My Sweden - Östermalm

Östermalm – ‘It invites you to go for a walk’

Östermalm - 'It invites you to go for a walk'
In The Local's new series My Sweden where we profile readers' favourite hangouts, sights, and eateries in their own corners of Sweden, we talk to Lorelee Arias, a Mexican who has spent the past four months in Östermalm, Stockholm.

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The Local: So, a bit of background – who are you and where are you from?

I’m Lorelee Arias, 31, born and raised in Mexico City. My job at the embassy brought me to Stockholm, which was actually a surprise – I'd never been to Scandinavia before, so I knew everything would be very new.

Why is Stockholm special to you?

My colleagues always tell me that the first posting is like your first boyfriend or girlfriend, it will always have a special place in your heart and mind.

I already have that with Stockholm. Despite the (huge) differences with Mexico City, Stockholm has grown on me a lot. It’s special because it’s given me the opportunity of having a whole new job, meeting very nice people, studying a new language (that I might, just might, become good at).

So, what are the differences between Stockholm and Mexico City

How much time have you got? It's definitely very different. I miss, for example, the opening times of shops. In Mexico you can go to the supermarket at 1am, catch a movie at 9am or 11pm, go shopping in a mall on Sunday at 7pm, have dinner at 3 in the morning or breakfast at noon on Saturday or Sunday.

But I don’t really get homesick – I didn't even bring any Mexican food or tequila with me – I was pretty open to whatever may come.

What would you do if you had a visitor for one afternoon?

I’d definitely take them for a walk around the city. You don't know how many times I have walked from my apartment to Södermalm – almost to the Globe arena.

And the Djurgården park is lovely for a walk – it's the kind of place where you’d like to get lost for a while. I think Stockholm has something that Mexico lacks by nature: it is very walker-friendly. Of course in Mexico, we have very nice places to walk and relax, but this city actually invites you to do it, no matter where you are.

Related gallery: Click here to see Lorelee’s Östermalm in pictures

After a long walk I would take my visitor for a drink and a nice dinner, which brings me to another thing I have loved here: the food's amazing.

Does that mean your “smultronställe” (favourite place) might have something to do with food?

Yes. Mine would have to be Riddarbageriet – it's a typical neighbourhood bakery, with enough space for only five small tables and the counter. They already know me there. They have the best prosciutto baguette ever, as well as the best pain au chocolat, and black coffee that could keep you awake almost through anything. Lovely people, too.

They also have big windows and if you walk by during the evenings you can see the bakers working on the bread for the next morning. Even though I only spend about 10 minutes there a week, it’s definitely one of my favourite places.

Would you say Östermalm is a part of Stockholm that can be enjoyed by everyone?

No, Östermalm is not for everybody. It’s a bit posh and probably too commercial, but I love the buildings. Even though I live in the only ugly building in the whole area, I get to enjoy the view of all the pretty ones from my window.

Lastly, tell me something about Östermalm that the rest of the world doesn't know.

That’s hard to say after only a few months, but the two things that it took me a while to find out were the short concerts at the Armémuseum at 11.30am on Sundays and the ringing bells from Hedvig Eleonora Kyrka every evening. I usually listen to them when I go to the supermarket, they're truly lovely.

Interested in sharing your insights about the best places to visit in your area? Send an email to [email protected] and maybe you'll find yourself featured in an upcoming My Sweden installment.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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