Time for Part Two of my Sweden Two-Parter! My first Sweden post focused on food. This one is about everything else, including exercise. And ABBA!
On my first full day in Sweden, Katherine and I headed into Stockholm to check out the ABBA Museum. It’s technically called “ABBA the Museum” – and I have a great picture of the signage to prove it, but Katherine is in that picture, and I think she’d never talk to me again if I put a picture of her on the interwebs, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, or look it up for yourself.
ABBA the Museum is really well done. Located two floors underground, it features tons of costumes, memorabilia, and artifacts from the group’s heyday in the ’70s. They recreated the recording studio that the group built, as well as the rural cabin on a water where Benny and Bjorn wrote many of the songs.
There’s lots of opportunity for photo ops, too. You can pose with the wax figures, as I did above. You can sit in a replica of the helicopter featured on their “Arrival” album cover.
And you can even become an ABBA member!
POP QUIZ: What’s the name of the ABBA member that I replaced? Answer at the end of this blog post!
We headed back to into Stockholm the next day, and while Katherine’s sons attended a science class, Katherine and I walked around the neighborhood with Katherine’s friend Roshan (apologies if I’m spelling his name wrong). That’s where we came across some sculptures of tiny doors.
This is very near Birger Jarlsgatan, for those familiar with Stockholm.
In general, this was a very active trip. I exercised every day, including walking up at 6am the day I left, to get in a workout before leaving for the airport after breakfast. Peter let me borrow his bike, so on four of the five days, I went for bike rides. Katherine came on one. Stellan, my godson, joined me for another.
My daily bike rides lasted 45 minutes to an hour, and ranged from 6-10 miles. (I was conservative with my estimates, although some are based on plugging routes into Google Maps after the fact.)
The only day I didn’t ride Peter’s bike was the third and final day that Katherine and I headed into the city, because we planned an urban hike. We went to Lidingö, an island northwest of Stockholm’s city center, which is home to a lovely museum called Millesgården. But we got there early, before the museum opened, and went on a 5-mile, 90-minute walk along the water, through a couple neighborhoods, and along the edge of a forest. We even found stairs, which of course I ran up.
Then we explored Millesgården, which used to be the home of Carl Milles, one of Sweden’s most prominent sculptors. He gifted the land to the people of Sweden, and now it’s a museum and sculpture garden, featuring tons of his works.
It’s built on a bluff above the water’s edge, looking out over Stockholm’s harbor and the city beyond, and it’s a gorgeous place to hang out and spend a few hours.
The sculpture garden is spread out over multiple terraces, carved into the hillside, and guess what was there to help you get to the different terraces? STAIRS! Lots of ’em!
Three separate giant stone staircases, each with 70-75 steps.
You better believe I went up and down each one. I think my favorite was the one guarded, at the top, by two sculptures of giant wild boars.
In addition to creating his own works, Carl Milles was also an art collector, with a particular interest in antiquities, so part of his home was transformed into a gallery to show off his collection. This bust of the god Apollo is over 2,300 years old.
In addition to the biking and urban hike and museum stairs, there was other activity, too. Hanging out with a 6- and 8-year-old means you’re always on your toes. We spent part of one afternoon at the playground, where we played a little soccer, and I pushed four kids on a giant swing for what seemed like an eternity. Luckily for me, these boys loved the mazes that I kept drawing for them, so it was easy to hang out with them without running around nonstop, too.
It was sad to go back home, but I was had a fantastic time in Sweden. One final picture: I had a layover in Iceland on the way back, but it was only a couple hours – not a half-day, like on my way there. When my plane was taking off, the final thing I saw before Iceland disappeared as we headed out over the Atlantic was… a rainbow.
That made me smile as I nodded off to sleep.
Kidding. I can never sleep on planes. So that should really read: That made me smile as I turned my attention the Sudoku in the in-flight magazine.
Keep it up, David!
POP QUIZ ANSWER: Frida! (I also would accept Anna-Frid, her full first name.)
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