If I was given some superpower, I wish I could go back in time and get a glimpse of how people lived in old days. Since no one is going to grant me that power, I actively and passionately search for spots with a nostalgic touch when I´m in a new place. Skansen appeared to be in that category. Founded in 1891, Skansen in Stockholm is said to be the world´s first open-air museum and zoo. The Swedish equivalent to the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. Wandering alone the street, I was eager to experiment and explore the life that had long been left behind.
The first historical building I came across was a homely cafe (“Krog” in Swedish), well-preserved and it had beef stroganoff on the menu, ideal for those who preferred a decent meal to keep them warm in this rather chilly autumn afternoon.
I´m not a meat enthusiast but I needed something for my sweet teeth, urgently. The bakery in the corner caught my eyes, cakes and bread are part of the culture, I believe. The food culture of a nation contributes to make it distinguishable from other countries. The baker told us that the pastries and cakes were all made according to the traditional recipes. The cinnamon buns (a local speciality), and vanilla tarts went down in no time, had to get more. The baker wasn’t at all surprised when we returned and happily stuffed the paper bags with more buns and tarts.
We passed a small cafe, a few tourists were drinking coffee and talking in a language I didn’t recognise. I was caught by the charm and intimate atmosphere inside.
(The cafe was actually quite well-hidden, the door was old and had lost its original colour)
My reluctance to move on wasn’t noticed until I made it explicitly, but none of them had the same passion for nostalgia. My offer of more cakes and hot chocolate was soon turned down, their stomachs were stuffed with enough buns and tarts and would remain full the rest of the day, I was told. Having no better excuse to offer, I followed them and studied the signs carefully so that I would make my way back when I got the chance. I didn´t have to wait for too long. When the kids were playing on the outdoor playground, I sneaked away.
The guests had gone, I entered the cafe trying not to make noise. It was so quiet here. The waitress in her fifties came out of the kitchen and offered me a seat close to the window, which was perfect.
There was a wide selection of cakes and muffins, I went for apple pie with whipped cream. The pie contained quite a few slices of apple, the cream extra thick, and the coffee aromatic. What a treat!
Surrounded by tranquility, the thoughts were flying, I could sense how it was like living in old days and pretended that I was one of the ladies who was enjoying the afternoon tea, or was afternoon tea exclusively British?
Then it was time to leave, I ordered a muffin topped with cream and raspberries for the kids to share so they wouldn’t wonder too much about their mother´s disappearance.
I don´t have green fingers but I love the homely and pleasant atmosphere we often associate with greenhouses.
These Swedish grown apples are great for apple pies, not too sweet and with a rich aroma.
We visited the VASA Museum the next morning, Vasa is the name of the vessel which sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm harbour on 10 August 1628.
(This picture comes from visitstockholm.com)
The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. The reconstructed vessel is 98 per sent original, and it´s decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world.
(The reconstruction shows the moment when Vasa sank)
How did the researchers manage to locate Vasa after 333 years? If you´re passionate about history, here is the story. Details are given in Swedish and English.
Those who died when Vasa sank remain unknown to us, but the skeletal of more than half of the victims were found. The reconstructions give us an idea of how they might look like and the life they lived before the tragedy.
(The coins from Vasa)
(Here, the museum´s conservators and researchers are busy documenting the objects from Vasa)
So much for this time, I hope you find the post interesting and thank you for taking time to read it 🙂 The final part (part 3) of the Stockholm trip will be published in a week. So bye for now and take care…