Stop reading right now if you don't know who ABBA is. Or never liked them.
Sure—pop music, relentless beat, sentimental lyrics. But so full of HEART and the most danceable music ever. I never quite realized what a fan I was ‒ how much that music pervaded my life in the mothering years ("shining like the sun"), the happiness it gave at social events, the comfort it provided when I had to dance alone ("without a song or a dance what are we") ‒ until I knew I was going to Stockholm!
We checked into the Pop House Hotel—Right There on Top of the ABBA Museum! Cousin Mitzi, despite some health worries, shared my excitement in touring the museum ("you'll be dancing once again and the pain will end") and seeing each other again. Mitzi lives in Stockholm and had never been there. Maybe Swedes are bored with ABBA. After all, that was more than a generation ago. Nonetheless, the entrance sees lineups down the street every morning when the Djurgårdssvågen tram deposits them out front.
A special exhibit was featuring costumes from the Mamma Mia movies ("here I go again"). Unfortunately my photos are mostly crap. Between the press of the crowds, mishandling the audio guide, forgetting my reading glasses, and losing my companions, operating my phone camera was a lost cause. Credit is due my companion who did manage.
We blundered into a tiny audio studio where we belatedly understood we were being recorded ("I feel like I wanna sing") in a song whose words escaped us. Never mind, room after room there are stories here, and glamour cutouts of the foursome, and their history, and what they did later ("breaking up is never easy I know").
But oh. Oh look! There's a stage and a complicated karaoke setup and random people from the passing crowd get up there to sing with hologram ABBA. Mine, it's mine! (I have a dream, a song to sing). So I scramble up there in my garish leggings and sandals with about two words of instruction ("you can dance, you can jive"). Do I know the words? Some. Can I bust a few moves? No one told me to practise. I'm awfully busy watching the words on the wall across the room and also the ABBA gods themselves dancing on the floor below in front. My eyes roll up and down. I do that swaying thing to warm up, search my head for words, and remember to smile at the audience ("watch that scene"), getting ready to let loose with the arms and legs ("I can dance with you honey"). And suddenly it's over.
Not exactly as wished for. But oh yes ("I am your music and I am your song").
This is supposed to be about Stockholm. This WAS Stockholm!
Even so, we did see other things, even with my head still in ABBA mode ("thanks for all the joy they're bringing"). Mitzi took us on the ferry to the old town ‒ Gamla Stan – where we tried to ignore the drizzle. Alas, we saw little in the way of tourist or historic sites but managed lunch in a lovely old restaurant on a cobblestone street before it was time to say goodbye.
Otherwise we'd enjoyed a waterfront walk, more drizzle, discovering that so many museums were located nearby ("something good in everything I see").
Our hotel location in the city's Djurgården area was a fluke in that we knew nothing about Stockholm in advance, and it was a lovely choice. It seems the park-like island is devoted to recreation. At night we strolled some of the Gröna Lund amusement park; a pop concert was underway in one section ("make me sing, make me sound"). Next morning we barely touched the outskirts of the Skansen living history park. Our time restrictions kept us contentedly in their shop of fine handicrafts.
A tiny taste of Sweden. So good.
"So. I. Say! Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing ..."
© 2019 Brenda Dougall Merriman