April 28, 2019

Stockholm, revisited

by Steve W

After leaving Oslo at the end of November, we decided to make another visit to Stockholm, a city we had been to in the summer, to see what it was like in colder weather. And colder weather is what we found, although not quite as cold as Oslo. In the summer, there was daylight for about 20 hours a day, but at this time of year, the sun was only out for about 6-7 hours, so we had to make the most of it while we could.

It's as if they knew she was coming!

Snow plowed in the Kungsgaten.
In and around Kungsgaten, there was permanent and temporary artwork besides the usual statues of past kings.

One of several lighted reindeer near the harbor.

Oh no, they've killed Kenny!
Being both brave and crazy, we took a walk through the King's Park, a long stretch of public land along the archipelago and inland. Among the interesting sights was Rosendahl Palace which, like so many buildings in Europe, had been burned down and rebuilt.

On the grounds of the palace is the Porphyry Vase, carved from a single 140-ton piece of granite, taking 3,500 man days spread out over two years and moved into its location with the help of 100 men.

That night, we had a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner with friends Raila and Anders. What a feast it was! A buffet table (below) with at least 8 different types of herring, 4 types of salmon, as well as sliced sausages and cheeses. Then came the hot entrees, which included (no surprise) meatballs in gravy, followed by the dessert table. Needless to say, no one leaves these dinners hungry!

The next day, we walked around the harbor, which has many beautiful buildings lining its banks, including the Grand Hotel (traveler's note: Every major city has a "Grand Hotel", some grander than others) and the National Museum.

The main attraction of the day was going to the King's Palace to see the changing of the guard. In better weather, the guards are accompanied by a full band, but on this day only a sole drummer and bugler. I felt sorry for the bugler, as I was afraid that, in the very cold weather, her lips would freeze and stick to the mouthpiece. But she managed to play all the cadences without injury.

Afterwards, we wandered over to a nearby Christmas marketplace set up in one of the town squares.

As beautiful as it was in the summer, Stockholm was equally beautiful in the winter. But we were cold, and decided to head South.

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