Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunsets and Skogskyrkogarden

Yesterday was spent in almost full motion. I had a plan to visit Skogskyrkogarden, the Woodland Cemetery I had heard my son talk about. He had visited it on All Saints Day, which is a big deal here in Sweden. People come to the cemeteries and light candles and it is such a sight to see. For pictures depicting this ritual, visit here:

All Saints Day in Sweden

When I came home, I had lunch at an Espresso House nearby and then went back to the apartment to rest my knees. But shortly after, I saw that the sunset was beginning so I hurried down the street towards the water to see if I could get a few good shots.

 

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I had taken a virtual walk of this route on googlemaps street view when I knew I was coming to Stockholm. It looked a pretty far walk for me but it wasn’t bad at all. Just about 4-5 long city blocks and then there is the walking bridge to Gamla stan that you see above.

 

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And the incredible sights.

 

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This one may be my favorite. I took it from the little bridge.

 

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Although I also like this one.

 

Earlier in the day, I took the subway/train south to see the Woodland Cemetery, Skogskyrkogarden. The entrance sign says "this World Heritage Site is a site of such cultural or natural value as to be irreplaceable to mankind. It is a unique testimony to the history of the earth and man".

 

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The cemetery is expansive and I walked as much as I could. It is always open, and extremely well-tended. The visitor’s center is only open on weekends. It is also a very big tourist attraction. But yesterday it was quiet.

 

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I have never seen a place such as this.

 

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When Skogskyrkogården was founded at the beginning of the 1900s, the aim was to create something special, something original - a cemetery blending nature and architecture into a seamless whole.

Today, Skogskyrkogården is considered one of the most important creations of modern architecture, and is even inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

~ from the Skogskyrkogården webpage

 

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This is such a peaceful place.

 

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Many of the trees have birdhouses such as this.

 

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And Greta Garbo is buried here.

 

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I wanted to walk up this hill but I had already done much walking. Today I am sorry that I didn’t attempt it because it would have made such a good view from above.

 

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And then I took my train back into the city. I am getting a little more comfortable with the subways although they still confuse me. Today my plan is to take the blue line system which is where I hear they have all the artwork on the walls. But it’s nearly 11 am and I am still in my pajamas. By 2, it will begin to get dark and by 3, the sun will be down. So I guess I’d better get moving then . . .

I love it here.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Sunday in Stockholm

I am writing this on Monday at 1:30 PM from Stockholm Sweden. It’s a cloudy/rainy day and it has already begun to get dark. I’m on my own today, as my son is working. I’ve been out and about several times and came home for lunch and to make a cup of tea before I head out again. I’m trying not to overdo it on my knees and so far am doing ok.

I took these photos yesterday to share with you.

 

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I headed out early for coffee.  There is an extremely complicated coffee maker in the apartment and I have read the instructions and have no desire to learn this course in the art of coffee making. I am sure there is a test at the end of the instruction booklet and I’m certain I will fail it miserably. It’s easier to put on my shoes and coat and head down the street to the Espresso Bar. Unfortunately, the coffee shop doesn’t open until 9 on weekends.

 

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I was the first customer. I had read before I came to Stockholm that the Swedes are . . .

 

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I foolishly ordered a large regular coffee and didn’t realize until after I had drunk the delicious concoction how potent it was. I spent an hour chattering to my son and cleaned the surface of everything I could find in the apartment.

(Today I was smarter and only ordered a small.)

After the coffee incident, we hopped on the subway, a block away, and headed to the Sodermalm area which is just south of Gamla stan. I wanted to see Joyce Tenneson’s photographic exhibit at Fotografiska and this was the last day her “Light Warriors” would be on display.

 

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The gallery is along the water and if you look to the right, there is a set of crazy high stairs that we ended up taking afterward. We wanted to walk around in the neighborhood up there.

The stairs weren’t bad at all, really. Going up stairs is easy. Going down is hateful on my knees. We went down another way (thank heavens).

 

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These are two pieces from the Light Warriors display, which was absolutely luminous.

 

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And these are the “killer stairs” that we took to get up the hill.

 

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Being up there was totally worth the effort because we could now see Gamla stan quite well and the clouds were beginning to break and the sun began peeking through.

