Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Post #200 The End of the Adventure

The movers come tomorrow to pack up our stuff, including this computer.
So this is the end of the Allen Family Adventure blog.

It has been every imaginable adjective, from wonderful to terrible. From easy to hard. But without question, a life altering experience for our entire family of which I would not change one moment.

Monday, 29 June 2009

AFA Stockholm - Our hotel

I picked our hotel in Stockholm because it was:
1. Close to the train station where we arrived
2. Close to the subway
3. On the main island
4. Close to the train station where we would connect to the airport when departing
5. And most important, it was inexpensive and clean

Much to our surprise, posted in the lobby, was this sign indicating that the Beatles had stayed here on their first tour.

AFA - Sweden The Vasa

The Vasa was a great warship the Swedes built in 1628 for the war with Poland. It was to be one of the most powerful ships ever built, with two rows of cannons. It was launched with great ceremony, sailed less than one mile - about 20 minutes - a breeze came along and blew it over - and it sank. Most of the crew, including the captain, survived as there were a bunch of ships close by. Naturally they blamed the captain, the captain blamed the ship builder - and luckily for him, he was already dead. So no one took the blame.
They recovered it in the 60's, restored it to it's present condition and put it in the Vasa Museum.

AFA - Sweden Giraffes

Aren't these cool? Cranes painted like giraffes.

Christina's Bod & Salong

I don't know what it is, but with a name like that, it has to be the best in Stockholm!

AFA Zealand - Frederiksborg Palace

This is known as the 'Versailles of the North', and for good reason. In some ways, it is even better. It is set on three little islands in the middle of a lake and therefore is surrounded by water. The setting is spectacular.
This was originally built by Frederick II, but rebuilt to it's over-the-top grandeur by our favorite Danish king, King Christian IV.

The left is the view from the courtyard out front, the right is from Hillerod, the city it adjoins.

The back yard is not too shabby either, that is a fountain running down those 'steps.'

This is the great hall, pretty darn great!

A couple of miscellaneous rooms, check out the ceiling!!

These windows knocked me out. Look at the little panels surrounding the window. The first shot is a whole window, the second gets a little closer and the third even closer.

Of course he has his own chapel down the hall. Simply breathtaking.

Look at the incredible alter piece.

Interestingly, they had the coats of arms of the various Danish royalty all over the walls. Plus they had this one, former President of the US, Ike Eisenhower.

AFA Zealand - Roskilde Cathedral

Road trip!! We decided to head outside of Copenhagen to explore Zealand, the island that Copenhagen is on. It is the largest island in Denmark - they don't count Greenland since it is just a territory. The legend is that the goddess Gefion (or something in Danish that sounds like that) went to the king of Sweden and asked for land. He said, "Okay, you can have all the land you can plow in one night." Not to be outdone by a human, she turned her four sons into giant oxen and plowed a massive piece of Sweden that the king had to give her. She made it the island of Zealand. It is said that if you look at a map of Sweden, the largest lake, Vanern, is shaped like Zealand because that's where the land came from.

Here is the famous statue of Gelfion.

The first thing you think about when riding through the countryside is that it is just beautiful, and looks a lot like the US countryside. Very clean. Wide, well kept roads. Not too congested. Very western looking houses and shopping areas. I could live here.

Roskilde was a big deal long ago in Danish history, the city dates back to Viking times. The cathedral was the first built of brick and set the style for much of northern Europe in the following centuries. 38 of the Danish Kings and Queens are buried there, including our favorite, King Christian IV.

Here's a look down the main aisle & notice the picture on the right. See anything weird? Some of the seats face backwards. Don't know why.

Look at this alterpiece. Absolutely amazing workmanship. It folds together like a book.

And then King Christian IV - his tomb room

On the left is King "C" as a pirate. On the right just gives you an idea of the size and majesty of this one wing dedicated to this one King.
Okay, to be completely truthful, there is more to the story than he just liked to get painted as a pirate. He commanded his navy in a decisive battle, and in the battle his ship was hit and he lost his eye in the explosion. He lept up, wrapped a rag around his head, shouted "AARRRR!!!", and won the day. (I made up the "AARRRR")

Check out the columns. They are NOT 3-D. They are really, really well done paintings.