A old friend had come to town for a weekend getaway and was looking for a relaxing holiday, “let me show you around town,” I offered.
Where though? City? Sure, but it’s not relaxing… Sodermalm, for food but its too hip to be relaxing, Djurgarden, yes that’s green enough but we need to get some fika too.
Fika is a concept meaning to “have a coffee”, to take a break from the chores of the day and shoot the breeze if you will. It was first used in the 19th century as a play on the word kaffi (the original Swedish spelling for coffee/kaffe), being the reverse of the word. Fika is an institution in Sweden and Finland, something you have with colleagues, friends, a date and family. Breaking and dissing fika is a massive social faux pas.
Hey, it’s even been thought to be the key to world peace 😉
Fika usually involves a drink and a small meal like a bun of sorts (usually a cinnamon or cardomum bun). You can have it throughout Sweden, but why not have fika in a beautiful garden. That is what Rosendals Trädgård offers and that was the perfect place for a relaxing start to the weekend. It also happens to be a fika pilgrimage site for Stockholmers, something we realised later on as we faced the sheer number of people there.
Rosendals Trädgård is located in the centre of Djurgården, so a pleasant walk is in order before reaching the cafe. The beautiful surrounds and the whimsical signs (the one below says, this is a corner of a larger field) primed me for a wonderful experience, it was almost like walking into a garden wonderland. My eyes were primed to take in the moment and enjoy the beauty in front of me (camera to capture the memories).
And I wasn’t the only one taken in by the beauty of the gardens.
Rosendal means “rose valley” and was (according to this source) home to a collection of sheperd cottages int he 1700s before being converted into a farmland. The land was later sold to a French man named Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, who would later be made king after the monarchy of Gustav IV Adolf (from the house of Holstein-Gottorp) was ended in a coup and his successor Karl XIII ended prematurely (yes the present Swedish royal family has French, non-Viking origins). Bernadotte, who would later be called Karl XIV Johan, would convert this into his royal garden.
This place grew in the 1800s when the Swedish Horticultural Society was given permission to expand. Rosendals was modelled after the Horticultural Gardens in England and the idea was to make a model garden that would educate citizens on orderly gardening in the city. The present park/cafe was set up in 1982 by a private association to widen the publics knowledge in biodynamic gardening and landscaping.
Rosendals Trädgård has two parts to it, a cafe and a park. The main cafe is run on a farm to fork concept which means it grows and harvests its own vegetables to sell at fika.
It also serves as a marketplace that sells plants, vegetables, artisanal cakes/breads
as well as the all important coffee for fika.
There’s also a little boutique selling souvenirs and the like.
But it was summer and we were in sun-shy Sweden, we didn’t want to sit in a cafe in a shelter, no… we were going to sit in the shade outside with the sun.
So we got out beers (yea we skipped the coffee) and went to the garden to sit.
We weren’t prepare for the crowd although on hinndsight, the queue for drinks should have been our first clue.
The garden was packed with out sun-bathers too, soaking in the glorious sun, and yet it was surprisingly quiet. It was as if we saw people were around, but we didn’t really hear them.
We didn’t get the feeling of a crowded park but were rather able to enjoy a relaxing time in the sun… like the puppy was.
ON THE MAP