running wear (which certainly won't be enough for winter here).

As we've mentioned before, we live on Reimersholme, a tiny island just off the northwest end of Södermalm. I started the run crossing the short bridge on to Södermalm and then quickly crossing another bridge to get on the neighboring Långholmen island. Långholmen once housed a prison (Sweden's largest of the time) but now the prison is a hotel and restaurant and the island is mostly one big park. It was lovely seeing our apartment from the other side of the water. However, after about 12 minutes I had completed my perimeter tour, so I needed a new direction.

I opted for the north end of Södermalm. Chris, Myrna and I had walked along the water there, so I at least knew there was a walking path. This route took me east along the water and I could enjoy views of beautiful buildings slightly obscured by the drizzle and clouds. Across the water first was Kungsholmen and then the small island Gamla Stan (the old town). Even though my Tunnelbana stops at Gamla Stan everyday, I've yet to see the historical old town - but it was an outing enjoyed by Myrna and her dad last week.

View Stockholm Run in a larger map

Not feeling too adventurous, I took the same route home, returning to Reimersholme. We've been learning a little history about our island (thanks to the Lonely Planet): in the 19th Century the prisoners at Långholmen built a textile factory on Reimersholme. In 1879 a young industrialist by the name of Lars Olsson Smith took over the building and developed a new kind of vodka he called 'Absolut Rent Brännvin,' the obvious ancestor to what today is Absolut Vodka. But he wasn't happy just to have a better tasting vodka - he wanted to break the city of Stockholm's monopoly on selling it. Conveniently Reimersholme wasn't part of Stockholm city limits then, so he could just sell the stuff here (and to add insult to injury, he offered Stockholmers a free ferry ride to come buy his product). Now, there is no place to buy Absolut on our island (all alcoholic beverages must be bought in the state controlled stores) and there certainly was no Absolut Gift Basket given to us as a welcome gift.


Mark Jabbusch said...

Thanks for the 'running commentary' and bit of history. Did that same guy invent the Absolut number and Absolut value? Its fun to see the new city through your eyes and feet and stories.

J Paul M said...

Hi guys,
A woman I teach with has spent quite a bit of time in Sweden. She wanted you to know that for the best Swedish meatballs you need to go to Bronco's Bar. I checked it out at and it looks like you might find more than Swedish meatballs.
ta ta for now,

Aaron Burkhalter said...

Glad to hear you got some time to yourself to run. I hope you enjoy exploring the area.