A Stockholm Sunday in the sun

 Gamla Stan in the spring sun.

 Close up of the mast of the Chapman boat (1888) docked on Skeppsholmen. It's used as a youth hostel.

 Skeppsholmen church.

 White swans at Skeppsholmen with the funfair in the distance.

Kunliga Operan
 As soon as the snow started melting in Stockholm everyone was out in their front gardens cleaning up, sweeping paths and planting annuals such as pansies, daffodils, freesias, petunias and walking the dog even more. The Stockholmers seem to like to decorate their tiny gardens with plastic toys or fake feathers in psychedelic colours.

You see them in trees as well. It's the swedish version of the gnome in english gardens. Something suggesting other realms with a comic twist. Though I've seen a couple of trolls around in peoples gardens too so I suppose that would be more the equivalent.

 The ubiquitous daffodil.

 Everyone has the same planter boxes on their balconies. It's pretty good soil where we live which makes it easier to grow things. Though people seem to be pretty conservative about what they grow in their gardens around their homes. Haven't seen anything other than annuals growing.

There are public garden plots in every suburb which is fantastic. There's a cost though, unlike in Australia.

Pots around the Grand Hotel balcony.

 Spring colour.

 Plastic flowers and toys in a homemade pond.

We made our own contribution to the flower epidemic by planting some violet and yellow pansies in planter boxes. They look good. Many people, as we do, have orchids growing inside as well adding to the colour. You don't automatically think of Sweden and orchids in the same breath but it's so damn hot inside everywhere they grow perfectly.

Yesterday there was a bit of sunshine amongst the clouds (the clouds seemed particularly unusual perhaps because of the volcano ash I don't know) so I decided it was perfect for an afternoon jaunt to Skeppsholmen, one of our favourite islands and one of the best stockholm attractions.

 Walking across the bridge to Skeppsholmen. 

 The Iceland volcano has made the ferries extra busy this week.

 The skies looked a bit more dramatic than usual perhaps because of the volcano ash?

Walking to Skeppsholmen there are many fantastic public sculptures to see. This one's outside the National Gallery.

We were too late to get to the Moderna Museet but did see some magical mating displays from a pair of white swans along the water's edge (boy I sound like David Attenborough!), which believe it or not was incredibly moving. It was worth not seeing Matisse.

Swans really are beautiful.

 The pair of mating swans.

Birds are constantly trying to avoid a bad feather day. 

Then we continued on up the hill towards Kastellholmen a small island where a medieval style castle is the main attraction. It didn't move me much though I was rather amazed again by the fact that everywhere in Stockholm is so well looked after and aesthetically pleasing.

I don't know if they've discovered a special paint for buildings but every building seems so fresh like it's just been painted but I haven't spied anyone painting as yet. When do they do it? And everything is so clean.


 View from Kastellholmen.

 Boats docked at Skeppsholmen.

Entrance to Moderna Museet with an Alexander Calder sculpture in the front.

The Swedes seem to have found a perfect balance between order and casualness and a kind of exuberance expressed in their sense of colour. I think this is the Swedish style.

Stockholm travel tips:
To get to Skeppsholmen take the T-Bana Kungsträdgården line. Get off at Kungsträdgården which is the last stop then it's a 10 minute easy walk.


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