Monday, August 08, 2005

DAY 19 - more älgar, another island and a reunion

so then - another day, another breakfast buffet, another trip into the city centre. the weather is much better today - it's sunny, there are some extremely fluffy clouds in the sky, and sepp decides it's time for junibacken, the astrid lindgren world. i love her pippi longstocking and emil, the little boy from lönneberga, so i think it's worth checking out the place. hundreds of other people seem to have had the same thought - most of them are there with their kids. i've never seen such a crowded pram park before!

since we have the stockholm card, we get in for free here (as just about everywhere else in stockholm). we get our tickets and are told that our train time is some time around 01.30 or 01.45. we don't really know what train, but find out soon that there is a story train that takes visitors through astrid lindgren's worlds, through ronja's forest, to katthult where emil lives, over rooftops to visit karlsson and so on. but first we check out the shop where i buy an emil and a pippi book - both in swedish, of course! there's lots to explore and do - for kids, that is. the frst room we visit, is so noisy and i find it quite stuffy with its low ceiling, and crammed with toys and little huts, etc. after a while i actually feel like i cannot breathe in there, and i tell sepp i will wait for him outside.

he goes on to villa villekulla, pippi's home, which he says is nice, but once again - it is definitely more fun for the little ones who can dress up and ride on pippi's horse, etc. when sepp meets me outside, we still have about 45 minutes to kill until the train leaves. we wander around, down to the shore, then decide to skip the story train ride and go to skansen once more, because it is worth seeing the buildings too. junibacken is not far from the entrance to skansen, so we hop on the tram and are there within minutes.

every child's dream: villa villekulla

what a different picture! lots and lots of people are there, enjoying the sunshine in the wonderful park. i remember the delicious pastry baked at the old bakery place, and head for the "village" section. the smell guides me to the small house where bakes are producing the lovely buns and turnovers etc non-stop. i want an apple turnover, but they've run out, so i have a cinnamon bun instead. yummy, and still warm! talk about freshly baked!

baker, baker ...

we wander around looking at the old shops, the church, farmsteads, then head to the wild animals section once more. sepp wants to find out whether the moose are a little more active today. this time we see a couple of wolves, more wolverines, our baby lynxes from the previous day, and of course the bears. and this time they impress me quite a lot, especially one of them: i have never ever seen bears climb up so high before. you always hear that when you encounter a bear, whatever you do, don't climb a tree, because they can do it better. and i certainly believe that now. one of them, a right little daredevil, keeps climbing higher and higher, it's actually hard to see him up there! people who stop at the bears' enclosure think that there aren't any bears around - until others point them out, or they notice people staring intently at a tree. it's fascinating how fast and skillful these creatures are. people start wondering how the one that's highest up will actually get back down - and i assume he'll just embrace the tree trunk and slide down. and that is exactly what he does, after quite a long stay up in the treetop.

hiding in treetops

sepp is not lucky, in that the male älg is actually sleeping. but his offspring are walking around on shaky legs, and mrs älg is out and about. skansen, if you want to go to stockholm, is definitely worth at least one visit, it's absolutely lovely, and you can spend a day there if you are not in a hurry. we listen in on the summer concert on the big stage, and i finally get my köttbullar with mashed potatoes wrapped in bread before we leave and make our way back into the city.

swedish food

we fancy another boat trip, so we check out the offers. we miss one boat to fjäderholmarna by about two minutes and have to wait half an hour, but what does that matter. we sit in the sunshine and then go out to the main island called stora fjäderholmen. this time it does not start to rain while we are on board; the water sparkles, the sun and clouds produce the light that's so typical of the north, and it's lovely to be there.

on the island, we stroll around a bit, watch a glass blower at work, i treat myself to a rather huge icecream, and then we return to stockholm city. we walk towards the central station - and i start to feel a little melancholy. this is our last evening of the journey!

the ex fish, stora fjäderholmen

sepp's hungry, so we go to a typical swedish institution - mcdonald's. we just miss the train to barkarby, and while we are waiting, i get in touch with tobias whom we still have to meet. how convenient that he lives just across from the hotel!

tobias comes to pick us up at the train station in barkarby. he's only recently cut off his long hair (*sigh*), but it is still not difficult to recognise him. it's been over seven years since we last saw each other. as i mentioned before, we spent a few weeks travelling together in new zealand, tobias, the swiss guy olivier and me, trio infernal. *S* we split up in cromwell, a small place on the south island, where i stopped to stay with an e-pal of mine, and that was the last time we saw each other.

we go over to tobias and linda's apartment which is really nice. linda is watching tv, so we only get to talk to tobias. of course we do discuss our new zealand adventures, and reminisce, but i don't think sepp gets too bored. tobias shows us pictures of when he met oli and cindy (then girlfriend, now wife) a few years ago in switzerland, and we talk about our time up north. time flies, and we have to let tobias get some rest - the poor guy has to get up before 5. cruel.

reunion: tobias and michi

so it's goodbye very soon after we said hello, and we make our way back to the hotel, carefully avoiding all the slugs that come out at night.

day 19 photos

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