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Four Museums and a Birthday

It is Brent’s birthday, so I must seize the moment and tell everyone how much I love him: lots and lots. More every day, in fact. I feel lucky to have such a smart man in my life, one I respect as well as love.

He is still building network stuff, so we aren’t celebrating as such today. We did a little celebrating before we left home and we’ll do a bit more before we leave Sweden. I am slowly introducing my theory of proper birthday celebration: it should begin early and last as long as possible.

Did I mention that Brent is wonderful and makes me happy? He is and does. End of mushy stuff, for now.

***

In other news, I continued my Stockholm adventures. My feet are swathed in band-aids and antibiotic ointment for the blisters I achieved yesterday while looking swankier. Today I wore tennies, which were more comfortable if less stylistically appealing.

I began my journey by checking out the town hall, the place they hold the Nobel banquet every December. The banquet is in the less ornate of the halls, the one called the Blue Room, even though it is basically red from the bricks. There was a budget mess during the building and the blue-painted granite the architect had wanted was too expensive. It’s a very nice room, blue or not. Upstairs, however, is one of the fanciest rooms I’ve ever seen. It has 14 million or so mosaic tiles on the walls, at least half of them gold.

Gold was one of the main attractions at the Historiska Museet as well. Those Vikings were good at collecting gold and silver and they were not afraid to wear bold pieces of jewelry. Well, of course not: they were Vikings.

What it meant to be a Viking was one of the questions asked in the exhibits. There was a lot of food for thought about how and why we view objects in museums and who creates our history and how lenses change over time. I have spent a fair amount of time thinking about the concepts because of an exhibit I saw a long time ago at the Berkeley Art Museum in which a model skeleton was displayed in a vitrine with the descriptive tag “Someone’s Mother.” So many of the objects in the museum were recovered from burial sites.

The noble Wilhelmina von Hallwyl skipped the part about having all her things buried with her. She donated her entire house and contents to Sweden. I have never seen so many cups and saucers in one place ever before. Also swords, crossbows, military buttons, and family portraits. At least she was an organized pack rat who liked beautiful things.

The temporary outpost of the Medeltidsmuseet was on the way home. I have a thing for the middle ages, all that Chaucer affected my brain. The museum was teeny-tiny, but well-laid out and interesting. I particularly liked the medieval games set out for visitors to play: chess, backgammon, and a game I don’t remember the name of that involves pegs and jumping.

My brain is officially full now, so I’m going to relax with my sore feet elevated.

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