Traveling Through History At Skansen, The World’s First Open-Air Museum

He’s been known to think of museums as a great place to nap, but enjoys the activity inherent in open-air museums.  Founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, Skansen was the world’s first open-air museum.  It is a great place to visit with kids, as big kids we enjoyed it too.  It was great to be out in the sun on a nice spring day and we saw tons of cool stuff.

The golden pretzel is the sign for bakeries.

How could he nap when there were fresh baked goods?

Skansen is a time machine.  It has 150 houses that were relocated from different parts of Sweden to form a medieval city.  Most of the houses have museum staff dressed in costume ready to answer questions, tell the stories of the buildings and giving demonstrations.  There are demonstrations on glass-blowing, netting, sheep-sheering, how to make bread, how to produce various handicrafts, etc.  We even bought coffee (coffee again, quelle surprise) from a costumed lady in a 19th century house.

The staff are one of the things that make Skansen so special They are everywhere and do a lot to enrich visitors.  In addition to the standard imparting knowledge, musicians perform folk melodies.  Dancers teach people folk dances.  Staff drive visitors around the complex in a horse and carriage.  People in traditional costumes walk along the streets and do traditional everyday tasks.

Skansen has a zoological part with domestic and wild local animals.  In addition to the normal farm animals, there are Scandinavian animals such as lynxes, wolves, bears, wolverines, reindeer and seals.  We happened upon them at feeding time  (around 2:00 p.m.).

Skansen is fun for kids, big ones, like us.

 

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The Case of the Exploding Banana

No room for Costco products here
The Swiss have grocery stores everywhere, neighborhoods have markets multiple times a week and there are tons of corner stores. Why?  They have small fridges.* Even when they have larger ones, they buy only their food for a day or two at a time. In the US, I shopped in bulk. I tried to grocery shop once a week, but if I still had milk and bananas I would push it.
When we arrived, I went grocery shopping for the first time. I bought the largest bunch of bananas they had because that’s what I did in the states. When we arrived home the next day, things smelled funny. I had left my new bananas near the window in the kitchen.  Several of them exploded.** When you food is picked for taste and isn’t crammed full of preservatives, it just doesn’t last as long. Go figure.

*Swiss appliances are very small. I believe the standard width is 55 cm (don’t quote me on this, I haven’t gotten out the measuring tape). Here is a link to apartment differences, including the small appliances.

**We now keep our fruit in a bowl in our entry hall because it is the darkest room in our apartment. I’d put some of it in the fridge, but it is too small.