September 9, 2016
Waking up on that final day of my Scandinavian Adventure was bittersweet. I had done and seen so much over the previous eight days that my head was spinning! Reminiscing that last day in Stockholm made me take stock of my journey, from staying with Annelise in Denmark and showing me the best of Copenhagen, to exploring amazing “Beauty by the Water” as a party of one, I knew that what I had experienced was truly one-of-a-kind.
It was a Sunday, and I felt effervescent as I woke early. After grabbing another nosh-worthy breakfast from The Hotel Rival Bistro I headed out to explore the lovely streets of Stockholm on one last jaunt before it was time to head home for good.
As I walked along unfamiliar gator (streets), climbing charming staircases and strolling the enchanting lanes past three-hundred-year-old homes (or older), I was filled with wonder and amazement. Historical markers and placards described the long history of the area, and the fires that had ravaged it. Most notably the 1759 Mariabranden fire (“brand” translates to fire), the name given to the blaze that heavily damaged the Maria Magdalena kyrka (church).
After passing by gorgeously hued storybook houses (many painted red, a beloved Swedish tradition), zealously imagining the Scandinavian decor behind each door, and the families that inhabited them, I found myself standing at a tall wooden gate. Hearing children’s voices within, I was not confidant it was public property. I warily peered through the small star-shaped hole at what was behind and was immediately thrilled with my decision! There, within the star-shaped frame of my view, was a typical Swedish afternoon. I pushed the gate open and walked through.
To the left, a large tree with a perfect child-sized hallow greeted me. Beyond that, there were little ones riding a metal bicycle carousel as others played about on the simple climbing structure. On the other side of the small park, a quiet birthday party was taking place. I relished in the simplicity and peacefulness of it all.
There was a lot of dirt, grass, and modest equipment for exploration. As I had witnessed over the past several days, children seemed more independent and free to discover and learn on their own. As I looked around, I realized that for a few moments I did not feel like a tourist. I felt like a Swede, and it was wonderful! That is, until I realized the view. That is when I fumbled for my camera, in awe of the brilliance before me!
I had not known it at the time, but I had stumbled upon Ivar Los Park, established in the 1930s and named for Swedish author Ivar Lo-Johansson. Two 17th century houses stood on the plot previously, and I could spend hours imagining what life must have been like living atop that cliff of Sodermalm!
There, overlooking Riddarfjärden (translation: The Knight Firth or Knightly Bay), the vast panoramic views of Stockholm appeared before me with heavenly splendor. The history beneath my feet, the beauty ahead and the spontaneous magnificence of the morning became apparent, and I felt wholly grateful.
I took one last look at Stockholm from above and bid her adjö (click to hear translation). I turned to leave the park and continue on my spontaneous walking tour, which was turning out to be quite the adventure! Winding my way through the streets that Sunday morning I was suddenly intrigued by an angelic sound. After turning a corner and down a staircase I finally determined the source. There on the corner was a small white church, and drifting from an open window was the most beautiful Swedish harmony I had heard. All of the voices together sang praises of thankfulness and love, and I couldn’t help but sit and grasp the moment, thankful too for my fortune!
Tune in next week as my impromptu walking tour adventure in Stockholm continues, plus a whole lot more! This Scandinavian Travelogue is nearing the end, but you can read it from the beginning here. And if you want even more, please visit the Scandinavian Travel pinterest page for pinworthy pictures, insights and travel ideas!
Upcoming Danish Home Events:
Join The Danish Home Foundation at the Drury Lane Theater on Sunday, September 18th for their Annual Benefit where the Dagmar Sisterhood Lodge #4, the Dania Society and the Danish American Athletic Club will be awarded the annual Essence Award.