Wednesday August 17, 2016, rainy
One of the highlights of this trip has been seeing the Vasa, a 226-foot-long warship that sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm Harbor in 1628. The Dutch ship builders designed the ship with a fatal flaw, it was top heavy and sank very shortly after its launch. Sadly, many lives were lost, but more were saved and 300 years later, in 1961, it was raised and preserved. Ninety-five percent of the reconstructed ship is original due to the unique properties of the water in the harbor. It is an amazing sight! Truly worth the visit.
Firstly, it is huge and I have to keep reminding myself that this is the real deal, not a Disney model. The carvings in the stern and the bow are just magnificent. It’s really stunning. The ship is surrounded by a museum that contains artifacts found within in, a really cool timeline exhibit of world events during the time that the Vasa was built and more that we did not get to see such as an exhibit on the people who lost their lives in the wreck and how seamen lived during the seventeenth century. Definitely, we need to go back to see it again and spend more time in the Vasa Museum.
We then wandered through Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town founded in the 1300s. Its a quaint medieval district, with meandering streets lined with antique shops and cafes that lead the way to Stockholm Cathedral, the city’s oldest church and the site of many royal weddings, funerals and coronations from the 13th century to the present. We briefly looked at the 13th century Royal Palace, currently housing the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden.
Jon and Kathryn went on off to explore. Barry and I looked through shops and when the rain started in earnest we ducked into a modern Nordic restaurant for a great lunch. Barry had a wonderful ocean trout and I had meatloaf, nothing like ikea!
This stop was way too short, we all agreed that we must return to beautiful Stockholm. Next time we will take more time in the Vasa Museum, see the Skansen Park folk museum, check out the thousands of surrounding islands, as well as the other great museums and do a ghost walk.