I just recently returned from a trip to the Baltic’s, this included stops in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden. I am still poring though photos but as always when I travel I look for horse souvenirs as mementos of my trip
Sweden did not disappoint 🙂 I found Dala horses everywhere…
Of course I had to look up the history. The original Dala Horse (Dalahäst) has been around for many centuries, and probably was created by Swedish woodcutters. During the long winters, these lonely men would spend their evenings away from their families, and passed their time by carving little toys for their children.
The carving of the stocky little tailless horses had become a well-established tradition, but up until the 1700’s. they had been unpainted and had just the natural grain of the wood for ornamentation.
In the winter of 1716, while King Charles XII of Sweden waged war throughout most of Europe, many soldiers were quartered in private homes in Sweden. Because of the severe winter and the war, all suffered from lack of food and warmth. Tradition has it that one such soldier, in his spare time, carved a Dala Horse from some scrap wood in the home where he was staying. Before presenting it to the child of the home as a gift, he painted it a bright red and decorated the horse.
In return, the woman of the house gave the soldier a bowl of soup. He made another horse and received another bowl of soup. When word of his success in bartering for food reached the other soldiers, they too began carving and painting horses in exchange for food. Thus the Dala Horse is credited in part with the army’s surviving the cruel winter.
We visited the palace and many beautiful old churches. This amazing carving of St George slaying the dragon is all wood and from 1489
The palace was beautiful but sadly I was not allowed to take pictures of the crown jewels
With only one day there was not enough time to see everything but we managed to pack a lot in, including a trip to the ABBA museum where singing was involved LOL.
I loved Stockholm and would gladly return for a longer trip someday