Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kungstraedgarden ~ The King's Garden

Theme ~ Swedish Rhapsody
Kungstraedgarden is a park in central Stockholm, a great gathering place in the middle of the city. The park is bordered on one end by Hamgatan and the large department store NK . The outdoor restaurant at that end of the park came to be in 1955, the year Stockholm celebrated its 700th anniversary. In honor of this anniversary, the cafeteria was in those days called Sju Sekel or Seven Centuries.
There's a stage at the other end, the south end, of the park, there are walk ways, food vendors, fountains, and benches everywhere. In the picture below people are gathered to celebrate Swedish Flag Day on the 6th of June.

At the western end, just below Jacob's Church, is a little coffee house that I have come to enjoy on my more recent visits to Stockholm. 
But in the mid-1950s, when I was 16 - 17 years old, the place to be was on the other side of the street at the south end of the park. That's where Tetley's Tea House, an outdoor place that served, yes, Tetley tea, sat under some huge old trees.
And that's where all the fun and action took place in those days. There we would gather, just below Stockholm's wonderful old Opera house, by the statue of Sweden's  warrior King Karl XII, pointing east toward Russia,

with a view of the water and the beautiful ship, the af Chapman, the royal castle, Old Town, and the tall cliffs of the south side of Stockholm in the distance across the waters. 

This is where I got my first taste of the larger world. This is where I for the first time met people from far away places: 

 Pierre from Alger, Pia and Monica from Stockholm, and Daniel from Paris. 

The Royal Opera in Stockholm, where I used to spend a lot of time before I left Sweden. If you have seen the film Children of Paradise, you know about those inexpensive seats high up, where those of us with little money were able to enjoy operas and ballets. Well, that was me and the experiences were unforgettable.
At Tetley's we also met up with ballet dancers from the Opera, artists from all over the world, actors from the Royal Dramatic Theater, and, of course, writers.
The author of this book, was a very interesting man, who most of the year lived in the big forest with his owl. He was a wonderful writer and poet and he had an apartment, shared with the owl, in Old Town Stockholm. He would show up at the tea house, owl on his shoulder, and we would sit and talk. I have this book and several articles from the newspapers back then about him and his books. Of all the people I met, he made the greatest and most unforgettable impression on me.

A big tournament with those balls that I forget the name of took place in Kungstraedgarden when I visited in 2005. It was very intense, to say the least. 
I was only 16 - 17 or so, but I guess I was OK, everyone wanted to talk to me. Intellectuals, I mean, some who yet had to become Sweden's great actors, artists and writers.  Looking back, I have no idea why. I mean, I was so young, and these friendships and talks were strictly that, nothing else. They helped me get in touch with my intellectual side and a little bit with my creative side. I made friends from all over the world and from the artistic and creative community in Stockholm. I know this is where I got the urge to live in different countries and learn more about the world at large.
Samson is home and doing OK. He has the largest cone around his head I have ever seen and keeps running into things. He must keep it on for a minimum of 10 days until they take the sutures from his dew claws removal out. The other surgery, the neutering, seems just fine. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails