Before heading to Stockholm I had gone online to see what kind of stuff I could do or if there were any events on during the time I was there. Many of the boat tours out to the archipelago end in September, as do some of the wildlife tours to the surrounding forest, so my options were limited. I did however decide that I needed to go to the Skansen Open-Air Museum on the island of Djurgarden. And once I knew it was open on Sundays, I thought I would spend Sunday exploring this little gem of an attraction.
Skansen Open-Air Museum is the oldest open-air museum in the world. They have managed to bring buildings and artefacts from around Sweden to one location, and from various times throughout Sweden’s history, to set up a village that people can wander around in. I had scoped out the ferry terminal the night before so I knew when the ferries left and how much they were. And when the museum opened at 10, I was on a ferry heading over. The 15 minute journey, including one stop on another part of Djurgarden was smooth, the waters of the Baltic Sea not angry in the least.
After departing the ferry, right beside Stockholm’s amusement park (eerily closed for the winter and looking depressing), I followed the tram tracks past another O’Leary’s Irish Pub and up to the main road. If I would have gone left I could have paid a visit to the Abba Museum, and what your mother doesn’t know … I shall resist all Abba puns. Turning right it was a quick walk to Skansen. While the attraction was open, most of the buildings do not open until noon. I spent much of my journey just looking at the outside of the buildings and peering in the windows. But if I’m honest, my main reason for going was the Scandinavian animals exhibit at the museum/zoo. While I am happy to view old buildings and read about the history and heritage (seriously, that stuff really is cool to me), I think anyone who has read my blog knows I am happy to spend an infinite amount of time observing animals. One building was open when I arrived, and the sign outside that read “Bakery” was almost as enticing as the smells wafting through the low timbered door frame. Fresh out of the oven, I had to decide between an apple pastry and a cinnamon twisty thing. Naturally I purchased both. Nothing tastes better than pastry fresh from the oven. NOTHING!!!
Some of the buildings on display
I found a secluded spot to look at my map of the museum because, well, you know, I can’t let people know that men can read maps or seek directions. I then proceeded to follow the trusty sign posts dotting the paths (although I used my peripherals to again make it look like I wasn’t following directions) until I came across the first of the animal enclosures – the wolf. People were looking down into the enclosure in every direction hoping for a glimpse. People were disappointed. The weather was working in our favour as well. Cool and cloudy so the animals wouldn’t have to seek shelter from the blistering sun. I spotted two wolves beneath some branches and overturned logs. Too dark and blurry for a photo, but as I tried to explain where the wolves were to anyone who asked, I felt that my years trying to spot animals on several continents had paid off. The wolverines at the next enclosure were being decidedly tricky to find. So I moved on. They had bison and wild boars, all rather boring looking and clumped too close together for a really nice photo. Next up was the lynx, and I observed two sunning themselves on a rock as the clouds parted briefly. A couple photos later I was at the enclosure with the bears. Four of them. Two were having a most excellent play fight. Although it did start off like they were kissing. The museum has moose and reindeer as well. The moose weren’t very cooperative and just lay around. But who’s going to tell a moose to get up and stop being lazy? Maybe Rocky, but Bullwinkle is a different story altogether. Not wanting to leave without a good photo of the lynx, the wolves, and the wolverine, I kept walking between each enclosure with hopes things had changed. The lynxes rewarded me first. The museum has 7 of them, including a cub born in May. I’ll post her photo another time.
The bears have a pretty sweet view
One of the workers was talking to me about the lynxes and mentioned that she fed the wolverines about 10 minutes ago, and they usually stay pretty active just after lunch time. There was only one place for me to go. I’ve never seen a wolverine in the wild. My dad has. A wolverine stared down his tour bus in Colorado once. The driver ended up reversing as the animal just stood on its hind paws and made menacing faces at the bus. I saw the girl first (shorter tail), just as she decided it was nap time again and curled up in a ball in front of me. The male was hyper. It was hard to get a good photo as he constantly moved from one spot to another, never really staying still for long. But I got this one of him and his lunch. Not too bad. And then the wolves made an appearance to cap it off. Happy that I got what I came to see, I went to look for their African and Exotic animals exhibit to see what that was about.
They had monkeys, snakes, various reptiles and amphibians, and everyone’s favourite – the meerkat. They also had a caged in enclosure you could walk through that was home to 19 lemurs. When I walked through, one lonely lemur sat on the food trough, the other 18 tucked away in boxed shelters watching. I snapped a few photos and walked up the pathway towards the boxes. I stood and took photos of the area below me when I noticed the boxes starting to empty. I stood as the first of the lemurs walked past me, gently tugging on my jeans to let me know not to step to my right. They all seemed pretty inquisitive so I had an idea. I took out my phone and set up. This happened.
Definitely a Canon user!
A great way to end the visit to a really informative and wonderful place. I had a late lunch in the pub while I watched more football, and once I returned to the island of Gamla Stan, I wandered around some more until it was time for dinner and helped myself to a nice big portion of pork ribs. Before heading home, I stopped in a venue with a live band playing. While I don’t like jazz music too much, I must say, the singer had a great voice.
The view on the ferry ride home
Gamla Stan at night
Back at the boat, I had no roommates to contend with so I had an even better night’s sleep. Tomorrow would be my last full day in Stockholm and I had an idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize it would be a bit of an adventure getting to do it.