I shopped the world’s largest IKEA and survived: Stockholm icons

This is not IKEA, this is Nybrokajen, one of Stockholm’s beautiful
waterfront streets. Far more picturesque. Photo: Belinda Jackson.

It’s been pretty wet here in Stockholm. I’ve traded Cairo’s sun for snow, Giza ponies for Dalarna horses. The people in both Egypt and Sweden both wear a lot of black, but instead of busting my chops to exercise in Ahly Sports Club in Cairo, today I did my daily walk in the world’s largest IKEA, in Kungens Kurva, in southern Stockholm.

The trip was an essential one for my brother, in the midst of renovations, but yes, I was keen for a perve.

Let me report back: the store layout is just as confusing as any other IKEA store, they really do eat meatballs and it was packed with families on a wet Sunday afternoon. One of the ninth hells? Quite possibly. However, some may be appeased by the revelation that they serve booze in the cafeteria with those meatballs. 

I was going fine until I split from the Swedish speaker and on the hunt for bathroom hooks, when I realised there are no English signs, a marked absence of staff and my shabby Swedish doesn’t include the word for ‘bathroom’.

Yes, it was big, mighty big. But I survived, and recuperated with the classic cinnamon bun, kanelbullar (dreadful version from a supermarket, here’s a recipe for a real one) and the delicious-sounding, but absolutely revolting saffron buns, lussekatter as well as västerbottensostpaj (a super-rich, super-fabulous cheese pie that rivals anything I ate in Cairo for cholesterol).

Next stop on a quest for all things Swedish: the new ABBA museum. Oh yeah, I’m ticking the boxes…

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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