This is my last morning, and I’m just about to pack up and head to the airport so that I can get the flight to Iceland. It’s raining today, and I’m lucky that I’ve had two nice weather days in Stockholm.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve actually run into people that I know. Yesterday, I got up and went to start my sightseeing by passing by the Bellman House where Carl Mikael Bellman, Sweden’s greatest poet and songwriter, lived in the 1700’s. Then, I went to Gamla Stan to go view the Royal Castle, and in line to get my ticket, I ran into Shreyas Patel, a friend I play bridge with in Boston. We knew that we’d both be here, but we hadn’t connected before we left to make plans. He was traveling here for a conference, and his mother was also with him, so we went and saw the Royal Apartments, which were quite impressive. After leaving there, I went off to see some other museums in the castle, then the Storkyrkan, which is the main royal church next to the castle. There, I saw some people I met in Norrköping when we were both doing research in the library. I then went and took a tour of the Riksdag, which is Sweden’s Parlament, and then went to the Music Museum, where I bought a special Swedish overtone flute (säjlflöjt), and then went to the main shopping area to try to find some books that I wouldn’t be able to get in Boston. I got almost all of what I wanted there, and then came home tired and at night Shreyas and I met at Den Gylldene Freden (the Golden Freedom) which is a tavern where Carl Mikael Bellman (noted above) used to drink. We had a cider there, and there was a man dressed in 17th century clothes with a guitar, and we found out that he’s a Bellman scholar and is very involved with the Bellman Society, and we exchanged information.
Next, Shreyas and I took a walk and went over to Riddarholmen, which is the small island to the west of Gamla Stan, and sat on the Evert Taube Terrassen (Evert Taube is another Swedish troubador from the early to mid 20th century) and viewed the sunset (at 10:15 p.m.) and the City Hall. We then went to a bar, and had another cider and talked with Jeff from Virginia who is living here for the summer, and also Gunnar, who’s a minister at a Lutheran Church in Östermalm, and originally comes from Lugnås, where my grandfather’s mother’s family is from.
Further in the small world department, I came down to breakfast in my hotel this morning, and there were two folkies from Boston that I know. Jan Elliot is a sword dancer and her husband Tim was at Pinewoods a couple of years ago when I went with Lynn Noel. They are here for a family reunion, so it’s just so funny that I’m running into people here.
Well, I’ve got to go pack and get ready to go to the airport. I should be able to write from Iceland. I’ve loved Sweden, but I’ve been traveling quite a bit, so I’m ready to start heading home.