Turns out, snow is cold

Stockholm Travel Blog

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This morning it was very tough to get out of my so comfortable bed after only a few hours sleep, but the promise of breakfast helped. I love wrapping up in my coat and green scarf to walk between hotel buildings for a couple of minutes, I wonder though if the novelty wears off?

I saw a few sites of Stockholm during the day. First the Milles Garden, the home of the famous sculptor Carl Milles. He built the studio on Lindingö in 1906, which was opened to the public in 1938. The place was amazing, a series of terraces and gardens, designed to overlook the Baltic Sea, with scattered sculptures and fountains in a wonderful harmony. The sculptures all looked so light and perfectly in place, and the light flutter of snow was adding to the blanket covering them. It was a really delightful place. My favourites were The Dancing Girls and The Hand of God. There were more displays inside, including his collection of Roman, Greek, Chinese and Egyptian sculptures, which he used as inspiration for his own sculptures. It was the largest private collection of Roman statues in the world, and it is staggering to think that he took the lot with him every year when he travelled to the US. His living quarters were also kept, which was interesting to see, especially the special porcelain chimneys, invented in Sweden to get the most heat from the wood being burnt (the chimney contains loops to force the hot air up and down so that it can transfer all its heat to the house before being expelled).

Next the Vasa museum. The Vasa museum is devoted to the man-of-war Vasa. Vasa was built in 1628, the largest, most powerful battleship of its time. During the construction, the king requested an additional level to be added, such that the finished ship was 69m long and 52.5m tall, with a crew of 450 men. It was loaded up with 64 canons and many riches, and sent out to fight, but tipped over in the first wind while still in the harbour Stockholm. As the Baltic Sea is brackish water, shipworms, Teredo navalis, cannot live there, and thus the ship was perfectly preserved under the water until it was found and raised in 1961. They have now built a museum around this monster ship, which is staggeringly large, and so impressive for something built nearly 400 years ago. The loss of the Vasa was such a disaster that there was a massive inquiry into the affair. The that ships were made of oaks, and the king dictated that all oaks in Sweden were his (which was only changed a couple of years ago – it is still illegal to cut down an oak tree, even if you own it). They had a long-term oak planting scheme, where each oak was planted surround by four quick-growing trees, so that the sunlight came from directly above and the oak grew straight.

I visited Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde, an art museum which was Prince Eugen’s home in the early 1900s. Prince Eugen was an artist (considered to be one of the best landscape artists of his generation) and an art collector, and when he died in 1947 his home was converted into an art museum, but also conserved as his home the way he lived. It was like walking around a miniature Hermitage, getting to see how the Prince lived, how he decorated his rooms, it was quite enjoyable. The walk to Waldemarsudde was excellent too - biting cold, but the pink sky gave the snow covered park such a warm glow.

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photo by: Chokk