Sweden's big freeze

Bird slowly freezing in the bushes!
The winter landscape in Akalla By.

Everyone walks around here and we're no diffferent. Essentially to get some fresh air and for exercise but also to actually feel the cold because you certainly don't inside anywhere. I'm actually starting to want the temperature lower. Everyone strips off to skimpy clothing (young people) as soon as they're indoors because of it. And my skin's drying out and flaking off from all the central heating 24 hours a day. Stop wingeing Susie! You'd be wingeing if it was really cold inside so thank your lucky stars it's not.

Anyway I wanted to visit this gallery it's called Husby Kunstgalleriet which means art gallery in swedish. We stepped into another world when we stepped out of the winter snow into this warm gorgeous art gallery. This lovely older lady 70's proceeded to tell us the whole history of the artist. He escaped from Nazi germany and married a swedish woman and painted after work but never showed his paintings. He died and this lady organised the exhibition for him. His wife was there having a cup of tea with friends. She's 90 and we were introduced to her. They were interested that I was from down under and wanted to see my artwork. I haven't been back but probably will go on Saturday with some images-maybe.
Me at the exhibition.

It's interesting the way the whole city's laid out. Few people seem to live in houses on large blocks of land in the city. Everyone seems to live in units and apartments all clustered together but they are surrounded by a lot of park area so you never feel squashed in at all. There's just so much country around everywhere throughout the city. Most of the cities in Sweden are similarly designed.

There's a homogeneity about the the buildings, public and private in Sweden. Many of the houses/units look so cute and homely, like country style cottages dotted everywhere. They are all painted a similar colour, what I call swedish red. Our unit is painted in this colour as are all the other units. Somehow it works though- you don't feel like it's that uniform, I suppose especially because the snow is covering everything up. 
There are no cars around because all the cars are parked outside the housing areas. There's only a narrow pathway for cars and vans if you need to move house or for taxis etc. There are no garages or driveways in people's houses/units. It's so much quieter as a result.
And you don't really hear anyone else barely at all which is unlike Australia's apartments which post 1950 seem to be made deliberately so you can hear everyone else's business.

Snow city.
City view with Nordiska Museet in the distance.

There are no skyscrapers in Stockholm which I love. There's not as much sunlight as there is in Australia so every bit of light counts I suppose. Most of the buildings in the actual city centre are only about 5 storeys high. I just love it. They must have a law about this to stop developers. Yay developers definitely don't rule here which I think is fantastic. The right wingers out there might find Sweden a bit much but I love it.

Looking towards the Stadshuset (State Hall).

Last weekend Hiie thought she'd show me one of the beaches (Saltsjobaden) which was about an hours train ride from our house. On the train you see the big houses which you don't see closer into the city. Of course near the beach as usual it's much more expensive to live.

View from the train on the way to Saltsjobaden.

The dock of the bay at Saltsjobaden.

Fishing through the ice.

 Grand Hotel, Saltsjobaden

I was looking forward to seeing the water after the train travel but alas there was none. It was entirely frozen over which was fascinating itself. It would be a gorgeous beachside town in summer but was rather deserted during winter. I'm constantly amazed by the lack of ugly buildings spoiling the landscape like McDonalds (though they have McDonalds here, though it's much more expensive to eat there). There was no-one around except for one cat and then we went in to a cafe and there was the whole town having their coffees and cakes!

Dogs doing what dogs like to do.

 Inside the cafe.

Sweden is blessed with both beautiful landscapes and beautiful buildings such as Saint Klara Church (1590) in Stockholm city, which I visited later in the week. Stunning church outside. I find most churches not as dramatically beautiful inside and a touch suffocating so far. With their crypts and relics. I suppose churches are about life and death so they must contain both symbols. The spire and the crypt.
This church had a pair of beautiful angels adorning the altar and the photos I took unfortunately don't do them justice because it was so dark inside and I can't stand the way flash light looks. I will have to remedy this problem.

We don't have a tv and I miss it. But we are getting one at some point though I probably won't be able to understand much but just having that flickering screen on is soothing!
I've been listening a lot to the BBC on the internet which is an absolutely fantastic station like ABC in Oz but with more on offer. Australia actually gets mentioned quite a bit over here which is interesting. People seem to have a very positive view of Australia which is great, hopefully it won't change. Even though Australia was involved in the Iraq war and in Afghanistan today people seem to only think only the Americans and English were and are. Which is kind of lucky for us. It's because we're so far away I guess.
Pair of beautiful angels adorning the altar.

Stained glass.

Ceiling of St Klara church, city.

Stockholm travel tips:
If you're only in Stockholm for a short period of time and want to see a lot, the Stockholm pass is good value. Covers transport too.


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