Skansen: Open-Air Museum
The whole Swedish culture is here revived
Before reaching the entrance of Skansen, a yellow-red building with a small tower and a big cupola stands out that limits right at Skansen. It is the Circus, one of the big venues in Stockholm. Specially rock and pop concerts of famous national and international artists, as recently The Smashing Pumpkins and The Mars Volta, take place there.
We get out of the bus, pass the Cirkus and await the queue at the box offices of Skansen. From a total of twenty counters, only one is attended. At least. But nobody is waiting except us. In the summer, the open-air museum might be one of the most beautiful places on earth, but when it constantly seems to rain and except the cash counter every thing is closed, every minute the humor is increasingly replaced by sarcasm. This is why I describe the excursion to Skansen just the way we experienced it that day.
Seven people show their Stockholm-card, people smile friendly at us, then we are in; We ascend some endless moving stairs that lead through a rock face, then a gallery with advertising posters follows and soon, behind a glass door, there is Skansen, that immediately makes our enthusiasm disappear with a muddy gravel path and some cabins. On one of those cabins it is written in Swedish: wood artisanry. It is closed! It doesn't matter. We continue. A grey brook ripples through grey rocks, we pass an antiquarian housing from Lappland that is similar to a tent and reminds on a copped and grey dunghill, and at a view point, a wide view extends over a grey soup that is called Stockholm.
If the sun had shined, this view would surely have been breathtaking. But we do have a goal, as Skansen accommodates an Animal Park in which there are animals of Scandinavia. After some further cabins, all grey instead of the typical red colour of Sweden, and stumping uphill, we think about integrating the word skansen as a verb in the german language. It means: to traipse around with wet and cold crap weather.
But then, the first enclosure. Elks; All of them are lying around, one is urinating, no one looks at us. Also not after five minutes. The elks are grey, the meadow, the grass and the trees also are. Some further highlights follow: brown bear: not there; Gluttons: in the cinema. Rentiers: miserably bored. Wolfs: grey on grey stones, far away. Eagle owl: in an extremely bad mood. Threats us with a glare when we wanted to step into his aviary through an entrance that is provided for this. Foxes: on the way with the gluttons. One of the group says: "Let's see who will not be there in the next enclosure."
Then the most funny thing: a petting zoo without animals. What a funny thing, also for the children; Even the magpies are bored. Ten of them sit on a small climbing tree and look at a sleeping lynx. In the seal enclosure, there is something white diving. We guess it is a sheep. Only a wild pig is very pleased by our presence. He introduces himself with the name Hugo. We will send him a card for Christmas. We continue and see other people. They probably come from the place we want to get to. To a massive view tower amidst this adventure-fiasco. We pass some huts, uphill, and there it is already standing in front of us. Surely 30 metres high, surely without a lift and surely... closed.
Well, nobody could really expect this. Then we already saw a big place with a lot of small and closed Christmas market stands. If we really must be in Skansen in the winter time, then in any case on a Saturday or a Sunday. During the weeks days, there is Nothing happening. Still the day before we passed the park and saw real crowds of people. Apparently, we simply choosed the wrong day. It is half past one, it is slowly getting dark grey and suddenly we get the shock of our life. A barn, opened, with some light inside.. .there is Christmas decoration to buy! Four persons nearly have to puke, three people cheer and disappear for a quarter of hour between candles, ornaments and stuff. Meanwhile, we make a picture. It shows: three men with a grey backround.
Then we decide to use our Stockholm-ticket for a last time, ten minutes before it expires in order to get by bus to the main station. Downhill, passing the cabins, we are soon at the moving stairs, on which one of the passengers spontaneously falls asleep and during the gliding off from one of the stairs awakes abruptly. We are completely knocked and tired out, hungry and want to get as soon as possible to the airport that is located at a distance of 120 kilometres. During the whole time, we had been carrying our hand luggage. Two young blokes are sitting at the exit who start roaring when we pass the portal. I think we were meant. I believe they know what Skansen has to offer on a Monday in December with 3 degrees, specially when it is permanently starting to rain cats and dogs at any time.
Finally, there is to say that Stockholm is a beautiful city that has its advantages and disadvantages in all types of weather. Of course it is not ideal to be on the way in the rain on some unsolid paths, but in the nordic regions one has to be prepared for an unsettled weather. We of course also expected some snow when we choosed Stockholm as our travel destination, but neither we were disappointed nor upset on the fact that is was not like that.
One should not let one's mood to be spoiled and this is exactly what we have done. And this is exactly the reason why the excursion to Skansen was a very special adventure that made us laugh a lot. I think this is called gallows humor. Anyway, we noticed that Stockholm can offer an interesting program for some days with each kind of weather provided it is rationaly planned. This is also the purpose of my travel report and why also now some tips will follow.
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Author: Ingo Schmidt; Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz