I went out rather early this morning, trying to brave the freezing temperatures (see previous post...) and the snow relentlessly falling.
Stockholm's city centre seemed to be still asleep at 9.00am, which I found rather strange and amusing, but I suppose that's what happens when it's very cold and it's holiday time.
A lost scarf hanging on an orange street cone in front of fabric shop Sidencarlson (glad to see fabric shops still exist in Stockholm!) in Drottninggatan seemed to be a sign of a lost civilisation that had somehow disappeared.
Even though the silence was uncanny and at times it felt like walking around a ghost town (or a Day of the Triffids scenario...), the quiet around the Observatorie-lunden was a blessing as there weren't any tourists or shoppers crowding the streets.
I pretended for a while the city was all mine and I almost succeeded in getting hypothermia (I've been trying hard, I think by tomorrow I may finally succeed...).
Since my attempts at getting chilblains, frostnip and other cold related illnesses had been up to then avoided, I tried the ultimate experience, a sightseeing winter tour on a boat.
I took a few pictures from inside the boat, then went upstairs to take a few more pictures, but I admit I only lasted 3 minutes (the time to shoot also a very brief video before hypothermia almost got me...), though the snowy landscapes around us were simply beautiful, I would say poetically peaceful.
Our informative guide Kristofer explained us that the New Year's Eve celebrations in Stockholm take place at Skansen with a traditional reading of Alfred Tennyson's poem "Ring Out Wild Bells" on the stroke of midnight.
Churches accompany the event by ringing their bells and there is also a spectacular firework display.
This morning the Svenska Dagbladet published a Swedish translation of the poem (see picture in case you ever wondered how Tennyson sounded like in Swedish...), while I'm including the original version in English at the end of this post in celebration.
May Tennyson's bells truly ring out all the bad things of this decade and ring in happiness, peace, health and beauty for all of us. Happy New Year from Stockholm!Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
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