I arrived in Stockholm three days before the first (since the pandemic) in-person AMIAGM, Annual Global Meeting, which will be held in Delft, Netherlands. The plan was to rest and visit with my old friends Barbra Waller and Tom Engstrom friends, but I was whisked off to a cultural tour of the city! I hope you enjoy spending these few days with us vicariously. Because Stockholm is built on 14 islands, we traveled over bridges or by ferry to our first exploration, the Swedish History Museum.
SWEDISH HISTORY MUSEUM
I do enjoy listening to the music of the Swedish language and learning about history and culture, so when I discovered that the body in a tomb that was always considered an example of the ultimate Viking warrior—with full armory, two horses and exotic costume—turned out to be a woman, my curiosity was peaked.
If you would like to listen to the Swedish language click on the following link and watch a bit of an hour-long YouTube video of a lecture by Archeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson on “Birkagraven: The Warrior who was a woman.” (Krigaren som var en kvinna)
Nearing the end of our exploration of this museum we kept hearing what sounded like live music, live OPERA music, so we headed in that direction. It was indeed! Several opera students in a class and I made a short video of their teacher.
THE VIKING MUSEUM
The next stop was the Viking Museum, where one can actually sit on a Viking throne. There are videos of actors portraying men, women, and children Vikings, dioramas of the homes, and even a “Viking Ride” tour through a tunnel where one was fastened into what felt like a boat traveling through a river, following the story of “Ragnfrids Saga” where the Viking Harald takes one on a journey through 10th century Europe. The story begins at Frosala farm, where Ragnfrid and Harald live together with their daughter Sigrid. Harald has wasted all of the family’s money and has to go out on a Viking raid in order to win back their fortune and honor.
All a person ever wanted to know about the gods and goddess and mythical animals and characters in Viking legend can be found here, beautifully presented. Museums are not what they used to be!
And finally, on to experience the world-famous Vasa, a warship built between 1626 and 1628 that sank after sailing about 1,400 yards into her maiden voyage in August 1628. She lay submerged until discovered in 1956 and today is the known as the world’s best-preserved 17th century ship. This the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
There is even a movie reconstructing the first sailing, and the sinking of the Vasa. We were filled to the rim with information. The link below is rich in information about the history of Europe, wars between Sweden and Poland-Lithuania and so much more:
We were very ready for a rest, processing time, and tea with delicious Swedish cardamom buns in the museum restaurant.
MEMORIES OF 1971, SAN FRANCISO
During our break I told Barbra about an experience in my first year of Montessori teaching. My first Montessori primary class consisted of twenty-five children from the age of 2.5 to 6 years, all completely new to Montessori, the class held in the room of a church in San Francisco; and the schedule was from nine to three. Thanks to my wonderful Montessori teacher training at MMTO (now MMI) in London, the year was very successful for all. Near the end of the first semester, before Christmas vacation, we were all a bit sad at the prospect of taking a break from school so I invited my assistant and all twenty-five children to our home for a slumber party. The parents were “over the moon” at the idea. The children had become a family and very much looked forward to the event. At four o’clock in the morning I rose alone as planned, mixed the dough for a Swedish Tea Ring, set the dough to rise and prepared the rest of the ingredients and set out the dishes and napkins. The delicious smells from the oven began to waken the children, and my own husband and daughters, early and the resulting tea ring was almost exactly like the picture above.
SWEDISH HOME AWAY FROM HOME
I have visited Barbra and her husband Tom several times over the years and they have visited us in California. They live in a lovely old Swedish apartment near the sea. If you look closely at the picture you will see a tower sticking up into the sky that is taller than the others. This is where they live, in an area with cobblestone streets and steep steps that give a person plenty of exercise, and hills where I watch in disbelief as Tom seems to effortlessly drive and park (okay, sometimes my eyes are closed).
Barbra and her husband have been working on the Swedish translation of one of my books, The Joyful Child, for some time but it will be republished as a 10th anniversary edition this year, so until it is ready, they are working on the Swedish translation of the most recent title, the first in a new “Brief Montessori Introductions” series. Montessori Cosmic Education, published just two months ago, has already been translated into Romanian and is being translated into Spanish and German!
I hope you have enjoyed these few days in Stockholm, and look forward to pictures from the AMI Annual Global Meeting when I have the time to create the next blog post.
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