Hagaparken: A Great Alternative Park in Stockholm

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After breakfast we looked for a park to try and visit. Opening up Google Maps we hunted for large open areas of green. Spotting a place called Hagaparken, or Haga Park, we checked out how to get there then headed off to catch the metro from Slussen. We got off at a stop called Odenplan, walking through the city streets until we reached a small park. We carried on through until we reached Hagaparken on the other side, following the edge of a small lake into the woodland.

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After a while the path opened out onto a vast green lawn. Up the hill we could make out what appeared to be a huge blue and yellow circus tent. Deciding to pay a closer look, we strolled the grass to get a better view. The closer we got the stranger the sight was. There were actually three very brightly painted Turkish-style buildings made to look like tents. They looked like they were made of wood, and painted with intricate yellow motifs. There was a sign above a door indicating a free museum so we wandered inside to seek an explanation. A friendly woman inside greeted us, handing us each an information sheet in English.

From a booklet I picked up in reception, I read that the ‘Copper Tents’ were originally constructed between 1787 – 1790, built to house the King’s guards and horses. Apparently he wanted the buildings to look like a Sultan’s camp from the front, to ward off enemies. Unfortunately the middle tent was destroyed in a fire though in 1953. By 1978 the buildings were fully reconstructed, and the middle tent now hows the Haga Park Museum, the museum we were standing in. We spent a good twenty minutes in the small museum, inspecting the original design plans for various buildings within the park.

Afterwards we headed back out into the sun to eat our lunch on the grass. The weather was beautiful, and we lay back in the sun, enjoying the view. It felt good to not be spending copious amounts of money in the city centre on tourist attractions.

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After lunch we carried on our walk, rejoining the path at the base of the hill and following it to the Pavillion, the large yellow building we’d seen when we’d emerged from the woodland trail. As we walked by it the wind began to pick up and clouds started to roll in. Having not predicted a change in weather, we hoped that it wouldn’t rain.

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We continued on to the Temple of Echo, the summer dining room of King Gustav III. According to our booklet he loved alfresco dining. Inside we had a laugh playing about with the distortion of our voices.

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The air grew colder and goosebumps began to form. We walked on though, having not much of a choice with our lack of spare clothing. We found the Royal Haga Palace but could see nothing through the fencing. After following it’s perimeter we headed back into the woods. On the way we spotted this particularly fascinating looking fungus sprouting from a tree.

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Soon we stumbled across some ruins called the Haga Foundations. Apparently work began on a magnificent palace in 1786, but building work was ceased with the assassination of the King in 1792.

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Moving on, we made one last stop at a place called the Butterfly House before walking back to the opposite side of the park. At around 4.30pm we left the park, having spent a good long afternoon wandering it’s trails. At the metro station we had some fuss with the ticket office attendant, who proceeded to charge us each 400kr for one way tickets, when all we’d wanted to do was use our metro card.

Back at the hostel as it was our last evening in Stockholm we decided to blow out our last bit of money and go find a nice restaurant for fish for dinner. After no luck Googling fish restaurants we ended up doing our usual walk down to Gamla Stan to hunt in person. We found a delightful little place called Slingerbulten on the main street. I had a dish of pike-perch with chanterelle sauce, asparagus and pressed potatoes, whilst Flo chose seared herrings. I’m not normally a fish person, but wow, the food was fantastic.

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Two delicious meals, a bottle of white wine and £30 each lighter, we were stumbling back up the hillside to Södermalm in a daze. It was a great end to a really wonderful long weekend in the Swedish capital.

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