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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sweden – 30 April, 1-2 May 2008

Tuesday was errand day, partly to get ready for the arrival of my parents (Richard and Joyce) on Wednesday. Wednesday they arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon and we took them to the apartment we’d arranged for them, near St. Eriksplan, got them settled, they took a short nap, then we found them an ATM, got a bite to eat, bought transit passes for the week and showed them Gunilla's apartment. Neither had been to Sweden before, so the next two weeks should be fun, but busy, with showing them as much as we can, plus four rehearsals and a concert next week for me (and another rehearsal the day before I leave).

Thursday we met them in the late morning and then went to Gamla Stan (the old town) to wander around, look at Storkyrkan (literally, “The Big Church,” or the Cathedral), have dinner, etc.

This was the first of May, a major holiday. When we were about to leave we saw the police gathering around the palace. They were there to make sure all was well for the demonstration march by the various labor/leftist groups—some were the former communist party, plus many other groups, almost all young. It was interesting to watch, each organization having its own signs, slogans, and chants or songs. We particularly liked the “Organization of Pessimists!”

Since mom and dad (both 81 years young) were still a bit jet-lagged, we didn’t make it too long a day.

Friday we went to the Vasa Museum. This is an amazing museum, built around the warship Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 (it took only 25 minutes to sink—the King, as you might imagine, wasn’t pleased!). I won’t tell you all about it (you can read more here and here), but if you visit Stockholm, don’t miss the museum. The ship was found again in the late ‘50s, raised and restored (95% of the ship is the original, including hundreds of carved statues), moved into the present museum in 1990. The exhibits have changed over the years (I saw it first in 1989) and new to me this time was amazing research about the people whose bodies (skeletons) were recovered in the wreckage (many skeletons on display) with DNA research, facial reconstruction, etc. to tell more about who they might have been. The entire museum is a fascinating look into life during this period in Sweden.

More about Friday in the next post.

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