Vadstena received its city privileges in 1400, and for historical reasons is still counted as a city (despite its modest population of only around 7300 people).
Vadstena is primarily famous for two important pieces of Swedish history:
1/ It was in Vadstena, in 1350, that Saint Bridget of Sweden founded the first monastery of her Bridgettine Order. The huge abbey church, known as Vadstena Abbey, the Abbey of Our Lady and of St. Bridget, or The Blue Church, is still standing, and is visited by both Lutheran and Roman Catholic pilgrims (and tourists). Within the church, some relics of St. Bridget are still kept; as well as medieval sculptures of Saint Bridget, and Saint Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and other medieval art. There is now also a monastery museum close by, showing a variety of scenes and items from the convent/monastery back in medeival days.
We’ll get back to both the castle and the abbey in later posts (because I have sooo many photos). But let’s start with a ramble in the town centre.
The first thing we wanted to find in Vadstena was lunch. And we did – here. (We ate inside, but this outdoors terrace with its flowers was very pretty.)
After lunch, we felt ready to get on with the touristing again.
We walked up and down some random streets in the town centre, in hope of getting some kind of orientation of the place…
This may look like a church, but it’s the 15th-century town hall (the oldest in Sweden).
The sign above the door says Apotek = Chemist’s / Pharmacy. Whether it has always been one, I don’t know. But it seems to be an active one now.
These small wooden cottages seemed to belong to a museum.
The museum wasn’t open, but I liked the door and sign!
After having randomly rambled up and down various cobbled streets lined with pretty houses, we still didn’t really know in which direction we ought to be going, so decided to go back to the car and try to find parking somewhere a bit closer to the castle, before we continued our explorations. (At least with a huge castle, you know where you are – so to speak…)
Another way to get around town might have been this little train – but we didn’t try that. It’s name is Hjulius, which is funny in Swedish, because of one of those untranslateable puns. (The name Julius spelled with Hj makes it refer to hjul=wheel.)
Train of thought to be continued…