Drottningholm: the queen’s castle

Gunnar and Maria had the perfect idea for a Saturday outing: Drottningholm, the queen’s castle, is on the other end of the same island, thus right on our way back home through Stockholm. We borrowed their bus passes to get there (and nope, this is not one of the routes where they announce the stops by name, but we managed to make our change despite sitting on the wrong side of the bus to see the sign properly), and the family joined us for a pleasant afternoon of sightseeing in the royal park. Since Maria worked in the gardens there some years ago, we were privileged with insider commentary as well, and a tale of discussing lawnmowing with the king.

There’s a special exhibit on now about the history and care of the royal park, and about shipping produce from there into the market in Stockholm, so there were lots of really cool historical photos and bilingual placards. A favorite snippet, excerpted (and translated) from gardener Ebba Johansson’s diary:

1945, May 7: “WAR OVER! All church bells ringing — weed perennials and cut 700 dahlias.

Other highlights from our afternoon:

  • The castle interior — on second inspection, the grand stone pillars and walls are all artfully painted plaster. Cool! (no photos allowed inside)
  • Fika — we sat in a sunny courtyard for a lovely afternoon snack of waffles and hot chocolate.
  • The Chinese Pavilion — a gift to Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753, finished 1769. The several highly ornamented buildings feature ornate dragons fashioned from sheet metal.

At the end of the afternoon, our host family put us on the ferry to Stockholm. We dined in a nice restaurant in Gamla stan (elk meatballs with lingonberries!) before taking the train home to Tobo.

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