Tag Archives: djurgården

Julafton at Skansen

One of the joys of Stockholm is that it is full of water and green space. Combining both is the island of Djurgården, which contains (as its name would suggest) Stockholm’s zoo.

Ah, but it’s so much more than a zoo.

Yes, it contains small but pretty naturalistic enclosures for many native species, including Wolves, Brown Bears, Moose, Reindeer and European Bison. But it also contains many typical historic buildings, either specially constructed in reproduction or disassembled, transported and rebuilt on-site. UK visitors may be getting the sense of Ironbridge or Beamish, and that’s about right, but going back to pre-industrial times too.

The peak season for this is summer, but on Christmas Eve, it’s open for free, which makes for quite a lovely family afternoon out and as it’s on a hill, it wears out the little legs and ensures a good night’s sleep awaiting Santa.

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Lake Life

As we’ve written before, being so close to Mälaren is wonderful – it makes for a lovely afternoon walk down to the shore, even in the depths of winter.

What we didn’t realise in the cold, dark days is what a wonderful place it is for beaches and swimming, and equally so, on the other side of the city centre that is theoretically the Baltic Sea.

(Sidenote: did you know that the Baltic is technically a Mediterranean sea? And because its connection to the wider oceans is so narrow, it’s both much less salty – so it freezes more easily than most – and hardly tidal at all).

And so it is – particularly when you’re out with Secondus – that you suddenly get an impromptu paddling session. Which turns into an impromptu swimming session. So now we always take towels, goggles and swimming costumes with us, even if say going to Tekniska Museet.

Djurgården

Right in the city centre, but you’d never know it from the peacefulness of the scene.

Ekerö

Hässelby Strand

The lovely thing is that it’s all very chilled, all very quiet. Kids are left to just potter and run about, which they do without particularly disturbing anyone. The main reason for this is that it’s not too busy. You can always find a good space to sit in. And it’s utterly safe, both in water terms and personal safety. The water is cool, not cold (easily warm enough to swim in, and refreshing on a hot day), and is pretty shallow for quiet some way out.

There are BBQ pits, no-one will hassle you if you bring your own disposable one, as long as you do dispose of it, and there are special bins to do just that.

In Sweden, even BBQs get recycled
In Sweden, even BBQs get recycled

There are no huge sets of “THOU SHALT NOT HAVE FUN” rules beyond Swedish norms about recycling. No parents inflicting oil slicks of suncream on their pale blue offspring. No fences or opening times or lifeguards.

It’s all a relaxed, inside/outside atmosphere, and lovely and warm.

What kind of a summer has it been?

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