Stockholm

 

Moaritisk Absorbent 2

Reeling from Russia’s awesome attractions, we cruised into our next stop, Stockholm, Sweden.  Since we’d delved heavily into history in our Russian tours, we decided to start our Swedish sojourn with some modern art.

Swedish Subway Station Tour

Buried beneath Stockholm’s streets are stunning subway stations, cavernous and colourful.  Desperate to see them for ourselves, we followed the tour. Our guide Marie got round trip tickets to show us some of the most sensational stops. With 100 stations to choose from, it was no mean feat.

Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården

Among the most memorable was Kungsträdgården station, underneath Stockholm’s public park. The station’s rough walls are forest green, with water trickling down them into pools, complete with marooned- marble statues, looking like sunken Greek gods.

While obviously engineered, the water features have allowed nature to flourish, as the station hosts a fungus with a unique DNA structure, the first of its kind discovered there in 2016.

T-Centralen

T-Centralen

Travelling back in time, to the first of Stockholm’s art subways, we visited the T-Centralen. Decorated in blue and white motifs of wheat and industrial scenes; it is a surprisingly static station design created by Scandinavia’s prima kinetic artist, Per Olof Ultvedt.

Citybanan

Citybanan

From the old to the new, we moved to the recently completed Citybanan railway tunnel, complete with celestial cloud ceiling and dazzling domes. Designed by Ahlqvist and Almqvist Architects, with illumination from WSP Sweden, the station is intended to shift its visitors from warm to cool light as they ascend the escalator.

Also on the city line was the Moaritisk Absorbent disco light feature wall and ceiling, by artist Mikael Paulin. With gorgeous glows, it makes the perfect selfie stop!

Solna Centrum

Solna Centrum

Next we saw Solna Centrum subway station, designed by Karl-Olov Björk and Anders Åberg to be a sunset of red huges, with political murals marking poignant points of Swedish sociology, such as rural flight, deforestation and environmentalism.

Stadion subway

Stadion subway

Ideology continued in the Stadion subway, which welcomes visitors with its rainbow colours and blue sky walls. Although perfect for Pride – which is celebrated in the nearby Östermalms IP grounds  –  the colours were chosen by Enno Hallek and Åke Pallarp to represent the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.

Changing Guard

Changing of the Guard

Heading back to the city centre, we finished our subway station tour in time to witness the daily Changing of the Guard. Around noon, we followed crowds through the streets, up to the palace Outer Courtyard to see The Royal Guard and Music Corps complete their procession. Although it was busy, we squeezed to the front capture photos of the gold and blue bonanza.

Bee Shop

Breaking off from the crowds, we walked down the pretty street of 111 29 Stockholm, catching a break at a Texas grill. Sampling the local lager – and not so local food– we speculated about souvenir shops nearby.

It was then I spotted the bee produce shop, Sverkstan (door number 10 on the street). Venturing in, I was delighted with its beeswax candles, soaps and Manuka honey. With friendly staff and a wide range of goods, I would have spent more time and Kronor there, but with cruise departure impending we made a beeline for the port.

A Day in Copenhagen

Coasting into our Capital Cities of the Baltic cruise, my Mum, Aunt, Cousin and I docked at Copenhagen on 13 July 2019.

Unlucky for some!

No sooner had we joined the Red Sightseeing Bus than it inexplicably and prematurely stopped in the city centre, to offload all passengers. After some mapping and muttering, we decided to divide and conquer our six hours in the city. My Aunt and Cousin opted for historical site seeing and Mum and I made for the galleries.

 

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

 

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Heading across the road, we reached the highly recommended Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Showcasing the art collection of Carlsberg Breweries’ Carl Jacobsen, it was a refreshing mix of national and international taste.

Admiring its marble steps, high ceilings and gorgeous glass solarium, we explored the gallery’s Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Etruscan, Danish and French art.

French art of the 19th Century was the highlight of the stop, with superstars such as Van Gogh, Monet and Degas, all within footsteps of each other.

An entire room was dedicated to the painting, sketches and sculpture of Edgar Degas, which focused on racehorses and ballet dancers. A bronze cast of the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen took centre stage; with notes explaining the original was made of wax, textiles and human hair, causing then audiences to label it ‘repulsive’.

Less controversial was the Danish art, with pastoral scenes from scriptures, legends and fishing villages. Here bright colours brought life to the canvases of Danish Golden Age artists such as Abildgaard, Eckersberg and Købke.

 

The National Museum in Copenhagen

 

The National Museum in Copenhagen

Moving from Danish Golden Age to Danish gold, Mum and I were bedazzled by Viking jewellery and artifacts in The National Museum.  Featuring one of Denmark’s largest collections of antique gold and silver, its highlights included the Tissø ring and the Fæsted hoard.

The Meet the Vikings exhibition signs told how designer Jim Lyngvild worked with museum experts to depict lifelike Viking statues that epitomised the housewife, warrior, berserker, völva and peasant, complete with authentic tattoos and togs.

Switching from ancient to recent history, we entered The Children’s Museum part of The National. Here we found toys through time, including Lego, mechanical structures and a stunning collection of antique dolls’ houses. With dimmed back lighting and illuminated interiors, we admired a world of magic miniature mansions.
 

Tivoli, Copenhagen

 

Tivoli Gardens

Childish delights continued as we headed over to Tivoli Gardens, to discover the 19 Century legacy park that inspired Walt Disney.  With wooden roller coasters, modern rides, manicured gardens, water features, and an Youth Guard (of parading children) there was plenty to see.

Soaking up the ambience, we enjoyed a pint in one of its alfresco cafes, relaying our adventures to my Aunt and Cousin. Refreshed, but with ship curfew calling we choose to try just one ride, the Star Flyer.

Climbing 80 metres high, the Star Flyer swing-carousel provided a visceral view of Copenhagen, perfect for people watching! My Cousin who was scared of heights was not so thrilled, however even she enjoyed the view once coaxed.


Hans Christian Andersen, by Henry Luckow-Nielsen

 

Hot-footing it back to port, we stopped only twice to admire statues. The first was at Copenhagen City Hall Square, where we dodged tourists to pap the statue of author Hans Christian Andersen, by Henry Luckow-Nielsen.

The second stop featured similar jostling as we snapped The Little Mermaid bronze by Edvard Eriksen, at the Langelinie promenade.

Back on board we listed top tips for visiting Copenhagen again: arrive early to beat tourist congestion, be prepared to check bags into lockers at museums, also to pay at museums, to utilise concession discounts, and to never trust a Red Sightseeing Bus!