IKEA Museum

We have a packed itinerary today. Flat packed and assembled with an Allen key.

There are patches of snow on the ground that weren’t there the previous evening. We are a bit sad to leave the Duxiana after the comfy beds and the breakfast of cold cuts, fruits and hot waffles.

I tried the Swedish caviar on my boiled egg. It was… Interesting.

I was very disappointed to realise that, after talking it up for months, I had forgotten the Disgusting Foods Museum in Malmö yesterday. Too late now.

We catch another Oresundstag train, for a bit over an hour. Past yesterday’s Lund, past increasingly white fields and towns to Älmhult, home of IKEA.

The conductor warns us that the train will split in two so we have to move carriages forward. Unfortunately, there we no spare sets of chairs for all of us.

The IKEA Museum showcases the history of the furniture company, along with temporary exhibitions. One of these was “Hacking IKEA,” about using IKEA objects for new projects.

The front desk staff of the museum kindly let us leave our big luggage with them while our smaller bags go in the lockers.

The Hacking IKEA exhibition has some interesting ideas about using IKEA objects in unintended ways. Many of the designs are open-sourced and available to follow yourself.

The history section is fascinating. It starts with an overview of life in Sweden prior to World War II, of poverty and challenges, then describes how social programs changed the nature of housing and home life. Then there is the story of IKEA founder Ingvar Kampars and his entrepreneurial nature, from selling fish from his bicycle, to pens and watches and finally furniture.

There are displays about how IKEA has changed over the years and an opportunity to put yourself on a printed IKEA catalogue cover.

Afterwards we have a lunch of meatballs (what else?) at the adjacent restaurant, which seems to serve IKEA workers as well. The dishes are a little more upmarket than your standard IKEA meatballs, with nicer gravy and pickles.

It is then time to continue our journey to Stockholm. Another Oresundstag train takes us as far as Alvesta, then we change to an X2000 tilt train the rest of the way.

We have seats booked in the middle facing each other but the forward window seat is occupied by a young Vietnamese speaking man who refuses to move out from the forward window seat despite his booked one facing the rear. He also spends the trip talking and playing noisily on the phone. Other people keep their conversations short or go to the carriage ends.

There is free tea and coffee, mini muffins and fruit available in the carriage.

The scenery outside is beautiful. Snowy fields and forests, frozen lakes and red painted wooden cabins and farmhouses. The sun traces an arc of maybe at most 30 degrees above the horizon and it is soon a long evening painting the white palette a tinge of orange and grey.

After a couple of very high bridges across sea inlets we arrive into Stockholm’s Central Station in darkness.

It’s very busy and it takes some time to work out where to exit. We are in a busy shopping area and initially start heading the wrong way in the freezing air, before consultations with Google Maps redirects us.

The Downtown Camper hotel is ultra hip, with environmental attitude, relaxation spaces and yoga programs, and our room is gorgeous.

Still, the presence of snow on the ground outside means an urgent need for B and Alex to acquire better footwear, so we head out shopping over Alex’s protests.

We find what we want at a department store. On our walk in we spotted a Pizza Hut restaurant and recall fun times with all-you-can-eat pizza and salad, gone from Australia.

It seems they have a salad bar, but we just order a couple of pizzas which taste different from their Australian counterparts. It’s not appropriate food, but we don’t care tonight for we are all utterly exhausted.

Welcome to Stockholm!

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