If you are trying to find a new perspective on things this January there are few better ways to do this than by looking at your usual surroundings from a different vantage point.
As the mercury crept up from minus twenty to a balmy minus five this Sunday I began pacing around the house so as to become irritating enough for other family members to pay attention. “It’s time for us to go out,” I pleaded with my husband and children who were wrapped up in their cushy winter cocoons with their respective hot coffee and hot cocoas. No one showed the slightest enthusiasm, save Lucy the dog who sat at the front door with ears cocked watching my every move with her chestnut eyes.
Eventually everyone slipped on their snow gear in the hope that I would be less irritating when we returned. As we crossed the first bridge that connects Drottningholm Palace to the city of Stockholm, in the distance we noticed a wide path on the frozen waterway that had been created by the indentations of many boot soles in the snow. People were walking back and forth to and from Stockholm on the ice. A woman pushed a pram through the snow with difficulty. This brought back fond memories of pushing a twin pram.
A sign for hot waffles with cream and strawberry jam lured my family off the main road. The cafe was crowded and I suggested we build up an appetite for dinner instead. My husband tested the ice on the frozen waterway near the cafe. Even if you know the ice, it is always tricky being the first. In the distance we noticed someone driving a truck over the ice. This convinced us that it was safe enough to walk around Lovö, the island that we live on.
Walking around the islands of Stockholm like this is a walk into history. The water or the ice was the most logical way to travel in the past. Seeing my island from the ice was like seeing a lost perspective. I remembered the grand steps at Drottningholm Palace that led down to the water. They didn’t make any sense today except as decor. Yet they made perfect sense in days gone by when the most comfortable way to arrive at the Palace was from the water.
As we approached our neighborhood from the frozen waterway I barely recognized the houses. For most of the days of the year, I saw them from the other side. Now they looked different. Life looked different. It was incredibly invigorating. Better than a day at the spa (which I never get around to), I thought.
If this weather holds it looks like we are in for one of the best skating seasons I can remember. Check out the links below for a little information to help you with seeing Sweden from the ice.
www.utsidan.se: general information about equipment and read interesting personal accounts of getting out on the ice.
friluftsfrämjandet.se: general information about equipment, safety and interesting destinations to visit with organized groups that anyone can join.
www.skridsko.net : everything you ever wanted to know about ice skating in Sweden.
http://www.smhi.se/Produkter-och-tjanster/professionella-tjanster/sjofart/istjanst-1.1706– Check the daily ice map from the Swedish Meteorological Institute’s Ice Service (Istjänst).