Stockholm is also pretty

Stockholm was the last place we visited on our Scandinavian journey. It was a good almost-three-week trip. It spanned the summer solstice, so there was plenty of sunlight. Just look at the color of the sky in these photos – it’s amazing.

a city building
There’s a lot of water in Stockholm, as you’d imagine. Which means bridges everywhere.

 

b government and church
This is, I think, the parliament building. The steeple on the church in the background is great – an open steel structure. I like that as a way to make the top of a building interesting. I’m keeping it in mind for the palace I will someday build.

 

c german church
This is where the minister stands to deliver the sermon in the German church. It’s not too shabby. (Stockholm was a big trading town back in the day – and each culture had its own church – there’s at least a German Church and a Finnish Church in addition to the Stockholm Cathedral.)

 

d gamla stan street
When you build on an island with no cars, you build narrow streets and tall buildings. (This is on Gamla Stan, which is the original island of Stockholm. It’s mostly given over to tourists now.)

 

e gamla stan street
This is an actual, named street on Gamla Stan.

 

f a boy and his horse
A random statue of a boy and his horse. My palace is also going to have a large garden with lots of random statues.

 

g dragon slaying
Dragon slaying!

 

h dragon slaying
More dragon slaying! It’s the same statue, just different size and colors (obviously). This one is in the Stockholm Medieval Museum – which is both free and super-fascinating.

 

i smallest statue
The smallest statue in Stockholm. Those are normal sized coins. Someone knits hats for it; we were told that it changes about once a week. It’s in the park next to the Finnish church.

 

j artemis or athena
I am 90% sure this is a statue of Artemis. But maybe it’s Athena? There’s a small two-room museum off the Royal Palace full of ancient Roman sculpture. (My ancient-loving heart was warmed.)

 

k frederick
One of the King Friderics of Sweden. Sweden had more money than Denmark, and thus Stockholm in general is fancier than Copenhagen was. I think this is the Frederick that turned Sweden into that fancier place, with building initiatives and the like.

 

l fire
This is the little symbol over the door that you put up once you paid your dues to the firemen. They’d only put out fires at the houses of the people with the symbol. You’d be surprised at how few there were.

 

m doors
My royal palace is totally going to have a door that looks like this.

 

n town hall
Stockholm City Hall. This is where they give out the Nobel prizes every year.

 

o statue
An adorable little lion statue outside City Hall. It could be a nice addition to my palace gardens.

 

p park
Woo-hoo! This is the oldest park in Stockholm, and, in fact, a number of workers brought their lunches here to escape the dreary offices they work in. The buildings across the canal are hotels and department stores. Pretty fancy for a department store. Maybe I should build one of those instead of a palace….

I’m making plans for my own palace now…

We initially decided to tour the Swedish Royal Palace because it was hot outside and the stone buildings were nice and cool. But the palace? is also very elegant.

grand banquet hall
There was a royal wedding in mid-June (this was taken on maybe 1 July?). This hall was where they had the wedding dinner. It was HUGE.

 

hall of mirrors
If this room reminds you of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, well, it’s supposed to. They borrowed the design from the French.

 

chest
A trunk from somewhere in the palace. The detail is amazing.

 

detail
I’ve forgotten exactly where this detail was – over a door? Carved on a wall? Think about living somewhere with this kind of detail – I’d simultaneously love being surrounded by the beauty and be terrified I was going to somehow break it all.

 

e sitting room 2
A sitting room.

 

f sitting room
Another sitting room, but in this one I can imagine Lizzie Bennett and Caroline Bingley taking a turn around the room while Darcy covertly watches them, pretending to write letters.

 

g statue
When I own my palace, I’m going to put artwork in the front hall for everyone to admire.

 

staircase
And this will be the staircase they have to walk up to get to the living area.

 

table
This is an incredibly whimsical table layout. If you think it’s a flower, it’s porcelain. All of it. It’s both lovely and funny. And it was all for sale, too.

 

throne
Your throne, milady.

 

The palace turned out to be a surprisingly fun detour. I’d recommend it if you’re ever in Stockholm.

A day in Bergen, Norway

Bergen is a lovely town of about 200,000 people on the coast of Norway. It’s the second biggest city (after Oslo), and we had a great time exploring it.

Funicular

funicular
There’s a funicular that takes you to the top of the surrounding hills. There are tons of hiking trails across these hills – we saw at least two big groups of people with packs on getting ready for a multi-day hike. There’s also a restaurant and gift shop at the top. So you can go up for an hour or two as well.

 

troll
There’s also a troll garden at the top of the funicular, hidden in the forest. This hipster troll is the one who greets you at the entrance. (You can see other trolls in the background.)

 

troll
Sometimes, the trolls are hiding. (This one feels very Wallace & Gromit-y to me. I think it’s the hands.)


