Liberate your inner troll

Prince Eugene (1865-1947) was the youngest son of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia. He was also a bit of a painter. Unlikely as it seems, his parents decided it was okay for a prince of the realm to sit and paint for a living. He specialised in landscapes. Wishy washy representations of various bits of Sweden. He was heralded as being quite the skilled artist but I’m not sure if that’s because he was a prince.

He also used the Prince’s Villa at Tyresö Slott for his summer house.

I’m not a fan of his art. But his house is something else.

That’s where we went today, the puppies having a wonderful time with The Perfect Swedish family. In fact, they wore them out. Not that unusual with Freya, I know, but possibly a first for Emma. When we dropped them off, in a lovely moment, Emma went to Tommy and let him pat her. I say ‘let’ but it was more like insistence.

We both thought that Tommy felt he’d made some sort of breakthrough with her. Obviously she loves Sara best but now, Tommy is allowed to actually touch her.

She was worn out at the start of walk number three. The two of them were being taken up the side road when they both sat down and refused to go any further. When Tommy turned around to head back home they were dragging him along, desperate to get to somewhere warm and sleepy.

In the meanwhilst, we were heading for Nacka Strand on the 840 bus then, after the long walk down the beautifully snow cleared stairs, stood waiting for the ferry to Djurgården. (The dark green figure at the halfway point in the photo below is Mirinda.)

Actually, we took every conceivable mode of transport today. The bus, ferry, train and, best of all, a tram. Yes, I’ve finally managed to catch a Stockholm tram. And, as most people I know are very well aware of, I do love a tram.

But, before we could even contemplate catching a tram, we had to have fika at our favourite café on Djurgården. It’s the Viennese style one, just around the corner from Gröna Lund which is still not open.

According to a big revolving sign, Gröna Lund is due to re-open on April 24 which seems to imply that it was just closed for the season rather than some sort of plague hysteria. Not that we’re particularly interested in going to a funfair. Though, as I pointed out to Mirinda, we have seen it open in an episode of Bonus Family when William is taken by Henrik and, a rather reluctant, Katja.

Having had a necessary cinnamon bun and, in my case, rather strong Czech beer, we headed for the tram and the beautiful Waldemarsudde, made even more so by the frozen bits of Stockholm Harbour along the shore.

But we weren’t there to admire the ice and snow, though there was a lot to admire, we were there to see trolls. And lots of them. We were there to visit an exhibition called Trollbunden or, in English Spellbound. (Though, when Mirinda says it, it more accurately translates to troll farmer.)

The exhibition was amazing. Lots and lots of trolls by various artists including such luminaries as John Bauer, Ernst Josephson, Theodor Kittelsen, Hugo Simberg, Agnes de Frumerie, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Louis Moe, among others. Under ‘others’ goes the works of Carl Larsson.

I’ve not been introduced to Larsson’s work before and fell in love with this Red Riding Hood.

The painting is so different to his other more, bucolic works. Red Riding Hood’s face is amazing. The painting is quite small and the brush strokes minute.

Possibly my favourite piece in the whole exhibition though, was by Louis Moe. Painted in 1924, Broom, Sweeping up the Trolls was delightful.

We spent a wonderful long time wandering Prince Eugene’s house before heading back to the tram and into Stockholm for the now traditional Linner.

We had decided to skip The Hairy Pig this week and try somewhere else. This was not easy. For instance, the first place we tried, a Lebanese restaurant which was, no exaggeration, completely empty, we were turned away because they were full.

Mirinda looked around at the perfectly set up but devoid of life restaurant and said as much to the woman telling her otherwise. The woman countered by saying it would be packed in 15 minutes. It may have been that the woman didn’t like the cut of our jibs. Whatever the reason, they did not get any of our money today.

We then wandered the cold and increasingly empty streets looking for somewhere to eat. It may have been because it was St Valentine’s Day but everywhere was either full or closed or, in the case of one rather funky looking brasserie, full of loud music.

We decided to catch a train then bus home where we had herring, cheese then bacon and eggs.

Ignoring the lack of a special Stockholm meal, it was a very magical day, full of great sights, great weather and, best of all, great art.

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