A few of the bigger museums in Stockholm have closed, temporarily, following government guidance here in Sweden. This is the fault of the pandemic. And they closed yesterday, ahead of our first day out and about.
The one museum we really wanted to visit was the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet), having been given rave reviews about it from various quarters. I also quite fancied the Nordic Museum (Nordiska museet) but we were out of luck.
Or were we?
We had planned to visit Djurgården, where the Vasa and Nordic museums are, but, given there were other places open and it’s a beautiful parkland filled island, we decided to still go.
The plan was to get a bus then a ferry then visit the first open museum we encountered. The first two were easily accomplished. However, instead of the first museum (ABBA), we skipped it and visited the Liljevalchs art gallery instead.
Liljevalchs had a wonderful exhibition of the works of Hilding Linnqvist. Hilding first exhibited at Liljevalchs in 1916 and, at the time, critics said he was a load of old toss. Hilding ignored them and kept painting. Eventually, the critics realised he was the leading naïvist of his time and a genius.
I’d never heard of him before today. (I actually thought he was a she.) But I really like his work. He worked a lot in France, in particular in Chinon, a place I’ve visited twice. It’s the place that I visited a second time (WA17) not realising I’d already visited it before.
He seems to have also gone through a few different styles of painting during his career. In particular, I rather like his Expressionistic period.
Mind you, like everyone else in the gallery, the biggest and brightest was the tapestry from Stockholm library called Swedish sailors in a foreign port. It was woven by Dana Bilde (and her team) in 1930-32 and Linnqvist painted the original figures on card.
It was on one wall of the cafe and it just made everyone smile.
This section, according to Mirinda, features me as an old sailor.
Personally, I know I have a big nose but I don’t think it’s quite as hooked as the chap in the tapestry.
To be honest, I think I would have loved seeing just about any art. I have been a bit culturally starved since February. I would normally have been to numerous exhibitions at the various Tates, National and Haywood galleries but, of course, they have been closed. Hilding Linnqvist was a wonderful antidote.
From the Liljevalchs we only had to walk a few minutes, and we were at the open front doors of the Viking Museum.
What an amazing place. Similar in a lot of ways to the Jorvik Centre in York, the Viking Museum aims to correct the record when it comes to the Vikings. This is particularly true when it comes to the role of women in the society.
All the staff have degrees in either archaeology or history and are very knowledgeable. They also really seem to love the place.
Like Yorvik, there is a magical ride which follows Ragnfrid’s saga. It is a made up story but features a lot of actual Viking facts woven into a huge adventure. You sit in a little ‘car’ and go around the track, following Ragnfrid’s husband Harald as he encounters all manner of baddies and misfortune. Definitely one attraction not to miss.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Viking Museum and highly recommend the experience for kids of all ages. Even 64 year old ones.
By this time it was almost time to eat though not before we took a stroll through a graveyard (Galärvarvskyrkogården) not far from the Vasa and Nordsk museums. Awash with autumn leaves and the reddest acer I’ve ever seen, families lit small candles at the memorials to their loved ones.
This is what happens around All Saints Day (tomorrow) every year. And, apparently, the little flickering lights are quite magical come the night. There was also a lot of people there. We left for a restaurant that Mirinda had decided looked nice and expensive.
Wärdshuset Ulla Winbladh was originally an inn back in 1897 and has always served traditional Swedish food. Naturally, we had to have some of that. And their boast that they “…treat people as kings and kings as people.” is at least half true.
I was having herring for main course, so I chose gravad lax for entrée. Mirinda, on the other hand, decided to go with the herring plate. This consisted of five different herring varieties.
Naturally, I had to help her finish. We are really loving the herring.
For her main course, Mirinda had Swedish meatballs, which she said were delicious. My baked herring stuffed with caviar and anchovies, sprinkled with cheese was exceptionally delicious.
In fact, the savoury was so good, we didn’t bother with dessert. Mirinda claimed this was a first for her as there’s always room for a bit of after-dinner sugar.
We left overjoyed with our day. We headed down to the ferry and headed back to Nacka Strand. Mirinda heroically took the cable car with me rather than climb up the sheer cliff that is the staircase up from the ferry port.
We walked up to the bus stop where the 840 bus had dropped us so many pleasant hours ago. It was then that the day went downhill a bit.
I had forgotten to check when the buses stopped running. It seems that the 840 stops at 16:40 on a Saturday. It was closer to 18:00 when we returned.
Checking out the remaining routes, we could get back by using three (or four) different buses which would take us over 90 minutes. Mirinda, aided by the always close spirit of Evil Nana, managed to download an app and ordered a taxi.
It almost spoiled a perfect day. Almost.
In the meanwhilst, the girls were busy helping the Perfect Swedish Family work following a total of three walks. Not spoiled at all.
Also, Sean Connery died today which is a bit of history gone.
Today, this happened
Today marks the last successful cavalry charge in history. It happened in 1917, at the Battle of Beersheba. It occurred when the Egyptian Expeditionary Force beat and captured the Yildirim Army Group. It was during this decisive allied victory that the Australian Mounted Division’s 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments charged forth and, bayonets in hand, managing to capture the town of Beersheba.
The Australian Mounted Division had only been formed in January 1917. It was made up of two Australian Light Horse brigades, two British Yeomanry brigades, and a British horse artillery brigade. It was formed in Egypt.
The victory at Beersheba began the Southern Palestine Offensive of the Sinai and Palestine campaign of World War I.
Donald Cameron, the commander of the 12th Light Horse Regiment said:
It was clear to me that the job had to be done before dark, so I advised galloping the place as our only chance. I had some experience of successful mounted surprise attacks on the Boer camps in the South African war.
So, charge they did. They started slow then gradually sped up as they approached the enemy trenches. They started to be fired on but their own rear gunners stopped the guns.
Eventually, leaving the rest of the division to finish off the enemy, the 12th Light Horse headed into Beersheba and took it. Unfortunately, this fact has almost been forgotten by history. This is due to a misreport back to the UK which omitted the splendid and brave work by the 12th Light Horse on October 31, 1917.
And for that reason, I’m omitting the British arse who decided to ignore their valiant and successful effort.