Stockholm the beautiful
6th - 11th February 2010
Weather hasn't changed much -minus 2 generally but I feel like walking all the time because it's so refreshing walking in the snow and only 2 minutes walk from our house and you're in the country full of classic snow scenery. The Swedes seem to be dog people because there are lots of dogs being walked all the time wherever you are in the city. The beautiful white pristine snow is stained everywhere with dog pee along the paths. The sublime and the ridiculous.
You see the occasional cat tip-toeing through the snow which is really funny. Most of the time they're sensible cats, warm indoors peering at us with a look of contempt through the lounge room windows. And there are winter birds everywhere which I wouldn't have expected in the snow. I don't really know these European birds yet except for the common ones like blackbirds but they look a bit different from what I expected-they all seem really plump.
Around the corner from our house there's a working farm which was originally part of a village dating back to the 1600's. Seriously old places are one of the attractions in sweden. One of the houses was lived in from the 1600's to the 1970's by the descendants of the same family which is hard to believe but true. It's just gorgeous and there's ponies and chickens and ducks etc. They have a ceramics workshop and stables too. It's closed for winter but opens in summer which is a popular place for the locals to hang out and have an ice cream.
10th February 2010
Visited the Karolinska Hospital. Hiie did her Phd there and showed me around the hospital. Some collegues she used to work with were there and we had a brief chat (they were charming) and then left to go to Sodermalm.
Bussing around the city makes me realise how dominated Melbourne is by advertising and American culture. It's like going back in time in Stockholm slightly when fast food chains, and garish advertising and ugly buildings hadn't taken over the city. It horrifies me to think of all the damage done to the landscape from urbanisation and the lost history. The constant expansion of the cities is a mania in Australia and once the landscape is gone it's really hard to get it back. But you can have urban development with nature as they have here in Stockholm.
Travelled to Sodermalm to see some Stockholm art at the local galleries and thoroughly enjoyed this except for slipping on the snow again. But I saw a native Stockholmer do the same thing so didn't feel so bad. Hiie never slips probably because she grew up in minus 20 winters in Estonia.
The art at the elite galleries is the same all over the world mainly conceptual. It's ok but I don't have a lot of interest. The middle range galleries hold more interest because you can still see paintings. I predict the reign of conceptual art will soon come to an end and then what? It won't be painting again that's for sure.
|It's pretty cold wandering around so we of course head for the coffee shop again to get warm. They give you gigantic cups of tea and coffee here. I don't know if I like this or not.
11th February 2010
Went to the Kunliga Operan Stockholm (one of the best attractions in sweden) last night to see Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte which was fantastic. The singers and orchestra were wonderful though the set wasn't much. The set has to compete with the opera house itself which is completely covered in gold and paintings and statues from floor to ceiling. It was like being in a giant child's music box and we're all miniature figures in it. The same opera was first performed in 1830 at the Kunliga and I kind of felt this strange feeling like all the audiences from other times were sitting there enjoying it too.
Ceiling and light of opera house