A Postcard from Stockholm (Part 2 – The Museums)

Hello again! As promised, here is part 2 of my Postcard from Stockholm…

As I mentioned in the first part of my Postcard from Stockholm last week, we visited a few museums and tourist sites while we were visiting the beautiful capital city of Sweden. Our first museum visit was to the ABBA Museum in Djurgårdsvägen. It’s an amazing place, which charts the lives of the four band members from their childhoods, to their first meetings and the relationships which developed.

Their Eurovision Song Contest winning medal was on display with many pieces of memorabilia from their time at the top of the charts. There were mock ups of recording studios they used…

…and even their costume making department, which I particularly enjoyed being a dressmaking student myself.

Many of their stage costumes were there for you to admire up close too…

I couldn’t get over how slim they all were!

The work which must have gone into their costumes was incredible.

They even had the Spitting Image puppets which featured in this video

The museum was such fun, there were Karaoke booths for you to sing along, mixing desks for you to have a go at recreating the ‘ABBA sound’, a stage where you could dance and sing along with holograms of the band and I even got to sit in a helicopter just like the one which featured on the album cover ‘Arrival’.

I had a whale of a time and on a couple of occasions was disowned by my teenaged travelling companion. But it would have been rude not to have completely got involved in everything – don’t you think?!

I would highly recommend a visit to any ABBA fan, whether you remember the music the first time round or whether only came to know them recently through the Mama Mia films. ABBA, thank you for the music!

Nordiska Museet

The imposing building of the Nordiska Museet is just one tram stop along from the ABBA Museum in Djurgårdsvägen. Initially built to house exhibits from all the Nordic countries, it now only houses items from Sweden.

Inside it was equally beautiful…

And this rather portly regal gentleman welcomed us in…

King Gustav Vasa

The museum itself is dedicated to the cultural history of Sweden as well as its ethnography. Our first port of call was the exhibition detailing how Swedish homes have evolved over the years beginning with a typical farmer’s dwelling, which would have been shared with workers and livestock – especially in the cold winter months.

Right through to a 1960s style government built apartment, then a modern home decked out for a mid-summer celebration.

There was also an extensive collection of Swedish furniture over the years.

The exhibits which resonated with me most of all were the ones featuring arts and crafts. From the beautifully decorated clothes worn by the native Sami people..

To the folk art and traditional dowry gifts made ahead of weddings.

The embroidery was just beautiful…

Sweden is famous for its woven fabrics and literally thousands of examples of weaving were on display.

There was even a woven pictorial bible…

One exhibition which was right up my street was one dedicated to women’s fashion in the 1950s & 1960s and particularly home sewing.

Oh, to have a nipped-in waist to be able to carry one of those dresses off!!

City Hall (Stadshuset)

Another interesting place we visited while on our Stockholm adventure was the City Hall (pictured below in the view from our hotel room) on the island of Kungsholmen.

This beautiful red brick building is less than 100 years old and was built as a home for the local city council.

As it’s a functioning building and home to the City Council of Stockholm known as Stadshuset, tourists aren’t allowed to wander around at will. We signed up for one of the English speaking tours and were taken around by a lovely guide called Christopher.

The Blue Hall (above) was originally going to be plastered and painted blue but we were told that the architect liked the look of the traditional red bricks so left it like that – but the name stayed! Christopher led us up from the ‘Blue Hall’ and along a corridor which offered views to the internal courtyard below.

We were led into the council chambers which are used on a regular basis for political meetings and debates which can be viewed by the public from the public gallery (see auditorium at the rear of the chamber in photo below).

The ceiling in the chamber was beautiful. It was made to resemble the open roof of a traditional Viking longhouse.

As was the ceiling in one of the stairwells…

Above this ceiling stands the tower which has on its summit the three golden crowns, the crest of Stockholm. Our tour guide told us that as the tower was being built, a civic building in Copenhagen was also being built at the same time. As the Danish tower was taller than this one, the plans were altered to extend the original tower height, so that this one would stand 1 metre taller!

On from the stair well and into this beautiful hall, known as the Princes’ Gallery…

….where the walls were covered by murals painted by royalty – Prince Eugen.

