Though I am still in Gothenburg for another two weeks, I have moved within the city limits to stay with a family in a more suburban area (Askim) for the rest of my time here. They live in a lovely 3-story house with two small children, and I am super excited to experience Sweden in a new way: homestay-style.
On Saturday, my first full day with the family, we did a day trip to Tjolöholms Slott, a nearby castle built at the turn of the 19th century. Rather than being a royal property, the castle was commissioned by a very rich merchant who wanted an extravagant “country home.” It is a 30-minute drive from Gothenburg and sits very close to the water.
I wish I could show you the inside of the castle, but photos were not allowed, and we were in a big tour group. The interior is fanciful, with every inch covered in highly detailed carvings, art, or wallpaper. There is a Queen of Sheba painting that was specifically commissioned for the castle interior and, with the way it was framed, can never be separated from the wall. The painting cost about $2000 then, which would be $56,000 now considering inflation. Also, the architect adding wooden carvings to the moldings and staircases in the form of characters from traditional Swedish fables and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. One room, the smoking room, used only Moroccan design elements.
Finally, the castle was also hosting a Jane Austen costume exhibit! Those of you who have known me since I was twelve or younger will know that I went through a serious Jane Austen phase, as I suppose many tween girls do. It was cool to see the same outfits worn by Colin Firth, Kate Winslet, and Emma Thompson in film adaptations of Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility there at the castle. It was also a bit anachronistic – Jane Austen’s stories, and the respective fashions, were around 100 years before Tjolöholms Slott was built.