Stockholm, Wednesday, June 22
We all slept! It’s amazing what a little sleep can do to change your perspective and attitude. We slept until 9am and awoke to a sweet little note:
We brushed and washed and were on our way to start the day after another filling breakfast. First stop – look for Silky at the restaurant’s lower level. We searched high and low for the lost treasure but found only crumbs. The manager even called his cleaning crew to ask but to no avail. Lincoln hung his head and a few tears fell for the loss of his oldest friend. Despite knowing this probable outcome, the blow was still hard to take. We did our best to offer comforting cuddles and loving squeezes and rally for the fun ahead. He pulled it together and off we went to catch the boat to Skansen, a living history museum.
We boarded the boat, and I recognized the captain from one of our rides yesterday. I decided to ask him where lost items could be found on the boat – even if I didn’t know which boat said items had been left. He said it would still be on the boat, and asked what the item was. I told him a small, brown blanket. To my amazement he said he had seen something fitting that description yesterday and was going to call the captain on the boat where he remembered seeing it. That captain said the item had been left at the Royal Palace stop, and we could look there. Lincoln heard every word and ran back to Tip and Bryan to exclaim his joy. The Royal Palace was the next stop – a few minutes at most – but to Lincoln it was an eternity. I tried to prepare him for the possibility that it might not be Silky, but he was having none of it. We arrived at the Royal Palace stop and Lincoln bolted to the front of the boat.
A happier kid I’ve never seen. Silky has 9 lives! Perhaps you might remember Silky was dropped on the train in Austin, and we somehow got back on the exact train an hour later and found it. Silky was dropped in the Central Market parking lot, in the rain, and we found it an hour later. And so on and so on. So, now Silky has international cred, too.
On to Skansen we traveled, in a gleeful bubble the other passengers could only enviously watch.
Skansen, as I mentioned before, is an open air, living museum focused on farming and Nortic animals and a few other odds and ends. As with most places in Scandinavia, children’s entry fees are mostly free or greatly reduced. Lincoln has been free everywhere and Tip has either been free or 1/2 off. It’s a lovely bonus as most everything else is very expensive. The first part of the park looked like an abandoned amusement park from the 1970s. It was very bizarre. Then you hike up steep hills and curvey paths to see the various animals and old buildings.
They had a section called Our Africa, but I’m not sure how those animals fall into the Nordic category…
We saw Lemurs, various monkeys, and baboons.
Then we continued along and saw a belfry, schoolhouse and farmhouse, and Lincoln and I spoke about how this was very much like The Little House books we’ve read.
Then we saw a farmstead with a family or couple of families of pigs. The piglets were insanely cute, but the wallowing mud left a malodorous scent in the air that pushed us along to the next section.
I am happy to report that I have now seen – in person – a wolverine, wolf, and a lynx. We also saw bears, seals, bison, boars, horses, rabbits, goats, chickens, peacocks, birds, more birds and more birds.
We ate a quick bite as we wondered our way back to the entrance. In general, I think we all agreed, Skansen was a bit of a waste of time and money. We did not make it around to the other half of the park, but we were underwhelmed. I think we could have enjoyed ourselves more at the Austin Zoo or the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock. On to the next…
We took the boat back to the Royal Palace stop and made our way over to the Gamla Stan – the Old Town. This is where we should have spent more time. The streets are cobbled, narrow and lined with bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, souvenir shops, boutiques and much more. The streets made me think of Venice or Siena in their labyrinth nature and social feel.
We spent about an hour here, and then headed back to the hotel for a rest before venturing out for dinner on our last night in Stockholm.
First item of business at the hotel, wash Silky. It was difficult for Lincoln to let Silky out of his sight post reunion, but washing was necessary. He even took on the drying himself.
I found a Thai food recommendation on a mommy blog that was close to our hotel, so we headed out for a quick 7min walk to dinner. Koh Phangan looks like a nice little eatery from the outside – brightly painted tables and chairs with delicious looking food. Once you step into the doors, it’s like a cross between a luau and a rave while dining at Disney. The interior is painted in glow in the dark paint, strings of brightly colored lights and black lights. You cross over koi ponds on bamboo bridges, and enter another dimension, man. We ate in a rickshaw type jeep, and at one point the lights went out, lights flickered and thunder and rain sounded. It was trippy to say the least, but we laughed the entire meal. The food was pretty decent, too.