Our next room was a true show stopper- the Golden Hall…

At the far end, the image shows the Queen of Lake Mälaren who sits on a throne and has the city of Stockholm on her lap. To her left is the western world, complete with the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London among other images of the ‘West’.

And to her right lie images of the East including an elephant, tiger and camel.

Stockholm’s industry and important Swedish historical figures as well as other significant chapters in the city’s past were depicted in the stunning mosaics.

It’s an absolutely mind blowing place – and to think all this mosaic work was completed in just 2 years!

We left the Golden Hall to return to the Blue Hall again, where we learned about its role in important celebrations. It is here where Nobel Prize winners are entertained with a banquet after the prize giving ceremony.

And those stairs down below were specially designed to assist the prize winners and other dignitaries (especially the ladies in their long dresses and high heels) navigate the stairs on their way down to the banquet while all eyes are upon them.

The stairs are apparently shallower in depth but are longer in length than ‘normal’ stairs to allow for a graceful descent and a special star (below) carved in the wall ahead is the point at which you should look to prevent you from falling or from looking down so the press photographers can get a decent photo of you!

Our tour was finished as we left the Blue Hall and said our thanks and goodbyes to Christopher, then we went outside to cross the courtyard and see the gardens and waterfront on the other side of the Stadshuset.

It was rather nippy outside for us Southern softies from the Med! We don’t see ice on the water where live!

Our trip to Stockholm was truly lovely, and if you ever get the chance to visit it for yourself, I’d highly recommend it. We were made to feel so welcome, and we hope one day, that we will be able to return.

A postcard from Stockholm (Part 1)

Recently I went on an adventure to Stockholm. It was a short city break but we packed a lot in!

I was traveling with Eldest, a Mum and son adventure. Our first taste of Sweden was at Stockholm Arlanda airport. The quietest, and most pleasant airport I’ve ever visited. People spoke in hushed tones – even the children in the play area sat quietly reading!

There was seating for so many people… no need to sit on the floor here! How civilized!

There was no problem finding out where to go to get the train into the City Centre! What a stunning station…

And here comes the train…

Our first impression of Sweden was incredibly positive….

…if a little bit colder than what we had left behind at home!

The view from our hotel room (above) was amazing – look at the frozen waterways below! The building with the golden tipped tower is Stockholm City Hall – where the Nobel Prize celebrations take place. There will be more on that later on…

On our first evening we headed out for a stroll to get our bearings. It was really rather chilly, but incredibly beautiful.

This building (above & below) belongs to the Swedish parliament.

And this square looked like something out of Bladerunner when it was lit up at night!

Back at our hotel our view came alive at night.

On the first full day of our trip we headed by tram through the City Centre to get to somewhere I just had to visit…

….the ABBA Museum!!

It was amazing and told the story of all four band members from their childhoods to their 1974 win at the Eurovision Song Contest and beyond…

I will be writing another post about all the museums and buildings we visited because there is too much to put into just one post!

Suffice to say, it was magnificent and a must-visit for any fan of ABBA!

Lunch had to be at Starbucks – I was traveling with a fan of the place and as we don’t have one in Gibraltar it’s a novelty. We did have a taste of Sweden though – this Cardamom Bolle was utterly delicious.

Talking of edibles. We had no end of giggles at the name of the chocolate (which is very nice by the way!)

I couldn’t visit a new country without going into a crafty shop could I? I was very restrained though and only bought one ball of yarn… but I could’ve got so much more if I had a bigger case!

Late afternoon/early evening we headed out to a dinner date which had been planned for us by Mr Postcard in advance. I think he wanted to make sure we tried some proper Swedish food, so he booked us a table at an award winning restaurant.

The atmosphere was cozy and welcoming, and the food very interesting…

We had crispy pork rinds with smoked mayo & dill flower as an appetizer. Then pork & chicken skewers, with baked cabbage with buttermilk & lovage. And for dessert, Petrus Bun bread pudding with Swedish punsch crème. The flavor combinations were completely new to me but very tasty.

