Approved by the Stockholm Visitors Board

Today I am lobster red, the usual result of taking me outdooors. Yesterday my sister and I arranged a belated birthday celebration for our mother and took her on a day trip to Drottningholm Palace. Of course we went by steam boat: S/S Drottningholm.

Steamboats outside Stockholm City Hall

The much-praised Stockholm Archipelago is really the continuation of the islands, isles and islets in Lake Mälaren and I've always been very fond of travelling lakeside where the shores creep near the boat. It is also fascinating to know that what looks as dense pine forests in fact are just thin barriers in front of the most densely populated areas of Sweden. Shore protection laws are cool.

Denephew wasn't quite as appreciative of the beauty of water travel.
Denephew snoozes for all of 2.5 seconds.

Drottningholm Palace
Soon however we arrived at Drottningholm and found ourselves a spot on a lawn where we picknicked. The sister had bought a Kubb set and soon we had a closely fought game going. Denephew insisted on being on my team, which much flattered me, and he didn't do at all badly, but eventually we (or at least I, he wouldn't hear of it) had to concede defeat.

Then Denephew and I went to explore the Labyrinths. I found to my surprise that the hedges all had little passages just the size for five-year-olds to run through and leave any adults behind. I don't know if they have been created on purpose by the gardeners or if millions of visiting children over the years have excavated them. I tried to explain the principle “If you get lost, stay where you are!” to Denephew, but it didn't stick as the imperative to joyously run as fast as his little legs would carry him overruled all concerns about ever getting home again. Fortunately his high-contrast clothes allowed me to glimpse him every now and then through the hedges and thus retrieve him. When I tired of the run-and-seek I scooped up the little lad and carried him back to his parents who by then had collected our belongings in preparation for a tour of the palace itself.

As has been noted by others, children strongly prefer ice cream to ancient art so while I was very fascinated by the huge battle paintings with careful legends, I did not get much of a chance to study them. I was very bemused by the room full of Klöcker Ehrenstrahl portraits of Charles XI's generals, all looking exactly the same, followed by the room full of von Kraft portraits of Charles XII's generals, all looking exactly the same. (Sorry, no photography allowed indoors.) I will have to return at some point to study all these closer.

Denephew then got his Nazi ice cream and we boarded the boat for the trip home. On the way, Denephew and his father played guessing games:
“What's round and brown, you roll it and you can fry it?”
“An egg!”
I think the boy should have gotten full points for that, one must be precise.

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