A long time ago, in a land far far away, Andrew and I were new to travel. And to each other. We’ll probably always seem new to each other, because we are each very strange and constantly surprise and delight and frustrate each other. Travel heightens this like nothing else I’ve yet experienced. You can’t run from yourself when you travel with your significant other.
Looking through old pictures, the feelings come back to me first.
It our last day in Stockholm in 2009. We had bought these intense city museum passes, and in an effort to use it to its very fullest, we had spent the day literally running around Stockholm in an effort to visit every single museum on the pass. As it was a quite comprehensive pass, we were kept very busy.
Over supper, reviewing our museum info, we realized there was one museum open later than the others, and it was nearby:
What’s Skansen? We had no idea. All we knew was that it was on our museum pass, and it closed in an hour. We could cross one more museum off our list, thus saving even MORE money. High-five, let’s go!
Turns out, Skansen is Sweden’s first open air zoo and museum. Told us they would lock the gates in an hour when they closed. Could we see the museum properly in less than an hour? Could we guarantee we wouldn’t get hopelessly lost and locked in overnight? I was a little freaked out.
Much like the Ingmar Bergman films Andrew so loves, the day was overcast and dreary. Coupled with the closed buildings and vacant streets, the entire place felt so eerie:
We had the place to ourselves, and a storm was on its way. Everything felt still and intense and hidden. Even the animals were in hiding. With the exception of a little fox, who seemed to be following us. Every time we attempted to take a picture of our only companion, he hid. What a mischievous fox.
We wandered the streets and pathways alone, just the two of us, alternately discussing and communicating with each other about how we were processing the entire experience. In my memory, our time at Skansen is preserved in a golden sort of glow. It was kind of scary, being the only ones there (so weird), uncomfortable, but also so peaceful. Our relationship was growing.
Eventually we found ourselves having climbed a hill, which rewarded us with fairytale view of… whatever this beautiful building is:
And then the rain began.
We needed to leave. But first…
“Come here!” Andrew said.
“Ugh, no, we have to get out of here! It’s RAINING!” I hollered.
“No, just one thing, it’s going to be cool.”