Monday, January 18, 2010

Ulriksdal Palace

Ulriksdal Palace, seen from the lake.

After a mild december it's now been incredibly cold for almost a full month and the snow, though it hasn't been that much of it, has actually stayed! It's heavenly!

I just meant to post a series of photos from my walk last saturday when i went out to the royal estate of Ulriksdal, expressly to capture the white, frosty gorgeousness. But can't leave out writing just a little about it's history.

Scroll down to see more pictures and to read about the theatre.

In the early 17th centry Ulriksdal belonged to Jacob de la Gardie, a nobleman of french bourgeois descent, it was then named Jacobsdahl. Jacob's son Magnus Gabriel was a favourite of Queen Christina (util he eventually fell from grace) as well as one of the walthiest and most powerful men in Sweden. He had his father's estate turned into a magnificent baroque compound with magnificent gardens, -if we're to believe, the often rather exaggerated, engravings of the time.

In the 1680s it was taken over by the crown and renamed Ulriksdal, after a prince who died in infancy.

The court theatre, called "the Confidence", was originally built in the 1670s as a stable, but in the 1750s it was turned into a theatre by Queen Louisa Ulrica, sister of Frederic the great of Prussia.

Sadly the theatre, -just like the one at Drottningholm, was abandoned at the death of her son, Gustav III in 1792, -and in the 1860s the building was brutally turned into a hideous neo-renaissance style hunting lodge, by king Carl XV.

It's name "the confidence" comes from the dining room, with it's "Table volante" -where the table could be lowered down to the cellar and there dressed and set, so that the Royal family could dine in private. -all of this and the original 18th century-fixtures were all covered or simply demolished in the 1860s.

Luckily the theatre was "rediscovered" in the 1970s by the opera singer Kjerstin Dellert, who happened to live nearby. The building was in a terrible state, and unlike Drottningholm, next to nothing remained. Dellert found sponsors and started a complete restoration of the theatre, had the salon and it's adjoining suite of elegant rooms all turned back to their former beauty.

View through one of the windows of the dining room.Adorable houses nearby

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

(A belated) Happy New Year!

Hello again! I'm just going to start breaking the silence by wishing you a Happy New Year and by posting a series of photos from my own new year's eve celebrations.
I and a couple of friends spent the evening in my apartment and cooked a delicious vietnamese dinner, -since i got Ghillie Basan's fantastic book "The food and cooking of Vietnam and Cambodia" i've become quite obsessed, also a longing for warm and exotic spite of the fact that i've been pining for razor sharp cold and now gotten it -it's a staggering 5 degrees F outside and the cold has been staying for several weeks now...i can't stop myself from simply dreaming myself away to the far east.

However...the day before i met my friend K downtown to go to the asian markets where we got all we needed -like two old ladies we had both brought our own little baskets, and then on the afternoon of new year's eve we all sat down around my dining table and made spring and summerrolls, wonton dumplings, and a crisp green papaya salad, everything took the whole evening to prepare as i only have a tiny kitchenette with little space for a good mise-en-place.

At the stroke of midnight we crowded on my balcony to see the fireworks.