After breakfast, we arrived at the ferry terminal in the city and boarded the Östanå I cruise ship for a 3-hour archipelago tour with lunch cruise. The ship is one of the traditional ships of the archipelago. It was very windy so after getting a few snaps on the deck, I stayed inside and waited for lunch to be served. There was a guide introducing all the sights and islands that we passed by but it was very difficult to hear anything that she was saying over all the noise on the ship. I just sat and chatted with a few other teachers and enjoyed the sea breeze and watching sailboats sailing back and forth. There wasn’t really much to do except for eating lunch and walking around the deck. It would be lovely to take the cruise with a special someone and enjoy a romantic dinner. For the price of SEK 390, it’s really not that bad.
Pippi Longstocking at Junibacken
As we were approaching the shore to disembark, I heard the guide say something about a Pippi Longstocking Museum! My eyes lit up and I began asking our tour leader where this museum was. He had no idea what I was talking about. I immediately Googled it and at first didn’t see anything such museum in Stockholm. Then I saw on TripAdvisor that it was called Junibacken. The tour leader did not know anything about this place and we had to get on the bus to go to some underground supermarket. After he said that we could have three hours of free time, I located the museum and found out that it was actually near the ferry pier where we were before, next to the Vasa Museum that we had visited on the second day. It was a half an hour walk but it looked simple enough. Another teacher wanted to join me as she didn’t have much interest in shopping either. We walked together and finally arrived 30 minutes later.
The museum was full of kids with their parents. We were probably the oldest visitors without children or parents! We bought our tickets and explored the different rooms and immediately felt like a kid again – it was a magical experience! I wish we had this kind of museum or cultural centre in Hong Kong. It’s hard to describe what it is like and there were a lot of scenes that I didn’t really recognise. They use Pippi Longstocking as the main attraction and we saw that they were having the live performance in the theatre.
There was a Storybook Train that you can only ride once with your ticket. I was so excited when I started lining up. The train takes you on a journey through some of Astrid Lindgren’s stories. The scenes are presented in tableaux with lighting and sound effects and dialogue which comes out from the speakers in the individual carriages, you can even choose from twelve different languages. The whole production of the Storybook Train took almost two years to create and it involved doll-makers, scenic artists, prop-makers, theatre carpenters, who were all under the direction and vision of the illustrator Marit Törnqvist. The result is truly amazing. It almost felt like it was a fairytale or adventure ride at Disneyland, but with a beautiful story. It was not easy to take photos or videos because it was quite dark in a lot of the scenes. The way each carriage moves in and out and through each scene is so well-planned and thought out. Hidden doors and windows would open suddenly and different figures would move unexpectedly. Check out some of the photos and video below.
After the Storybook Train ride, we exited and arrived at the theatre room where Pippi Longstocking’s house, the famous yellow Villa Villekulla, was standing. We had arrived just in time for the next performance starting in a few minutes! We quickly sat down among all the cute toddlers and children and waited for Pippi, Tommy and Annika to come out. The show ‘Pippi Moves In’ is performed in Swedish but it really didn’t matter to me! The actors performed really well and really brought the characters to life. They climbed up and down the house, danced and jumped all around having the time of their lives! Knowing the story helped me to understand what was happening during the performance but it was the whole atmosphere, setting, music, dancing, all the kids chanting ‘Pippi! Pippi!’ that made the show so memorable and magical! I didn’t want to leave!
Finally, we went into the book and souvenir store and I bought a Pippi doll, a comic book version of the story, and some postcards. I would have bought more stuff if I had the money or the suitcase space!
End of Part 10
Back to Sweden (Part 9)
Continue to Sweden (Part 11)