images by myself (sony NEX5N)
Behold Skansen of Stockholm! an open air museum of traditional buildings and customs of historical Sweden. It took me a whole 4 hours at least to see it all. The map is provided upon entry and you soon realise how difficult this would be to see all of it as it is circular and has many many paths within the circle. I don't understand how parents have the energy to take their kids to such a place, it involves alot of walking, screaming, scraped knees, dropped ice creams and plenty of "don't touch that" warnings.
I completely jeopardised my place in the ice cream line to save a poor defenceless chicken from an unattended brat who was charging a stroller into the poor thing. Children are so destructive and typical Swedes just stand there and don't act. Such a timid bunch. I tried to form myself back in the line, but if there is one thing I have learned well here is that Swedes are terrible with public courtesy (getting on and off public transport, brushing by at festivals aka getting almost knocked over, letting you back in line...) Speaking of public courtesy, to de-bunk my accusation I will talk about a trip on the train with Ingela a little further ps: it's a story that involves some heavy racism/xenophobia, so that should keep you on your toes.
I really enjoyed this place because it really explained to me about European lifestyle way before Australia was even colonised, this really is some old history. Basically the Skansen attraction park is made up of Scandinavian animals like otters, elk, wolves and gorgeous owls, and replica farmsteads which you can walk into and interact with a realistic person-of-the-time. The actors are paid to pretend live and work around Skansen, and provide information to visitors about their surrounding homes, belongings, tools such as looms and glass blowing machinery, food, livestock and much more. House design varied across Sweden from Sami teepee-like mud and log huts, to giant rectangular wood cabins, to log cabins on stilts. Most of these early homes looked very cold and very susceptible to harsh weather. It's safe to say the contemporary swedes live quite comfortably today.
Overall Skansen was tiring but a very pleasant educational way to see medieval Swedish lifestyle and iconic Swedish native animals.
I was unfortunately exposed to a very sad and intense racial attack on the train the other day with my host mother Ingela. I noticed a slimey old man walk onto the train and I knew from the very beginning he was trouble, I just sensed it. Sitting beside, but opposite from the aisle was a young African muslim female pleasantly talking on her mobile beside him. She was obviously different from everyone on the train due to her skin colour and hijab, which, beside her language (i'm guessing she was speaking in an Arabic or native African language) were the probable triggers that set this guy off.
His arm suddenly swung over and hit the woman in the chest/belly and she wailed in shock and shielded herself from the drunk man. Everyone was so shocked and scared. He then went on to rant on about the woman, yelling and raising his hands out of anger, but I could not understand as it was all in Swedish. By this stage if I could understand I would have been standing in front of the woman, protecting her. Everyone just stared at first (typical Swedes) except a young man who was telling the drunk man off for his foolishness. Then Ingela got up and started to threaten the man to call the police if he did not stop. The old drunk then stood up and got very defensive towards Ingela, spluttering out what I would imagine, horrible words and almost hitting her until the young man grabbed him and threw him out of the train carriage which was super brave of him. Ingela and I left at the same station so I have no idea how the young Muslim girl was but everyone was pretty shocked. I hope they consoled her. But I was very proud of Ingela for being a great person for that woman when everyone else sat down.
I just wanted to write this to remind myself how harsh minority groups have it in the world in certain places. The minority is always the abused and discriminated against in any society. Racism and xenophobia makes me sick. I hope I don't have to see it again in this wonderful country. But it exists here in Sweden, even where equality is boasted as one of the best in the world.