© 2015 mikeandbrynne

Stockholm

Following a breakfast of hearty buckwheat scones and a refreshing dip in a nearby waterfall we spent our lunchtime hour in the last area of Mike’s mission, Uppsala.  A popular college town we were particularly entranced by the Gothic cathedral that lies in the center of town.  Anxious to get to the beautiful capital city of Sweden we read mission journals while we drove downtown.

Our waterfall detour-

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Uppsala Cathedral-IMG_8656

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At 2 million residents, Stockholm is the largest of the Scandinavian cities.  It is a perfect combination of water, nature and architecture.  Quickly, we all fell in love with Mike’s favorite city.  Our first stop was the famous Vasa museum.  An incredible work of “art” masquerading as a war ship.  Built with uncompromising specifications from Gustav Aldophus, Sweden’s famous “Lion of the North”, it was far too narrow and high to handle the currents and winds of seafarying.  In fact, this intricate vessel sunk within 20 minutes of setting sail right in the Stockholm harbor.  333 years later, it was brought back to the surface of the water and was once more a site to behold.  It took years to preserve and protect, but it now stands as the best preserved ship of it’s day.  Indeed, it is almost like a time capsule into the past.  Being much more unfamiliar with Swedish history than either Mike or Taylor after his AP European history class, I didn’t realize that Gustav Aldophus considered himself on the same playing field as the Roman emperoros of old.  In fact he had the bow of his ship decorated with the famous Roman emperors minus Augustus Caesar.  He saw HIMSELF as Augustus Caesar so he didn’t feel a need to put another Augustus on his boat.  Incredible pride.  Wow.

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Remaining in our time warp we visited the world’s supposed best and largest out door air museum, Skansen.  Arriving later than we had hoped, many of the homes were closed, but we were able to visit a variety of ancient houses from different areas across Sweden.  Luke and Drew’s favorite portion were the Scandinavian animals and Drew took loads of pictures of his favorites.

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From the past we drove through the beautiful harbor to yet another look at history.  We met one of  Mike’s favorite friends from the mission, Glen Ekelund, for a local tour through Gamla Stan—the old quarter.  We learned of struggles and conflicts between Denmark, Sweden and Norway, of Gustav Vasa who brought Sweden back together (not without plunder and blood shed), the beheadings that took place at the hands of the Danes, the City Hall where the Nobel Laurete and Science prizes are decided and given, the Royal Palace where we watched the changing of the guard, the lock system that ends in the harbor,  and the smell of waffle cones that waffes through the entire area.  Mmmmmmmm…….

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Drew rubbing the head of the tiniest statue in Stockholm; it’s a little boy that is supposed to bring good luck.  Local residents fit him with tiny wool caps in the winter so he won’t get cold.IMG_8770

The square where the beheadings took place-it is said that the white squares in the red building represent those that died in the struggle for independence in this courtyard.
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Selflessly, Glen housed and entertained us for our two day stay in Stockholm—he even gave up his own bed, served us Swedish pancakes, and created an amazing BBQ for both his kids and ours.  We had a wonderful relaxing time.  If truth be told, we had planned to go back into Stockholm and enjoy the city, but Glen tempted us with a day at the beach and we quickly succumbed.  The kids had never swam in the Baltic and enjoyed a quick frigid dip in the seaside followed by some incredible jumps off the highest platforms I had even seen at another seaside venue.  It must have taken Jake 20 minutes standing on the top platform working up the courage to jump following his brothers’ lead.  Disliking cold water, but wanting to be a fun mom, I managed a weak jump off the second tier.  The kids and Mike have a lot more guts than I do.  Luckily, Daisie agreed to jump off with me.  🙂  Great day.

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What made it even greater was that Mike and Taylor got to do baptisms in the Stockholm temple in the morning and in the evening came one of the highlights of the trip for me. Thinking that all of our family history work had been done, Jake had managed to find nearly 40 Scandinavian ancestor names for temple work.  As a family we decided that we wanted to get all the temple work done for these ancestors so that we could bring them back to Sweden and have them sealed in the Stockholm temple.  Taylor and Jake did all the baptisms and confirmations, Mike and I did the initatories, and with help from our friends we finished all the endowments.  It was a wonderful experience to get to seal all those family members together in the Stockholm temple.  Icing on the cake.  Loved it.  Grateful for all the sacrifces of our Scandinavian ancestors.

 

We are terrible at good-byes and at staying on a schedule.  Nearly every day we have arrived FAR too late at our destinations.  If it didn’t stay light until nearly midnight we would never have gotten to see all that was on our agenda. The kids had far too much fun with Glen’s kids and stayed out past midnight making an early morning departure difficult.  As it was we enoyed our breakfast with Glen and hated to leave his cozy home.  Yet, more friends and adventures awaited so we packed our bags and headed back to the south west coast of Sweden where the two last areas of Mike’s mission resided-Goteborg and Trollhatten.

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