Hanseatic League
Remember your history lessons, where you learned that the Black Plague killed 1/3 of the European population? Well, the disease had a 50% fatality rate in Norway and 80% in Bergen. That’s right, after the Black Plague came through, only 20% of Bergen was left standing. That’s when the Hanseatic League came in to take over the business side of things.

d stockfish
This is a dried stockfish. I was told they keep forever, and to eat them, you just need to soak it in water for 24 hours. This is what the Hansa were trading.

 

e teapot
We took a tour of the Hanseatic Museum – this is one of the teapots.

 

f hansa buildings
This is a view across the harbor to the Hansa buildings. We were grabbing lunch and plotting out our afternoon. Note that the outdoor seating in Norwegian restaurants comes with blankets.


City Center

Bergen isn’t big, but we did leave the harbor for a bit to walk around the city center. There’s a nice pedestrian shopping district (I bought a sweater from Moods of Norway) and some lovely buildings from the 1800s-ish.

g grieg
A statue of Edward Grieg. He’s from Bergen and they’re very proud of him. If we’d had another day, we’d’ve gone to his house (it’s a museum now).

 

h gazebo
A gazebo in a park. I don’t remember much about it, except for the fact that I thought it was pretty.

 

i statue
This isn’t anyone in particular, just a violinist looking very intense. His intensity is mitigated by the tranquil sounds of the water.

 

j boulevard
Just beyond the previous statue, there’s a lovely boulevard leading to some governmental building. 

Old Town
Then it was time to head back. We went back through the old part of the town, exploring some of the twistier streets.

k husband daughter
My husband and daughter walking down one of the wider old twisty streets.

 

l manhole cover
My feet and shopping bag along with an interesting manhole cover.

 

m hansa buildings
More old Hansa buildings. Fun fact: because the Norwegians always built with wood, they had a fire problem. After a big fire, they’d dump all the burnt wood into the harbor and then build the new houses on the landfill. Then the landfill would settle. These might have been built straight, but they aren’t anymore.

 

n stag
Doesn’t every building need a golden stag head?

 

o alley
An alleyway between some of those buildings. Right angles, schmight angles.

 

p ladder
After you go down the alleyway, it opens up into a little courtyard full of cafes and giftshops. I imagine that ladder was important back in the day before this was the tourist section of town. Was that the front door?

 

q cafe
I didn’t manage to get any good photos of Rosenkrantz Tower or Hakonshall – the two big medieval buildings in Bergen. But they did have this lovely little minimalist cafe where I had a cup of tea and my daughter had a frozen snickers bar. (Ice cream is HUGE in Norway. HUGE. It felt a little like being back in Wisconsin – where I grew up – but with more ice cream shops.)

If you’re spending time in Scandinavia, I’d definitely recommend a day or two in Bergen if you can fit it in.

Antiquities in Copenhagen

We visited the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum founded by a Carlsberg of the brewing family, while we were in Copenhagen. I wanted to go because it has a famous bust of Pompey; it turned out that we showed up on free admission day. Yay! (We splurged and ate lunch at the museum, an always expensive proposition. It compensated for not paying admission.)

It’s got a good collection of antiquities. I’m always (of course) most interested in anything Ancient Rome, but there was also a handful of artwork from the 1800s. It’s a lovely museum, worth a few hours of your time.

Atrium

You enter the museum (after you buy your ticket) through a central atrium. It was a bright day in Copenhagen, this room was not air conditioned. (It’s clearly not normally that sunny; it was hot.)

gaia
The central statue in the atrium. It’s both impressive and disturbing. I can’t image that many babies needing my attention all at once.

 

hippo
I enjoy this little hippo statue hidden amongst the foliage. It’s cute.

 

Non-bust antiquities

There are a lot of heads on pillars (aka busts) in the Glyptotek. LOTS. These are a few antiquities that aren’t busts.

God of the Dead
I’m pretty sure this is Anubis – the Egyptian god of the dead. But don’t quote me on that.

 

hieroglyphics
Hieroglyphics that, I think, tell the story of an animal sacrifice. (I should really record what these photos are of when I take them.)

 

nerva
The Roman Emperor Nerva. He succeeded Domitian (who the Senate really, REALLY hated – he had a bad reputation for centuries) and was the first of the five Good Emperors.

 

Ancient Heads

busts
You turn the corner and look into this room and it’s, quite frankly, a little disturbing. I definitely did a double take.

 

pompey
Pompey the Great, sporting Alexander the Great’s hairstyle. (All the ancient generals wanted to be Alexander – to the point of copying the way he did his hair.) This one is famous.

 

augustus
Augustus, Ancient Rome’s very first emperor. He looks like an awkward, if determined, young man to me, here, with his ears sticking out.

 

Livia
Livia, Augustus’ wife. She was probably not as evil as Robert Graves’ I, Claudius wants you to think she was.

 

Septemius
Septemius Severus. He had a reputation of being a hard-ass, but he was also putting the empire back together after 100 years of mis-management. He needed to be a hard-ass.

Like I said earlier, there was also some art from the late 1800s, both French and Danish – lots of early Gaugin, actually – but this post is long enough as it is and the majority of the art in the Glyptotek is of the ancient variety. It’s a nice little collection.