Monday, August 14, 2017

A Ramble Around Vadstena

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. 


2/ Vadstena Castle is one of Sweden’s best-preserved castles from the era of king Gustav Vasa in the 16th century (during whose reign Sweden became Protestant).

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!

170728-07 Vadstena 1 

170728-07 Vadstena 2

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… Winking smile

Through My Lens

Through My Lens 107


  1. The train is adorable!!! and this is the smallest Town Hall I have ever seen. But of course there is a small population. I have not heard of this Saint, I will have to look her up. the pharmacy is very pretty, and I like the street paving itself. I'm glad this will be continued!

    1. There will be a bit more about St Bridget in upcoming posts about the monastery museum and the abbey.

  2. A beautiful little city I'd love to explore.

    1. I could definitely go back there again some time :)

  3. That museum looks promising - pity it was closed! You'll have to go back :-)

    1. Meike, I think I could probably make the same tour again another year and find other things and places of interest than those that got our attention this time.

  4. Et kjent sted dette, ja, men jeg har ikke vert der.

  5. 'Train of thought'... Very punny. I enjoyed the Hjulius story as much as the pictures of the train. There is a similar one in Napier (New Zealand). I imagine there will be some in Britain too but there's so much traffic almost everywhere here I would think it would usually be impracticable. The town looks delightful from your photos and the old town hall reminds me of the one in Keswick in the English Lake District.

    1. We have a little train much like that taking people around the zoo here in Borås (which covers a rather large area). There is also one running along the seaside promenade at Varberg in the summer (popular seaside resort 1-1½ hrs from here).


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