AUGUST 11: Today was our Skansen day.  We have been as a family at least twice before and we still have only begun to scratch the surface.  It’s impossible to grow tired of Skansen or to be bored by repeated visits — there is so much to see and do and it’s so incredibly serene.  Well, except for the having to keep track of lively children part.

First we had to eat some lunch.  Along the road to Skansen, we found a nice outdoor cafe that served the usual kiosk fare as well as a handful of Thai dishes.  Thomas had his usual korv (hotdog) and Lucy and Isaac (predictably) ordered plain hamburgers sans all condiments.  Also predictably, they ate very little.  David ordered the kebab plate, which turned out to be slices of meat next to french fries, all of which was decorated with ketchup and mayonnaise.  I chose the stir fried veggies with a side of rice, which was fine but didn’t resemble the photo on the cafe stand with its wide assortment of different vegetables.  I got mainly peppers and onions.

Lunch outside Skansen

We made quick work of lunch and then moved on.  Our favorite way to enter Skansen is by riding the funicular railway located at the side entrance.  It’s not very crowded and how often do you get to ride on a funicular?

Riding the funicular up the hill

The children don’t linger in one place quite long enough for us to read all the historical information in Skansen, but we usually manage to get a quick overview of the various homesteads and settlements.  The buildings, many of which are hundreds of years old, have been transported from all over Sweden and they are remarkably well preserved.

Checking out the entrance to this ancient structure

The kids and I spent a long time wandering around various homesteads and parts of the zoo by ourselves because just as we exited the funicular, David realized that he’d left the kids’ backpack at the outdoor cafe where we’d had lunch.  He had to ride back down the hill and look for it.  We thought we’d be able to meet up again if we stuck to the high roads near the zoo.  After hours of meandering around, I had just told the kids that we’d have to give up the idea of finding David in such a vast space when we spotted him coming over a small hill.  Pure luck, that was!

They put the kids to work shaking out rugs!

Pumping water & filling buckets

Lucy on the small horse

Thomas on the big one

Before we all walked down the hill to see the monkeys and the reptile house, the kids had a small snack.  Well, they had freshly spun cotton candy  (in Swedish, sockervadd) and I’m not sure that qualifies as a bona fide snack.  I can’t really blame them for wanting the stuff — I don’t like cotton candy and I still think this stuff is delicious!  The boys wanted to sit on a big rock where they’d sat eating cotton candy in 2009, but Lucy and I deviated from tradition and wandered over to a stage where there was some live music and a bunch of toddlers and young kids dancing around.

The Leif-Billyz Band

We talked the kids into riding only one ride (at 25 kronor a ride, so $3+!)  in the amusement park section by convincing them that the rides at Gröna Lund are far superior.  Plus, we needed to get to the lemur house.  For an extra fee (or free with the Stockholm Card!), you can walk up a path inside the lemurs’ cage.  You aren’t supposed to touch the animals (they might bite, of course), but you can get pretty close to them.  I watched one lemur reach out and touch a guy’s backpack.

Mama lemur with a little one

Lucy's brave in the reptile house

We were soooooooo tired by the time we dragged ourselves to the bus to the subway to walking the rest of the way home that we decided to eat leftover pizza and spaghetti in the apartment.  We’d re-learned a valuable lesson on a previous evening here in Stockholm — never take overly tired children out to dinner (!).  I wonder how many more times we’ll make that mistake?