Thursday, December 24, 2015

Gamla Stan

The Christmas Market in the Stortorget Square in Gamla Stan.
Old Town is a fun place. Lots of old but well maintained buildings and delightful stores. Above is a view of the annual Christmas Market. Although we've been told (repeatedly) on the web that the Stockholm has some of the best markets, it didn't seem to be anything special. Compared to Vienna, it is small. The selection on Gamla Stan is very good, not extensive. Lots of toys and candy. Some choices of mulled wine and sausages, but these are more limited. Of course, compared to the gigantic "market" in Hyde Park, London, this is a backwater. The one in London is what it would look like in the US if we did such a thing - overdone, extensive, exhausting, wonderful, impressive, and expensive.

Here, it is more intimate with more of a family feeling. Interestingly,on one side of the square is the Nobel Museum. As you might imagine, it contains information on all the prize recipients as well as Alfred Nobel and his family.

Entrance to the Nobel Museum.
Also as you might imagine, it is the kind of place that having visited once, you need not go again. Not like going to the V&A or MOMA or the like, but worth having been there.

Not far down the street is the Storkyrkan, a beautiful church dating from at 1279. Legend has it that it was build by the founder of the city, Birger Jarl. The brick columns are quite striking as you see below.

The most famous part of the church is the statue of St. George and Dragon. This large wooden statue is attributed to Bernt Notke (1489). It really is quite striking.

St. George and the Dragon.
There is also an enormous pipe organ.

At the end of the day, heading back to the hotel/boat, we caught the moon over lake Mälaren. It was just shy of full and made a nice addition to the scene.

While it is approaching 70F on the East Coast, it is cooler here, although still pretty warm for this far north. No snow. Just the kind of city-silence you expect in a large city.