STORKYRKAN – DAS DALAPFERD – WATERWAYS

Storkyrkan or the Stockholm Cathedral is also called the Sankt Nikolai Kyrka or the Church of Saint Nicholas. It is located beside the Royal Palace and is one of the most important examples of the Brick Gothic style of Sweden. It is the church for royal weddings, funerals and coronations. It was first mentioned in a document dated 1279. Crown Princess Victoria married Daniel Westling (a commoner) here in June, 2010.
In 1527 it officially became a Lutheran Protestant Church.

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The cathedral is quite plain from the outside but its interior is magnificent.
There is a large wood and iron statue of Saint George and the Dragon said to have been sculpted circa 1489. It is 3.5 metres high and parts of the whole sculpture are covered with gold leaf.
Numerous memorials and tombs of royal family members are found within the Church.

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DAS DALAPFERD (the Dalecarlian Horse)
It was in the small log cabins deep in the forests during the long winter nights in front of a log fire that the forerunner of the Dalahorse was born. Using simple tools, generally only a knife, toys were carved for the children. The fact that many horses were made was only natural, because the horse to them was invaluable. A trusty friend and worker who could pull great loads of timber from the forests during the Winter months and in the Summer could be of just as much use on the farm.
In the older days the Dala horse was mostly a toy for children, but nowadays it is a Symbol for the kingdom of Sweden.

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The pattern of today is about 150 years old. In the 19th century the technique of painting with two colours in the same brush was introduced and even today they are painted in this traditional way. It is still a handcrafted article made of pine and at least nine different people have contributed their skills to create the horse.

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SIGHTSEEING BY BOAT
Stockholm Sightseeing was founded in the 1930s and the very first boats used were wooden boats taking 30-40 passengers. Our boat today had room for many more guests and the continuous commentary and beautiful Swedish music was via headphones. The interesting commentary wove historical information, tales about attractions and the occasional Stockholm anecdote – a most professional presentation. An enjoyable 50 minutes on the water.

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Our walk as darkness was falling at about 14:45 took us through another Market, passed an ice skating rink to the more modern section of the city with very upmarket shops – even a red carpet down the centre of the street (being vacuumed as we walked) and beautiful overhead decorations.

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Food hasn’t been mentioned today but we did try something local – a very rich chocolate ball which we shared. Too rich really so I was very thankful for the rather tart slice of orange to finish!

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