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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sweden – 10-11 May 2008

The weekend following the concert had gorgeous weather with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-70s F/23 C. One of the things we most wanted to do with my folks was take a ferry trip out in the archipelago. The archipelago surrounding Stockholm is extraordinary, with small islands and big ones, most with summer homes built on them, even the smallest ones.

Saturday we decided to take the ferry to Vaxholm, the “capitol” of the archipelago, and not too long a trip—about an hour or so by one of the older steamboats. We made probably 6 or so stops along the way and they are efficient—most stops to drop off passengers and pick up a few more took just a couple minutes.

Vaxholm:



Vaxholm itself is a lovely, small town with a fortress on the island just next door, established in 1558. We first had a relaxed lunch, sitting outside but under cover from the sun (which was quite warm), then wandered around the town a bit before heading back via a much faster boat with fewer stops.

The fortress seen from Vaxholm:



Sunday we took the bus out on Djurgården to Waldermarsudde, which was the home of Prince Eugen (1865-1947). The prince was a very talented artist and the house reflected his interests and considerable taste. Built in 1903-04, it has gorgeous views, three floors (the top floor being his studio, designed to bring in maximum light year-round. His own paintings, paintings of friends in his circle, and furniture from all periods fill the house. He donated it and most of his collection to the Swedish state and it has been maintained as a museum (he also added a gallery building next to his home in 1913 to contain his growing collection), the first two floors of the house mostly as he left them, the other two floors and the gallery with whatever exhibit is current.

Again, the weather was beautiful, the tulips (of which there were many) around the house in full bloom, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. This was my first time to the museum, but Kathryn had been here twice before, the first time with Gunilla in November 2002 (it’s one of Gunilla’s favorite places and one of her relatives was an artist in Prince Eugen’s circle—and there are several of his paintings there) and again last winter. She says it’s just as beautiful a setting then, so don’t miss it if you have the chance to visit.

Tulips:



Sculpture outside (notice the “arrow” from the archer’s bow!):



We had lunch there in the delightful café, which offers mostly traditional Swedish food. We also ran into Birgit Hemberg and her two sons (whom we hadn’t met) and their wives while there, a lucky coincidence since we were to go to dinner at her apartment the next evening, and hadn’t yet connected on directions!

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