Sunday, 8 July 2012

Some more inspiring pictures from Scandinavia

It definitely wasn't all gloom and doom in Norway and Sweden.  My last post was just to show how really dispiriting a cold, cloudy and wet summer can be.

In Oslo, for example, there is a spectacular new opera house where you can walk on the roof

and from the roof admire the view

or stay out of the wind

Here's me, up on the roof, enjoying the play of lines, angles, textures and shadows

In Oslo there is also a wonderful open air museum of rural housing, the earliest example of which dates from the 13th century (yes, that means it is now around 750 to 800 years old).  As you can see, it has a tiny door, no windows 

and there was pretty much nothing inside, other than a hole in the roof to let the smoke out

This is what the woodpile might have looked like.  I bet they had more than one of these

This is an example of 19th century rural housing

with a 1950s updated kitchen.  It is very similar to one of the wwoof places I visited (but much, much cleaner)

This is a stave church (ie, a medieval wooden church) dating from 1212 and also at the outdoor museum.  There are still a small number of these dotted around the Norwegian countryside.

Those early Norwegians certainly knew a thing or two about wood carving

It took a thousand years for Christianity to get a foothold in Norway and before that, the Vikings had the run of the place.  That seems to be where the wood carving skills came from

And while the medieval stave church looks something like a viking ship, today's viking ship museum looks for the all the world like a church.  A funny kind of irony in that, I thought.

This is the outside and inside of a traditional Sami home.  The Sami are the indigenous reindeer herders who still live in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. 

Note the birch twig floor, much warmer than bare earth

At another museum in Oslo, I came across the cutest display of 'how things used to be' I think I have ever seen.  This is just part of it

I also came across this very blonde, blue eyed Madonna.  Not much like a woman from Nazareth really

and Inuit sunglasses

Like so many European cities, Oslo has some great apartment buildings close to the centre of town

This complex was particularly interesting and beautiful

Once I got to Sweden, I was amazed to see how much some of it looks like Australia.  Same kind of shopping centres and shopping enthusiasm

but also lots of shops that are more obviously Swedish

and plenty with funny names

I particularly liked this one and the staff's enthusiasm for the theme

Some of the merchandise on sale was interesting - dresses that surely no one would (or should) wear

pullovers that look like handknits but are not, and cost around €200 each

and, for that very special occasion, wooden apple cores (really very hard to imagine who would make and who would want these)

And again, lots of interesting architecture and streetscapes

and cute stuff in and around windows

I am sure lots of famous people have lived in Stockholm and there are probably plaques up everywhere telling you about them.  This is one I noticed and it was the decorative door frame I noticed first

I think therefore I am (and I am cold as well?)

Near the hostel I stayed at in Stockholm there is a fabulous garden allotment which has been operating for over a hundred years.  Some have vegetables and all have flowers.  It  must be a dream for people who love gardens but live in apartments.  The mini cottages are so well set up it's a wonder people don't live in them.  They do use them for picnics and evening meals though when the sun is out

There were also some very interesting and colourful street plantings.   Given the rainfall, they must be quite easy for the council to maintain but I did wonder if anyone is ever tempted to pick a bunch of flowers on their way to work or home

and how I wonder do they plant out this garden?  A job for the apprentice perhaps

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