23 October 2017

Malmo, Sweden 2016

To reach Sweden from Copenhagen, we took the amazing Øresund bridge-tunnel-causeway, sixteen kilometres. One is hardly aware of the great maritime span being crossed, in a smooth transition from ground-level to subterranean to skyway. From one terra firma to the other is about a half hour including border controls. Normally, EU residents would pass through quickly but recent immigration pressure had tightened security measures.

To Malmo, a tiny taste of Sweden, with unfortunate time constraints on our part. In the most interesting hotel! Mayfair Hotel Tunneln was built in 1519, originally the town house of a wealthy nobleman, upon an earlier cellar constructed in 1307. The unique atmosphere of the ancient cellar now serves as the hotel dining room.

Artifacts from past centuries and restored public rooms display some of the building's long history and the fascinating characters who played their parts in it. In the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries its aristocratic owners often hosted prominent, even royal, guests. One can confidently say a king and a princess slept here. Much larger than it looks from a frontal shot, at one time it housed the governor and offices of Skåne province.


Malmo is at the west end of Wallander country, Skåne, where crime novelist par excellence, Henning Mankell, placed so many of his stories. Alas, no time to hunt for his haunts. A diehard fan might expect a few noir elements to pop up in this city, but what we saw was memorably light and colourful.

Speaking of past centuries, best of all was meeting my Swedish cousin Mitzi who flew here from Stockholm, bless her. We share a fourth great-grandfather in our Estonian-Latvian family line; that would be Jürri Jurikas who was born about 1772. Coffee and conversation were the best way to begin our visit; then shopping, of course.

The old town was mere minutes away, walking, from our hotel. Pedestrian-friendly streets were not too crowded on a July day but the restaurants were overflowing! It took some time before we could find a lunch venue where four could sit comfortably. Seeking a dinner restaurant was equally thwarting, as was the service. "Swedish meatballs" on the menu did not represent the traditional recipe we expected, according to our disappointed and indignant cousin. It seems the chef, of Middle Eastern origin, had taken unforgivable liberties. The protest was acknowledged even as some of us hungrily ate the non-Swedish meatballs.


Ah well. Early morning exemplified peace and quiet in a short walk before breakfast.

The first meal of the day could not have had a more unique atmosphere than the hotel's historic cellar.  

Such a short visit but feeling the family bond. Malmo, the only thing I cannot forgive you for is the lack of ABBA souvenirs! (http://camel-chaser.ca/2016/08/swedish-superheroes.html)

© 2017 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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