Then it was back on the train to the hotel for the night…

On day 2 we crossed over from our hotel to visit the City Hall.

It’s a magestic building and only around 100 years old. This amazing golden hall took just 2 years to complete the mosaics! It was stunning to see.

It’s also the home of the Stockholm City Council….

… the council chamber has the most amazing ceiling.

After the City Hall, we took a tram to visit the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum).

Another imposing building…

With a rather regal gentleman to greet you as you enter!

It documented all kinds of Swedish life, from homes & furniture to celebrations and death. More will follow in part 2 of my Stockholm postcard.

On our wanderings we passed the Royal Palace (above) and had a mooch around the old town on the island of Gamla Stan…

…which is charming and full of character.

As night began to fall, we headed back out again in search of something we couldn’t come to Sweden without tasting….

….meatballs!

They were a bit special! And washed down perfectly with some Swedish beer! And that lovely meal brought our fabulous few days in Stockholm to an end, this was our last sunrise before heading back to the airport and flying home.

Thank you Stockholm for having us to stay and making us feel so welcome, we had a wonderful time and hope to return one day!

Remember that chocolate with the funny name? Well being the mature individual that I am, I had lots of fun with some other words I spotted on my travels…. (I will never truly grow up!).

Next week, I will share more about the museums we visited and the City Hall. Look out for part 2!

2019 Friday photo challenge (week 10) Vintage

I’m a day late with this, but it was rather appropriate that yesterday’s photo challenge was ‘vintage’ because yesterday we celebrated my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary. 50 years is a heck of a milestone. This photo is of the cover of their wedding album, which at 50 years old qualifies as vintage I think.

And here’s a picture from my recent trip to Stockholm. We spotted this fab vintage shop while on our way out to dinner one evening.

This Friday photo challenge is being organized by Alison in Andalucia

Sunday Sevens #176 24.2.19

So, this week has been a tad exciting. I didn’t mention it last week but when I pressed publish on last week’s Sunday Sevens it was courtesy of the free WiFi on the plane I was on at 35,000 feet! Last Sunday I went to Sweden with Eldest on a super adventure….

Off we go

Last Sunday, we got up super early and drove to Malaga to catch a flight to Stockholm. Eldest has wanted to go for ages and this trip was a very special belated birthday present for him. We left Mr Postcard at home with the two youngest and ran away!

Obligatory sunset photo!

This was sunset over Stockholm last Sunday. The tower in the distance belongs to the City Hall, which is where the post-Nobel prize giving ceremony celebrations take place; a banquet and a ball are hosted there. Our hotel was very close to the Hall. The weather was a lot colder than what we left at home!

When in Rome… err Stockholm

You can’t go to Stockholm and not visit the ABBA museum can you?! It was fab, a trip down memory lane, with lots of wonderful ABBA tunes playing.

All that glitters

How’s that for bling? This is the Gold Hall inside the Stockholm City Hall. It’s a mind blowing place to visit. Completely covered in mosaic tiles – this room took just 2 years to complete!

Textiles & Swedish folk art

For some reason we saw an awful lot of crafts when we were visiting Stockholm, from dressmaking to hand made household items. I haven’t had the time lately to do much craft (aside from my regular sewing and painting class) and I’ve really missed it. I think this trip has given me the inspiration to get back to it.

Our last Swedish sunrise

Our trip was wonderful, we loved it so much and have already looked at ways to return to Sweden with the rest of the Postcard family. This photo was taken on Wednesday, our final morning, just before dashing off to the airport to catch our flight home. Thank you Stockholm! ( A post about our trip will follow as soon as I get the chance!)

We have a kitchen again!!

It’s not finished completely yet, but I’m thrilled that we have a fully functioning kitchen again after a month without one. Our first proper dinner (roast beef & Yorkshire puddings) are in the oven now – I can’t wait!

The last few days have been a little uninspiring for photos after our 3 nights in Sweden, so Sunday Sevens is a bit Sweden-heavy this week. I have a feeling next week will feel a little mundane after all our excitement, but at least we have a kitchen to cook in! Whatever you’re up to this week, I hope it’s a good one for you.

As always I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.