sweden · Uncategorized

Stock”holm” of the Vasa

Originally published on 4 June 2014.

We made it! Last stop: Stockholm, Sweden! Thanks for coming along for the wild ride! Fun fact, did you know Stockholm is actually an archipelago, made up of as many as 30,000 islands? I didn’t know!

Who’s ready for a VERY FAST train ride? We are!

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Propping up my feet.

Update from 2016, this is the moment I realized I had bunions and would likely need surgery. Now they’re fixed and better than ever!

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202 km/hr, or 125.5 mph!

We got there fast as a flash, and made it to our gate with minimal difficulty. (Even seasoned travelers sometimes have travel issues!) For some reason the ticketing kiosks for Scandinavian Airlines found Steve’s tickets, but not mine, even though we were on the same reservation, and he even booked them together! That happened on more than one flight during the trip, so we just went to the service desk each time. And each time they told us to go to the kiosk. And each time we explained the situation and they fixed it. Do people really have to assume we didn’t try it ourselves or try the most obvious solution first? Oh well–we always got where we were going! And we met some very nice men from Alabama while in line!

And then we were in Stockholm! First stop, the hotel. Next stop, the Vasa Museum! The Vasa is a VERY well-preserved ship that was raised up from the Baltic Sea in the 1960s and 70s, after having sunk 20 minutes into her maiden voyage in 1628. Yep. Poor engineering. It really is very impressive! We took a tour of the museum to get additional info on the ship, and I had to ask how it got to be so well preserved. The paint was all stripped off over the years, but the wood actually had very little damage. Well, it’s because of the Baltic Sea! That’s where the ship sank, just off the Stockholm coast. (And actually, the mast stuck up above the water after it sank upright, because the water was so shallow there.) The Baltic Sea is very cold, which helps with preserving almost anything, and there are no wood worms there to eat away the wood! Interestingly, the water did rust away all the nails, so the ship was in over 14,000 pieces when they took it out of the ocean. But all the pieces still had so much of the intricate detail still intact! It is 98% preserved–wow!

It was a warship, one of the first with two gun decks, and it boasted 64 cannons on the top deck, weighing over a ton each. Yes, it was top heavy. It was also not wide enough. That’s what we get for boasting. Pride goes before destruction, Proverbs 16:18. It also goes before a sinking!

And since it was intended as a ship for battle, who doesn’t need some lion’s heads carved on the gun windows?

Sorry the pictures are so dark. That’s part of the preservation effort in the museum. Light will definitely damage it more than being in the water all those years did!

The museum itself was very interesting, aside from just having the actual ship there to see. There was a movie to watch about the raising and preserving process, a couple of to-scale exhibits so people can actually walk into the “ship” and see what it would have been like–you know, above water.

We spent quite a bit of time there at that museum because it is the #1 attraction in Stockholm, according to Trip Advisor and many other lists. Well worth the trip! And we got to take a ferry ride over there and back. How fun is that? But my favorite part of the museum was probably the map. I am becoming 100% interested in maps of the old world.

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And there’s my handsome husband pointing out all the places he’s been to on just this small portion of the world. Isn’t he cute? 😉

Moving right along! There’s more to explore!

Much to my delight, Stockholm has one of the best-preserved old towns in the world! The city was first mentioned in official correspondence in 1250, so that’s the traditional date of its “founding,” but it’s believed people lived there as early as 1187! And the streets are accordingly laid out–narrow, windy, up hill, cobbled, lovely!

And eventually, it was time for supper. Reindeer, anyone? And Swedish meatballs are a must, you know.

And now we move to… the last day of the honeymoon. A bittersweet day, to be certain! But there is still a lot to do and even more to see! First on today’s agenda, the oldest building in Stockholm, the Riddarholmen Church.

And now, the Royal Palace! Yes, one of the oldest monarchies in the world seats itself in Stockholm, Sweden. Sorry, no pictures inside, but here’s a picture of the outside. And Steve is carefully calculating our next move:

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He’s adorable when he’s so very serious.

So, we got to see the apartments, or basically the different rooms the royal family used to live in through the years. We also saw what is essentially the basement, which is the oldest part, dating from the 13th century. The palace actually burned down in 1697, and it took until 1754 to rebuild it! So next time we complain about construction taking so long, let’s just remember our royal Swedish friends! We also got to see some of the royal garments, robes, thrones, pins, ribbons, sashes, and… get ready or it… crown jewels! Pretty swanky stuff, to be certain!

By the afternoon, Steve was quite museumed out, but you know me–go, go, GO! I still wanted to take in the Stockholm City Museum, so we decided to meet up at the hotel in time to go to dinner that evening. Not the ideal way most couples spend their honeymoon, but it worked for us! Steve got some relaxation in, and I went to discover more of Stockholm’s history!

 The guy to the left used to stand atop the whipping post, and the guy on the right graces the coat of arms.

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And we know everyone gets around faster in Stockholm on bone ice skates! Because Stockholm is made up of so many islands and there are so many rivers and inlets, it really was faster getting around on the ice in the wintertime!

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And with the afternoon sunlight so perfect and the lovely clouds rolling above, I could not resist getting a  great shot of Old Town Stockholm from across the water!

Time for dinner! Please come along with us! Indulge with me in some rhubarb bread, amazing Swedish meatballs, and, of course, Cloudberry desserts!

So, cloudberries grown only in the northern regions of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. I believe they are seasonal, and they’re a little bit tart, but sweet. That is cloudberry cheesecake, cloudberry sorbet, and cloudberry… stuff? Not sure what all else was in there, but it was good! It was truly a culturally and geographically unique treat!

And so ends the honeymoon of a lifetime! Thanks so much for joining us on our journey. I can definitely recommend any of our stops if you’d like to try them for yourself!

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