Thursday, September 28, 2017


We've just come back from five days in Stockholm. Fortunately almost everyone in Sweden speaks amazing English. Our Swedish is, alas, practically non-existent, though it's easier to understand when it's written down than when it's spoken. For example, see the fine map above. Easy, eh?

And this makes it fairly clear what you want to spray on a fire, doesn't it?

Stockholm is very lovely (though horrifically expensive, argh) and we had a good time.

We went on a couple of boat trips with interesting commentary about Stockholm's past.

We visited the Vasa museum - greatly recommended. The Vasa is a huge warship which sank twenty minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628 with the loss of about thirty lives. Can you imagine how the boat builders must have felt, standing on the shore, watching it? There was a design fault which made it top heavy and it just toppled over when a wave hit it. Perhaps fortunately, the designer had died a couple of years before, so he was well out of trouble. The Vasa lay at the bottom of the Baltic, not far out from shore, till the 1960s, when it was located and raised and was then conserved for the next 17 years (and continuing). A vast museum has been built around it and it's amazing to walk round it and imagine the work that went into its building; and the worry, the panic, the misery, the guilt, the fear that must have surrounded its sinking.

It had brightly painted statues and other carvings - hundreds of them - most of which were also retrieved. A model has been built of it, its carvings painted with the carefully-researched original colours. It must have been quite a sight. Briefly.

Because holidays mean frantic activity for us - and also because we needed to get full value from our very expensive Stockholm Passes - we also visited various palaces and museums, such as the Royal Palace, which is very beautiful - they did themselves very well, the Swedish kings. Again, we found out quite a lot of Swedish history that I hadn't known, so it was very interesting. I hadn't realised that Sweden was such a huge power for a couple of centuries. Strangely enough, our school history lessons tended to dwell complacently on British successes - mainly English ones.

The current king's garden is impressive but I feel he needs more flowers. This photo isn't of him.

Yesterday we went to the Botanic Gardens, which are very different from Edinburgh's. In general I think ours are more lovely, but it has to be admitted that theirs has a better lake.

And the burning bush tree in the Japanese garden was stunning. I wonder if I could fit one into my little patch?

It was wonderful to get home, though (I HATE flying) and I can't wait to get my hands on our little castings-on, the grandchildren (or two of them anyway) tomorrow.


  1. Lovely photos, we've never been to Scandinavia and don't expect we ever will. But Scotland is still on my bucket list.

  2. I lived in Sweden for a while, in Smalland, it was marvellous. I sailed from Tilbury and landed in Stockholm. That was in 1970 and it was terrifically expensive even then.

  3. I keep hearing how terrifically expensive it is there...and we are off for a long weekend there soon! Any tips? how was your hotel? Those pictures are lovely and it does look beautiful.

  4. Ah, too bad. I was sure that was the king himself, he looks quite regal....

  5. We had some weeks in Europe a couple of months ago, and thought Prague expensive, and Amsterdam only marginally less so, but loved them both. For us, from New Zealand, the Pound and Euro aren't as bad as they once were. We were over there in 1979 when it was NZ$4 to the £1 !!! We were impoverished young academics and it was really tough... now it's less than half of that. So we just thank our lucky stars! Of course it means we could buy an extra toy or two for "you-know-who"!! We found THE most Amazing Hamleys in the middle of Prague, of all places! Brio train accessories filled our suitcases! Lovely memories.

  6. We loved Stockholm too. I'd have appreciated the Vasa museum more if I hadn't been freezing cold in there!
    We decided that the New York Botanical gardens weren't a patch on Kew but did boast some ancient forest and the Chihuly glass exhibition.

  7. I would love to go to Scandinavia, but I've heard it's terribly expensive. That burning bush is gorgeous and you certainly fit a lot into the trip! I bet you're exhausted. xoxo

  8. I just got back from Amsterdam and its Pass! Thoroughly recommend the Amsterdam Museum. Discovered the Dutch too were a force to be reckoned with. Sweden looks wonderful. My journey home was a bit longer than yours, lol, made even longer as we didn't have enough fuel to reach Philly so had to spend two hours at JFK filling up!

  9. I was in Stockholm about 12 years ago (THAT long? REALLY?) and I LOVED the city! I do remember the Vasa museum... and some of my group went walk-about and had lunch at the Opera House outdoor cafe (I think?) I wish I had gone to the Art museum, because I really love Carl Larsen's works. Instead, we found a little shop that sold some of his prints as cork-backed place mats. I bought several, thinking I could ask the shop to ship them home for me... No, they don't do that. I lugged those mats through 3 more cities as my trip continued! But I still have them!

  10. Ooooh, I would definitely love to go to Stockholm -- it sounds like you had a wonderful trip. And I agree -- the garden definitely needs more flowers LOL.