A Saturday in Stockholm

After April began with snow and sleet, I think spring has finally arrived in Stockholm. The flowers are starting to bloom, the grass is getting greener, and the city is coming alive.

Some of the flowers and greenery I speak of

The advent of spring aligned nicely with the arrival of my friend and roommate, Elizabeth, who visited last week from her study abroad program in southern Spain. I was a little worried that she would be scared away by sub-optimal temperatures and the looming threat of snow, but there was, thankfully, no need to be concerned.

On Saturday, we started with a trip to Skansen. I hadn’t been since the mid-February visit with my Swedish Language & Culture class. Going with a big group was awesome, but we didn’t have much freedom to explore the park (and it was absolutely freezing), so I was excited to experience Skansen again and show Elizabeth a bit of Swedish history and culture.

This time around, it felt like a different place. We were surrounded by hundreds of families, tourists, very vocal seagulls, and kids running around with cotton candy.

In Bollnäs square, we had our pick of food stands for lunch and decided on a cone with seared elk, potatoes, and cloudberry jam. Their varm lingondricka (warm lingonberry drink) was the highlight of meal, though. Very Swedish indeed.

Most of the workshops in the stadskvarteren (town quarter) were open to visitors, so we stopped by the glassworks, potter, printer, and more. At the tannery station, we got to feel ostrich leather and squirrel pelts, which is something I had never done before—and probably won’t do again.

The historic farmsteads were also open, so we got to greet farm animals and venture inside a few homes.

After almost four hours inside the park, we finished our trip at the zoo. I got to see my favorite Nordic goats again, as well as reindeer and—get ready for this—baby wild boars.

Look at them!! They spent the whole time headbutting each other 🙂

I didn’t think our day could get any more interesting, but it certainly did when we stopped by the Medeltidsmarknad, or Medieval Market, that was held in Kungsträdgården.

The park was filled with stalls selling handcrafted medieval goods, jewelry, and food. I had to talk myself out of buying a sword multiple times (I didn’t think TSA would appreciate that when I fly back home next month).

The blacksmith station

We also came across a medieval combat demonstration that was put on by a local Stockholm club. The armor was a nice touch!

Right after that, we watched a trio perform medieval folk songs right in the center of Kungsträdgården. This was definitely my favorite part of the whole experience.

We thought we had seen everything at that point, but then we happened upon a mock-jousting session, complete with a flaming sword and jump rope. Not a bad way to end a typical Saturday in Stockholm!

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