 

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A group of young musicians was setting up as we walked by.

 

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And the light was perfect to get a few shots of Gamla stan.

 

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Pretty colored buildings in Djurgarden.

 

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And Grona lund, an amusement park.

 

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We walked the streets after climbing even more stairs and headed to a fantastic Mexican restaurant for lunch.

 

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And then we walked the streets a bit more before getting back on the subway to head ‘home’. I just noticed that my son is in this shot. He is directly in the center and his back is to me.

 

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I love that so many of the restaurants have decorated their entry ways with wire cages filled with candles. I’m not sure if they do this all winter or if it’s just for the Christmas season which is in full swing here. But it’s very cool.

 

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And the subway trains are spacious and exceptionally clean.

 

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There is an H&M on almost every corner. I exaggerate only a little. This one is outside of the subway station near the apartment and there is another on the next block. A young musician is singing a Bob Dylan tune as two little girls dance to his music. It was absolutely adorable and everyone in the crowd was smiling at their antics.

I love it here.

More to come tomorrow ~

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Greetings from Stockholm, Sweden

It is early morning as I write, and the streets of the city are quiet. I arrived yesterday very early and my son met me at the train – a 20 minute ride on the train from Arlanda Airport. On the advice of many, in order to avoid jetlag, I took a 2-hour nap and woke up wanting to sleep the day away. But I forced myself awake and the reward was great.

We went to the Gamla stan, one of the largest and most well-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. To say it is beautiful, is an understatement – and since a picture is worth a thousand words . . .

 

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The Christmas market has been set up.

 

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A café where we had cappuccino and a treat.

 

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View from our table.

 

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The cappuccino was delicious and the cake was extraordinary. It was infused with coconut and had a crusty and sweet topping.

 

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I will have more tomorrow ~ am off to the market which is below ground. The apartment where my son is staying these months is right in the center of everything and it is quite nice. The floors in the bathroom and the foyer are heated.

I am in love with this place already and am so glad I am here ~

Until tomorrow, then . . .

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

New beginnings

It’s early afternoon on a cloudy Sunday in Maryland as I write this. My knee feels much better but is still not good and I want to thank everyone for the advice on the cortisone shot. I leave late this week for Stockholm and I really want to be able to walk around just a bit.

I took these photos early this morning while I was sitting outside having my coffee and tossing a stick to George. I haven’t been able to walk him lately and stick is the next best thing, I guess.

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My playlist, as I write this post:

We Never Change – Coldplay

Northern Wind – City and Colour

Wonderlust – The Night VI

Clair de Lune – Lauren Sullivan

St. Patrick’s Day – John Mayer

Lost Stars – Keira Knightley

I love music. And yes, that last one is actually sung by Keira Knightley, the actress. If you haven’t seen Begin Again yet, I recommend you do. I have this thing for Mark Ruffalo and when I saw he was starring in it, and then read that it was about music, I checked out the trailer and promptly went to my local Red Box. Really loved it.

 

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I was surprised to get so many comments regarding an offhand comment I made about my blog having run its course. I am not going to quit writing, ok? I was just saying that I could feel myself pulling back from it all. But it’s good to write. It makes me feel more connected, I guess. And I have a lot of friends and family who keep up with me this way. Which is why I can’t talk about them all and tell you what bitches some of them are.

 

Gotcha there, didn’t I? You know I am totally kidding on that one, don’t you? I don’t think I have any friends or family who are bitches, come to think of it . . .

 

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I think she hears a wee mousy.

We have had two tiny little ones in the house this fall.

Ugh.

 

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Yesterday morning, I sat in the sunshine while I had my coffee. What a difference a day makes. This morning’s clouds were beautiful, though.

 

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I have always loved bare branches against an interesting sky.

You can tell it’s November.

 

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Bare branches reflected in the storm door.

 

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I have been meaning to paint this door since we moved here and I finally did last month. My husband was against it for some unfathomable reason. I painted it basically the same color that it might have been before it was completely faded to a near pink color and I polished the brass knocker too. I know the wreath is too small but I don’t care.

Here’s the trailer to Begin Again.

 

 

Oh, and I have every intention of blogging from Sweden, so keep posted.

Until then ~

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