Today we immersed ourselves in Scandinavian customs and history and both absolutely loved it.
Another three course breakfast. A small bowl of muesli with strawberry yogurt, fruit salad, nuts and seeds. A cold course, with peppers, sprouts, cucumber, cornichons, beetroot salad, smoked salmon and herring. Herring three ways: pickled, in mustard and in a herb sauce. The hot course: scrambled eggs, a small sausage, potato, bacon and Gouda cheese. On the top of our hotel, which is next to the railway line, is a Spa. Up the steps is a good sized and very crowded heated pool. The air temperature was 5 ºC and the water was 35 ºC so as long as you stayed in the water it was extremely pleasant. It was very steamy and great fun. After a relax in the warm pool we sat in the sauna. It kept me warm for hours and all day long I felt really clean which was a lovely feeling. We were blessed with sunshine and eventually blue skies today. We had a decent walk across our region of Stockholm, Norrmalm, through the City and Ostermalm to Djurgarden. Where possible we walked along the waterfront which was stunning in the morning sunshine.These are some of Stockholm’s grand hotels which line the waterfront.
We were walking to another island, called Djurgarden.
This island is the location of numerous royal palaces, museums, beaches, a forest and the University of Stockholm. This beautiful building is the Nordika Museet. No idea what this one was but it looks like the Spiderwitch Chronicles.An old style telephone box.
Our destination for the day was Skansen, an open air museum founded in 1891. It contains over 150 traditional buildings from all over Sweden dating from the 14th to early 20th century. They were dismantled, transported and rebuilt on site. The 75 acre site is also home to Nordic animals in a natural habitat and trees and plants from all over Sweden. It is a living history and was quite fascinating.
When we walked in, and during the day, the air was filled with the smell of wood smoke as they were burning logs to provide places to huddle from the cold. We were not cold until much later in the day when a cold wind picked up but I love the smell of a wood fire and enjoyed these fire pits as we came across them.
We relaxed with a drink when we arrived. I had coffee and Harvey had one of these bottles of cordial. He had the Lingonberry and really liked it.
I had a traditional Swedish Cinnamon bun which was very good. Near the entrance was an aquarium and small zoo which I thought was going to be full of the Nordic animals so we went in. It had nothing to do with Scandinavia so it seemed out of place but it was very interesting anyway. You could get a bit too close to some of the animals for my liking!
This exhibit was fascinating. They had about 20 skulls from different animals and once you had guessed what you through it might be, you lifted the flap to check if you were right. Guess what this is ! I am not sure which of these is the most scary! Harvey touched the snake but baulked at the tarantular. I stayed as far away as possible from them both. We then began to walk through the extensive and beautiful grounds of Skansen. This striking building is a belfry.
The Hornborga Cottage. Most of the signs were in Swedish and English – phew! This is the Virserum Storehouse. The soldiers cottage. I forget the age of this but farmers were asked to provide a cottage for soldiers who in return helped work on the farm until they were called up for war. The Nordic animals section was superb.
The reindeer are smaller than I was expecting.
Skansen is a fantastic place for people of all ages and particularly children. There were many rides, such as electric cars from the 1950’s which were aimed at younger children than a 12 year old but somethings he just had to have a go on. As the sun set fires were lit around the site and the Halloween fun began. More fire pits were lit, some with grids for cooking sausages on and families who knew about the Halloween evening had brought food to cook which looked like great fun.There was no electricity in many areas of the museum so candles were lit along the main pathways.
There was still so much to see so we began to race around to see more before it was dark. During the First World War, land was given to people for them to make in to allotments and they were provided with little huts to live in to encourage Swedish people to grow vegetables. This area is the Town Quarter and many of the buildings are furnished and decorated inside for their era. Can you see the ghost? They had actors dressed up as creepy characters who appeared and disappeared, some silently and other with ghoulish screams. It was really scary! This cosy fire was inside the kitchen of the print maker’s house. There was a lady in traditional clothing from the turn of the century to explain about the house and the life of the printer who would have lived here. Crispbreads and apple rings drying on a rack. Sorry for the fuzzy picture but this is in the sitting room. With long nights and no electricity, stories were read out loud. Harvey thought life without electricity was much more sociable and I agree with him. Two of the rooms in this house had fireplaces covered in decorated tiles which were warm so they were pretty and functional. I think we spent about 5 hours in Skansen and we still didn’t see it all. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it. It was a magical place in a stunning setting and we didn’t want to leave. The walk back in the dark was really pretty, especially beside the water. We had an early supper at Cafe Milano near Hamngatan. A ciabatta roll with olive oil. Spaghetti Carbonara. A mixed salad. Harvey wanted pasta hence we went to an Italian. Unless I fancy a pizza I rarely choose Italian but he really enjoyed it and I was hungry by the time we ate and enjoyed it too. No where near as much as last night’s Swedish dinner but it was quite adequate.
This was a fantastic day which we both loved. Harvey liked the animals best and I liked the historical buildings. We both enjoyed the swimming, sauna, sunshine, walking and being outside all day. We are formulating the plan for tomorrow which so far involves a bike ride and the Abba Museum – I can not wait for some Abba immersion.
The skull answer was giraffe!