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Day 3: Drottningholm Palace in the Rain



On the third day we had a meeting scheduled with our sister club in Stockholm to visit Drottningholm Palace. The baroque palace is located outside the city on Mälar lake. It can be reached by bus but the most pleasant way of getting there is a mini cruise on the lake ferry. The ferries depart next to Stadshuset at regular intervals. They are a means of public transport just like buses. The ferry lines are operated by small steamers which are about 100 years old.

Mälar lake is a maze of small, smaller and minuscule islands. I think there is more island surface than open water. It is part of the skerry landscape which is so typical for the coasts of Skandinavia. The islands consist of granite rocks that were shaped by the glaciers of the ice age.

The view from the air – photo taken during the flight home three days later – reveals the structure of this landscape.

Trees and shrubs are now growing on most of the islets. Any island big enough to build a house on will have holiday homes on it. The bigger islands are permanently inhabited. Looks like every Stockholmer family who can afford it owns a little house by the water for weekends and holidays, and a boat. People live on the water as well as on the land.

This could have been a really enjoyable boat ride. However, St Peter was not cooperating. This was the only day with really lousy weather during our stay – and the most weather dependent activity. All day the rain was pouring. In other words: Gah!



Well, there is no bad weather, there is only wrong clothing. Thus we did not let the rain stop us. Since we had the appointment with the Stockholm club, we were unable to switch plans. We made the best of it. On the boat we stayed mostly indoors. Only the most passionate photographer in the group, i. e. yours truly, ventured out onto the back deck every now and then to catch some pictures. And we tried some photo experiments involving the raindrops on the windows.


Drottningholm Palace is beautifully located on the lakeshore. The main palace dates from the 1680s. It is surrounded by wide baroque gardens and a landscape park. Originally it served as a pleasure and summer palace. The present royal couple, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, chose it as their permanent home in order to escape the hustle and bustle of central Stockholm and the tourist hordes. They inhabit the southern wing, which is widely fenced off and heavily guarded. Of course we stared, but all we got to see was a car leaving the grounds which transported, perhaps, the royal shopping bag or something like that.
The side wing where the Royal family actually live

The guards were not too attentive... They did not even notice King Kong sitting on the roof of the palace!

Our Swedish fellow members met us at the boat landing. We were greeted with a glass of champagne. They had organized a tour of the baroque theatre for us. Then we had lunch together at the restaurant next to the palace.

The Baroque Theatre


Drottningholm Slottsteater, opened in 1766, is even more famous than the palace: It is one of the very rare examples of 18th century theatre buildings in Europe which are completely preserved, including all furnishing, stage settings, and one of but three that still have the original stage machinery. The other two are Gotha (Germany) and Cesky Krumlow (Czech Republic) – I had visited the other two previously. The original machinery and settings are used for mostly opera performances to this very day.

A strict “no photo” policy applies, hence no images of the interior here. We could not see the stage from behind because there were rehearsals going on. However, we got to hear an opera singer who is a great star in Sweden (I forgot his name, sincere apologies).


The Park



After lunch we had to make a tough choice due to time constraints: Either see the interior of the palace or go for a walk in the park to see the architectures of the landscape garden. I would have liked to do both but that wasn’t possible. I chose the latter because I wanted to see the Chinese palace. One of the Stockholm ladies took the role of the guide.

The middle part of the baroque garden was roped off. A lonely jackdaw played sentinel on a pole and happily posed for photos. He probably hoped to be rewarded with some treats, but we had nothing for him.


The outer areas are a landscape park with magnificent old oak trees and wide meadows. The light green colour of grass and spring leaves looked beautiful even in the rain.

We were shown the hedge theatre in the garden, the tent for the guards which is a wooden building that imitates a tent, and finally the Chinese palace (Kina slott).


The garden palace is in fact a rococo building, erected in 1753–1769, but its ornaments and decorations give it an oriental appearance. Chinese culture and architecture were highly en vogue in the 18th century. Everyone collected china from the orient and everyone wanted at least a “Chinese” room, better a tea house or garden pavillon in their palace gardens. These are not copies of authentic Chinese architecture, though, but rather fantasies of a distant, exotic dreamland.

“Peer pressure” did not permit seeing the interior, though. Ah the woes of group travel…


In one of the side buildings, a wood turner’s workshop with all tools is on display. It belonged to a Swedish king who enjoyed woodturning. This was more than a leisurely “hobby”. It was interpreted as a symbol for the powers of the absolutist ruler, who turned the wood into perfect shape just like his state, society and the land.


Because of the rain we decided not to bother with the ferry ride again but to take the bus back into the city. We stopped for coffee and a quick look at Kulturhuset, but we were all too exhausted to do it justice. The rest of the day was taken easy. I did not even take any more photos in the afternoon, which is always a bad sign…

View of Sergels torg from the café on the top floor of Kulturhuset

Posted by Kathrin_E 08:44 Archived in Sweden

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Gee! Even better photos mate.... if that's possible :)
Like the inclusion on King Kong Russell haha ;)
On and the rain drops against the window photo is supurb!

by aussirose

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