The National Day

June 6, 2008

After my family and I were done shopping for my middle-sister’s birthday we returned home in order to pick her up as she had not accompanied us to the mall. We then left for Djurgården as my elset younger sister wished to go to Skansen, the zoological garden and outdoor museum which lies on Djursgården in Stockholm. Because of the date, the Swedish national day, entrance was free – an offer we could not pass up on.

As we arrived in Stockholm my sisters and I had to be dropped off at the bridge that leads to Djurgården from Strandvägen because the police had taken command over the traffic leading over the bridge. The reason for this was that the Swedish Royal Family was passing by just as we arrived, thus making us walk over named bridge. We arrived just seconds after the Royal Family had passed and because of that, we ran behind them, together with the masses of people who also wished to see the king and his family.

It took some 10 minutes for us to reach one of the entrances of Skansen and we got in free of charge – of course! From there we went to the Soliden stage where the Royal Family was to make its appearance, together with a few artists. The whole spectacle was broadcasted live by one of the Swedish TV channels, so if any of the cameras filmed the massive audience, my sisters and I could probably have been made out among the thousands of people among whom we tried to navigate.

We never got any close to the stage, but I managed to catch a glimpse of the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest final’s winner of this year’s, Charlotte Perelli as she performed the song “Hero.” This was, of course, only thanks to my tip-toe skills. I am sure my youngest sister saw more than the rest of my sisters, as she was seated on my shoulders, making her one of the tallest people in the audience.

As we could not see much from where we were, surrounded my thousands of people waving Swedish flags, my sisters and I decided to leave. Instead, we browsed the zoological features of Skansen, among them free-roaming peacocks, grey seals, European bobcats, wolverines, otters, goats, the unexplained budgerigars and my eldest younger sister’s favourites – the moose.

My moose-adoring sister has a dream of owning a moose and taming it, making her able to ride it, an idea which makes me laugh out lout every time it is voiced. She is rather unique, just as her ideas. No matter what, the moose actually proved to be some of the more exciting animals of the day (except for the prodding peacock males that tried to intimidate us). The reason for this being that only minutes before pur arrival to the moose-pen one of the moose-cows had given birth to adorable baby-moose-twins.

An hour, and many animals, later we went back to the Soliden stage and positioned ourselves on the outskirts of the massive crowds. The Royal Family and the artists were about to leave, and with us standing some 50 centimeters from the middle of the road where the cars belonging to those well-known people were supposed to pass by, I dare say that we had some first-hand views of them leaving.

Following some motor-cycle-carried police officers came the King and Queen’s car, passing us by within a foot. If I had reached out for the car, I would have touched the glass. Following the King and Queen’s car was one carrying their two daughters – Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine. I assume the Prince had been there too, but I did not see him.

As all the people who mattered had left, among them some Swedish politicians, my sisters and I decided to leave too. The hour had grown older and the sun was preparing to set. With the temperatures still high, nevertheless, we purchased some ice-cream and enjoyed it while waiting for our parents to pick us up. Of course, the had gotten stuck in traffic, and of course, my ice-cream leaked and left me insanely sticky in the evening warmth of 25 degrees Celsius.

Still, despite the poor-quality ice-cream, the day was truly enjoyable. To sum it up – the day was as perfect as the sky was blue and unclouded. (Which it actually was and has been for the past 2 weeks.)


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