Thursday, September 29, 2011

djurgården: the island of museums, pt. 1

Our last day in Stockholm was spent on Djurgården, an island whose main attractions are three museums.  The first one we visited (also my favorite), Skansen, is an open air museum spread over 75 acres of land and comprised of more than 150 structures that were moved from all over Sweden to the museum.  Founded in 1891, Skansen was constructed to show what life was like in pre-industrialized Sweden.  The name Skansen has become a model for other open-air museums around the world.  Its name is even sometimes used as a noun to refer to this type of museum.  

We arrived just as Skansen opened its gates, but much to our dismay, none of the actual buildings inside the park/museum were open yet.  This seems very typically European to me, "Yeah, we open at 10, but that's when our employees arrive too, so you'll just have to wait for them to get settled in."  In America, employees would have arrived hours before the museum actually opened to ensure everything was in its place and ready to go.  I realize that I might sound more in favor of the American way, and perhaps I am in this specific scenario, however generally speaking I much prefer Europe's laid back attitude when it comes to time.  In America, we rush too much.

While the museum buildings were not yet open, we did find an open cafe, and were able to enjoy the beautiful sunny day over a cup of coffee and gingerbread with homemade whipped cream and lingon berries.  In a sense, we were forced to "stop and smell the roses" and I'm really glad we did.  In hindsight, it was such a wonderful, relaxing break.

Hmm, I didn't realize how blurry this picture was until just now.  Whoops!  Well, after we enjoyed our pastries from the cafe, the 19th Century shops were beginning to open their doors.  The bakery smelled so delicious we couldn't resist purchasing just a couple more pastries to share.  I guess that two dessert rule rubbed off on us :)

Our first and most anticipated stop was at the glass blowing factory.  While we waited for them to open, we discovered a huge mound of glass shards that had been deposited outside.  Again, such a European thing to do.  These small pieces of glass were not extremely sharp, but if you weren't careful , they could definitely cut you.  They were all over the ground, including one walkway and a flight of stairs.  Earlier, we had come across these stairs and turned around to go another way, thinking that they were inaccessible due to the glass.  Later, we watched as multiple European families (including small children!) walked down these stairs.  Again we were confronted with a huge cultural difference.  This glass would never fly in America - talk about a lawsuit waiting to happen!

Lawsuit or not, we very much enjoyed looking at the broken glass.  (Sorry if the Annie Lennox song just popped into your head too...)  We scavenged a lot of it.  It was like the best, most glittery beach of gorgeously colored sea glass we had ever seen.  The picture doesn't do any justice to the glimmer of the sun on the glass.

19th Century potters' studio

Employees dress in traditional 19th Century attire and will tell you about their lives and their work if you ask them too.  I always feel uncomfortable talking to people dressed up like this, because I know they are lying to me.  I realize it's their job and it's meant to be educational, but it still makes me feel awkward.  I still like looking at their outfits though.

Just some proof that I'm probably the coolest person you know.

The printers' shop! Ah, I loved it in here! Talk about typeface drawers! This place had gazillions.  It was SO difficult to take pictures inside the shop with the lack of lighting, but I could have spent hours in here admiring the vintage typeface and printing machines.  Love.

My mom bought a piece of candy from this old-style candy shop.  Unbeknownst to us, it was black licorice.  I almost threw up upon tasting it. Seriously.

An old church steeple.  I love the red color they use so often for traditional buildings in Sweden.  Also, check out that fence! Fences all over Skansen were like this one.  I found it so interesting how they filled in the logs on a diagonal!

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