It was the first day of summer, June 2005, my 65th birthday, I was in Sweden and my friend Inga wanted to make this a special day for me. She took me to so many places that day and made it one of the most special and memorable days of my life. The first part was a visit to Kolmarden's Wild Animal Park, located in a big forest a few hours drive from Stockholm.
We started out visiting the tame critters and I, who love goats so, found a baby one nursing.
Looks like they are all resting here.
All enclosures are large and well designed.
This really got me. ~ Tigers wandering about in a Swedish meadow.
Testing the water. It's the first day of summer so it may still be cold.
I think I'll be brave!
Nothing like a swim to give you a good appetite.
Soon we came upon a large meadow with an animal population straight out of Africa.
I saw Swedish pine trees, tall and slender, in the background, but look who lives here: Rhinos, wildebeest, giraffes and antelope…all together in this large area.
Soon the rhinos started out on a walkabout around the pond.
As the rhinos approached, the antelope started to move away, except for one who was butting horns with a wildebeest.
Extremely tall fences and sturdy gates enclose the areas you can drive through. Our first encounter was with a moose, looking relaxed as we drove by.
Then we got lucky ~ a brown bear approached the road.
And since this was such a special day for me, of course he walked right in front of our car.
In another enclosed area, we came upon this peaceful scene. It was still difficult for me to wrap my brain around seeing these animal in such a typical Swedish setting.
Toward the end of our drive, we came upon a pride of lions
playing in a meadow.
This made me so excited, my camera somehow got out of focus.
Right before we left, we came upon the best of all, lion cubs. They were lined up against the fence and a bit difficult to capture. Thanks again, Inga, for a wonderful day that I will never forget.
And so ends my Swedish Rhapsody and the A to Z Challenge 2012. Thank you for following me on this journey or for stopping by every now and then. I appreciate your comments so much, it has been fun to watch you discover the beautiful country of my birth. I'm thrilled that I may have inspired some of you to visit Sweden, maybe even taking a cruise through the Stockholm archipelago or visiting the historic city of Uppsala, the castle at Kalmar, or the smaller town of Ystad in the south. Maybe you will go to your library and check out the Wallander series of detective novels by Henning Mankell; revisit Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren; or read The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, by Selma Lagerlof to your kids, grandkids or just enjoy them yourself. I hope so.
I have learned so much about myself on this journey. I especially learned that my parents gave me a wonderful and special childhood and young adulthood to look back on. You never heard the concept of creating good memories back then, but that's exactly what they did.
Just a Note: I'm only interested in zoos that take good care of their animals. I had intended to write about the Stockholm zoo here because they changed a lot since I lived there and seem to be doing a good job now, limiting their animals to Swedish species only. I had reserved W for this park, but then Why I Came to America seemed more important since so many of you, my blogger friends, wondered why I left Sweden.
The A to Z Challenge has been a wonderful experience for me and for that I want to thank the hosts:
Arlee Bird, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, Jenny Pearson, Matthew McNish, Tina Downey, Jeremy Hawkins, D. L. Hammons, Shannon Lawrence, Elizabeth Mueller, Damyanti Biswas, Konstanz Silverbow and Karen Gowen:
Thank you so much for your efforts to ensure the success of the A to Z Challenge. It has been a great experience for me.