Walking on thin ice

Beautiful Stockholm punctuated by pinnacles.

Conifer and birch trees coming to life.

Last week as we were coming home from an evening walk in the snow we had a magical encounter with 4 deer that were surreptiously eating from a bird feeder. What a privilege to see this. Unbelieveable.
 I suppose we have our Australian animals that we see quite regularly on country trips or around the city fringes- like kangaroos that people overseas think are amazing and which we take for granted a bit.

But to see deer just like that in the city. We watched them for awhile and left. Supposedly up to 50% of deer in Sweden have died this winter because of the scarce food supplies due to the snow. I didn't for once have my camera with me. Alas!

I've been on a search to buy various foodstuffs and other items that I use in Australia and which are really difficult to find here. One is coffee substitute drinks. Nobody obviously drinks these drinks here because you cannot get them anywhere. Even decaffeinated coffee you can hardly get in cafes or soymilk or chai lattes though there are some places you can get this. Australia has a lot more food choices than over here. We have a lot more asian food. Food from all over the world really.

The view while walking at dusk.

 Taken during a overcast day. It's almost black and white as a result.

I'd love to have some instant noodles but no you can't get them in many places. Luckily I like rissoles, salmon and potatoes! And I love making minestrone soup and you cannot buy mixed beans anywhere. You have to buy all the individual beans dried. Hard work so I haven't made minestrone soup yet.
And bbq tongs- you know you need them when you're turning over your sausages (another thing they're not that into up here) or your bacon in the pan. Not into barbequeing obviously.

On the way to Gustavsberg on the bus looking out.

Stockholm beginning to defrost.

Did a bit of birdwatching around Djurgarden last Sunday. There wasn't that many birds around because it's still quite cold (minus 1) but we saw a few ducks (mallards) and a pair of goosanders which aren't in Australia and I didn't recognise and had to consult the books about. I found it exciting people!

The snow is melting so you can see the water now and it was a beautiful day but walking around's quite difficult (though the snow is one of the attractions in Sweden for me). The snow's turned into ice and it's like an ice skating rink along the paths so you have to walk in a rather zombie like fashion to get anywhere. People of course walk over the lakes and rivers but this week a few fell through the ice!

We also popped over to Sodermalm (it's like Fitzroy a bit) again during the week. It's the groovy area of Stockholm and is where you can get a chai latte if you're into it. It's one of my favourite spots. Many art galleries are there and music shops etc. The Swedish author Stieg Larsson who wrote 'Girl with the dragon tattoo' and other books are all set in this area. Though he writes as if Stockholm's like the 'mean streets'. I don't think so, it's as middle class as anything- he should've come to Melbourne if he wanted the mean streets. People get shot in cafes and watching their children at soccer matches! 

Male and female mallard ducks thinking they're going to get some food.

 Ducks enjoying the water and sunshine.


House on Djurgarden
 Streets of Sodermalm.

 Ceramics on display at the Porcelain Museum, Gustavsberg.  We caught the bus to Gustavsberg to see the Porcelain Museum. It used to be a centre of porcelain manufacture, now no longer but some ceramics are still being made and we visited the shop later and bought some glasses. The landscape's the real highlight for me though.
 Gustavsberg, Stockholm
Porcelain Vase

The buses may be good but the rail travel in Sweden is fantastic. There's always a busker to entertain you and many of the stations contain interesting works of art as well. Always on time and clean and not that crowded. I feel like sending them a thankyou card. A train comes every 10 minutes. It's a fantastic service and you really don't need a car here if you live near the train. I can't see why they can't do this in Melbourne. People here of course complained (as they do everywhere) because when the snow was really bad it disrupted the services. However it's nothing compared to Melbourne. Dear old Melbourne.

 Art installation at Kungstradgarden train station.
 View from Sodermalm over the water towards the city. Ice skating anyone?

Somedays the sun suddenly comes out while you're walking and completely transforms the landscape. This is what happened when we were walking along the water's edge at Sodermalm. Suddenly the atmospere glitters and sparkles with light and you feel completely uplifted and at one with the world.

The light made the walking path look like a stageset in a movie.
The edge of the island of Sodermalm is a rocky slope topped with charming old houses with fantastic views over Stockholm.
 Hill near our house. I climbed this hill (which admittedly isn't that steep I know) but walking in snow is actually quite exhausting, like walking in sand, so we were quite puffed when we reached the top.
 The area where we saw the deer. Kista, Stockholm
 Quick gouache sketch.  There is pale pink and purple that is reflected from the snow into the atmosphere and it envelops everything.

You see horses quite frequently doing their exercises along the tracks. Kista


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