The Swedish Experience
We have recently returned from a week in Sweden. Our visit was primarily to visit our family there including a new grandson and a two year old granddaughter who switches easily from English to Swedish, depending on to whom she is chatting.
| Ruben wearing patriotic colours|
We stayed with them at Farsta, a suburb of Stockholm, and during our time there, we had the opportunity of experiencing Swedish life and visiting a variety of interesting places. Whatever your destination, there are ‘country paths’ lined with trees, wild flowers, benches and children’s play areas, rather than walking along pavements next to a road.
We walked along to the lake at Farsta Strand, where we had lunch at an old, wooden trading station. Lunch, vegetarian quiche (paj) seemed very expensive before I learnt that the price includes unlimited, salad, bread and hot drinks or juice.
On the way back, after passing attractive flower allotments, we stopped off at the popular local shopping centre, Farsta Centrum, which has won several awards, including the year's shopping center (1999 and 2000), European Shopping Centre Award (1999) and Stockholm's best shopping mall (2002). Many well-known stores are represented and the central precinct houses market stalls and is a venue for live music. Here we bought some wine and beer at the Systembolaget, the government owned chain of liquor stores allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% proof.
We travelled by boat to Djurgården, one of the 14 islands on which Stockholm is built. This island was originally the hunting ground for the royals and, I believe, those with royal blood are still afforded this privilege. Today the island is still used for recreation; museums, amusement parks and gardens.
We walked around the gardens illustrated by my photos. We had a lovely bowl of organic onion soup in a large greenhouse, which served as the cafe, and the dirty dishes were placed outside on a trolley for the birds to pick clean! We bought some crocus bulbs “Gypsy Girl” as a memento of our holiday; hopefully they will be in bloom for the return visit.
Thursday: The Tyresta National Park
The park extends over almost 5,000 hectares. It has been protected to preserve its exceptional natural values and to safeguard its importance for recreation. You can find primeval forest here with pine trees that are 400 years old, clear forest lakes and a large number of unusual plants and animals. You can also see broad-leaved deciduous woodland, open arable land and historical buildings of cultural interest.
A typical feature of primeval woodland is the great number of plant and animal species. Up to 8,000 species of animals can be found here which is four times as many as in exploited forests! Many species are also completely dependent on primeval woodland for their habitats, indeed for their very survival!
It is unusual to have a national park within a capital city, but in Stockholm you can swim and fish in clean water in the city centre.
There are many trails to follow and we took the pram friendly one. Camping is allowed here and there are facilities to make a fire to cook your food. We took a picnic of delicious Greek salad.
Friday: Gamla Stan, Kulturhuset and the Jewish museum
Gamla Stan, the old town, is built on yet another island. It is a very picturesque area with the Royal Palace.
Locks on bridge presumably like they do in Paris; lovers attach the padlock to the railings, write a message on and throw the key in the river.
Kulturhuset – the Culture House
Every month a variety of contemporary cultural events are staged on all floors here day and night. There are photo exhibitions, activities for kids, concerts, literary discussions, films, debates and many different eating areas. It reminded me of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.
We had spinach soup with hard boiled egg, which may sound gross but actually went very well together.
The Jewish Museum (Judiska Museet)is found in the Vasastan area. We watched a film on the history of the Swedish Jews and their adaption to Swedish society. There was a display of jewish artifacts and an exhibition chronicling the lives of two people from a family over the generations.
We were treated to my usual Friday night casserole made from my recipe, which I couldn’t fault, and a scrumptious apple and cinnamon cake which Emma and Freya had baked while we were out.
Saturday: A lazy day; we walked to the Farsta Centrum and started off to the animal sanctuary but rain put a stop to it.
Our wonderful holiday came to an end much too soon; at least for us although I can’t speak for Ben and Emma. Not only were we able to spend quality time with the family, but were treated to fantastic home-cooked dinners and taken to visit some really interesting places.
Readers of my blog may wonder why other tourist attractions such as a boat trip in the archipelago were not included in our itinerary. The reason for this is that it was not our first visit to the area and we have already ticked some boxes.
This is just a taste of our holiday; our memories are too numerous to recount.
Tack för en underbar semester; fantastisk!