Christmas Charm of Gamla Linköping

921288_10152027957732311_252419849_oLynette Skoglund Kleve is a new author/contributor to Globe Trottin Granny. She resides in Sweden, and can bring some insight into the culture of Sweden. Lynette is a friend of mine, who writes her posts on Facebook in a way that you can feel the emotions, and smell the scents. Be sure to check out the About Additional Writers page and read a little about her.

It was December 7th, and the 2nd Annual Christmas Fair at Gamla Linköping (Old Linköping, Sweden) was in full swing. My husband, Bo and I decided we’d get some exercise by walking over and seeing what was on offer. As we trudged through the snow covered sidewalks to the entrance, the first thing that caught our eye was the beautiful spruce tree standing in the middle of the old square with vendors all around.
Gamla Linköping view of Christmas Market

More Christmas Market booths
It was a feast for the senses as there was beauty as well as tantalizing smells perfuming the air such as; fresh pine wreaths, glögg (mulled wine), candy, smoked fish, salami and my favorite, brända mandlar (candied cinnamon almonds) just to name a few. We got there early and while there were people there, it wasn’t crowded which made it easy to maneuver through the cobblestone streets. No matter where we were, carolers were heard singing festive songs in Swedish and in English and sometimes I got caught up in the festive spirit and sang along also, though not as beautifully I’m sure.

One of the shops there, “Ankungen” (The Duckling), had their sign all festively decorated with pine boughs and little white lights. It’s a children’s book store but has more to offer than just books. There are toys of various kinds and lovely postcards, and there is even a small room with ceramics, and other delights for those who are over 7 years of age. It is a fun place to visit.
Barnbokhandel

There were Smithy’s demonstrating how to pound iron into a Ljusstake (Candlestick holder). We enjoyed watching them craft the iron into a thing of beauty, especially my husband. There were several Smithy’s situated around the old town so if you missed the one in the square you were sure to find another just around the corner.
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Here is one photo showing fresh pine wreaths for sale as well as some ceramics. It was the first snow of the season so to be out in 24° F weather was a bit on the nippy side.
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One nice feature of the market is that if you do get too chilly, you can always warm yourself at the various fires they have burning outdoors.

Perhaps the most memorable time at the market was when we went into one of the old houses to see how people lived back in the old days and to my happy surprise there sat Tomte (Santa) warming himself by a roaring fire! This particular house wasn’t very big at all. Two small rooms and the kitchen was all it consisted of. Spinning one’s own wool was very common back then. They slept on a bed that doubled as a sofa and the bathroom facilities were quite handy in the form of a chamber pot on the floor. Back to the kitchen there was a volunteer in old style dress spinning her wool yarn in front of the old wood burning stove. I suppose the old stove and fireplace were situated in the middle of the house so that all the rooms were sure to keep warm from either fireplace or wood burning stove. I remarked what a hard life it must have been but the volunteer told us that it was actually quite a comfortable way to live back then.
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We moved on to another of the museums. This next house is called Solliden and was donated by the son of the couple who lived in the house. He donated it and all it’s belongings as they were in the house when the parents died. It’s a popular attraction and I’ve been in it many times. This day the house was decorated with a lovely little Julgran (Christmas fir tree). A very popular decoration is to drape little Swedish flags on the tree as well as other ornaments. The tree also has real candles on the tree, but that isn’t so common today as electric ones are used. The volunteer at Solliden was baking Pepparkakor (Gingersnaps) and as you can see, she used cookie cutters. Popular shapes here are reindeer, stars, ginger men and women, angles and of course the pig. They were very tasty!

We’ve now gone thru the square and down some side streets, taken in some of the museums and are heading to Baron Von Lingen’s gård (Baron Von Lingen’s Garden). The house was built in 1720 and used to be situated at the top of Storgatan in Linköping but now resides in it’s present place at Gamla Linköping. As we entered the house, a maid was at the door ready to welcome and inform about what one might see. In the dining room, which is central in the house, there waited an elegantly dressed woman in the style of dress one might have seen in the late 1700’s and she stood at the dining table, which was adorned with all kinds of food that would have been eaten at the house during this time of year. There is fish, paté and liver paté, köttgelé (aspic), and beautifully carved butter and soup just to name a few. There would have also been a real pigs head on the table, not for eating but for decoration. My favorite room by far has to be where the help dined. It is full of wood, copper and all sorts of kitchen tools from the old days. Yes, that’s hay on the floor to help keep those sitting there warm. On this visit they had a puppet show upstairs for the children and adults alike. As I stood there listening to the Swedish and looking at the funny pink hand puppet I realized they were acting out the story of The Three Little pigs. I found myself smiling and had quite a good time listening to the very good story tellers. Another fun thing was a cheese making demonstration which was given in the basement. A man showed how to make a round of cheese similar to a white cheddar. Food for thought?

Outside once again and in the garden stands a pole with some grain sitting on it for the birds. I’m sure they appreciated it on this cold day. In front of the pole was another smithy who was making a ljusstake out of iron. Bo gave it a go as well.
Bright Winter Sky

Jul decoration

Horse and wagon
Back in the square once again, I just had to get a picture of the sky….it’s so lovely when it’s blue. Our final moments of our day’s adventure at Gamla Linköping is this shot of some of the vendors tables and some of old buildings and then the horse drawn buggy that was giving rides around the old town. We had a very nice time stepping back in time in the open air museum of Gamla Linköping.

Did you enjoy Lynette’s post giving us a view of God Jul in old time Linköping? Be sure to leave a comment to let her know. It is so much fun to be connected to the readers, and the readers to the author.

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