November 22am, 2008 - Stockholm - Skansen

Our first morning in Sweden!

We wake up to a beautiful snow on the ground - and it will continue to snow all day.

Being Saturday, the city stays in bed a little longer, but we get out in it - and are excited to be in the snow!

Across from our hotel is their Centralstation (all one word, in true Germanic style). This is where we git off the train from the airport - and where our journey beings today (starting off with breakfast at a very Euro cafe in the station).

We take a subway across town to the ferry taking us to the island of Djurgarden.
Stockholm is comprised of numerous islands of all sizes.

Once there, we walk to Skansen, Sweden's version of Colonial Williamsburg (or Tifton's Agrirama).

All manors of buildings have been lovingly relocated here from across Sweden (and a few have been constructed here using traditional means).

Skansen is on a hill overlooking the city. It is colder, snowier, and since it is not tourist season in the least, it is not crowded at all.

The Rose Garden, still showing signs of life.

I thought this was a beautiful Boroque cathedral.

This is the Vasa Museum. We'll go there later, but check out the masts sprouting from its roofline.

Some of Skansen's cottages aren't in as good a shape as others, but that makes it quaint.

Oh yeah, my favorite - a one-room home stands in contrast to the striking hilltop belfry.

Overlooking Stockholm's snow-covered roofline.

The back side of Skansen is a zoo of sorts.
A couple of dozen animals indigenous to Scandinavia enjoy what they probably consider autumn.
Two male reindeer (not called caribou here) spar.

Jane (the doe, get it?) seems unimpressed.

While the animals have their furs on, Jill and I make due with our ski coats and gaiters.

I love meeses.

They have snowy owls, too, but they're shy. This great gray owl is less bashful and flew around the aviary when was in there. You get a true sense of their powerful wings when you see owls fly. They have to have strong wings to pick up animals, fairly large in relation to their size.

Redd Foxx says "I'm comin to see ya, 'Lizabeth."


(said in your best Patrick Swayze voice) (Red Dawn. Cheesey 80's movie where the Russians invade the US and a brave band of teenagers is the only hope in the free world. Totally plausible, but all guys my age love that movie.)

Grey wolves.
(I've loved these creatures so long that as recently as college knew how to spell the wolf, but didn't know for sure how to spell the color. Seriously.)

Uh, OK.

Cool house!
Love the Christmas trees.

Now these are some f-ing cold geese.

One takes a shining to Jill and follows her into the snow.
So strange seeing geese in snow, but their large footsize and light bodies help them basically float on top of it.

I was surprised to see no cloth. I wonder if the cloth would hold moisture, then freeze and make it not work (or tear the cloth). No one around to ask...

Jill rides a traditional Dala horse.
Delacarian horses (a.k.a. Dala horses) are a traditional Swedish children's toy, dating back to when woodworkers would whittle toys for their kids late at night.

I have to ride the bigger one, which is higher than it looks considering the 6" of snow on the ground that - not being a goose - I sink in, making the horse that much taller.

We'd heard not-so-good things about Skansen. Going in with low expectations, adding in the snow, and taking away the crowds, we actually enjoyed it.

Later today: the Vasa Museum