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Friday, August 12, 2011

Tour of Stockholm

Stockhom Harbor
Stockholm was one city where we opted for a Princess excursion basically because we didn’t know much about the place.   I don’t know if it was the walk around the Gamla Stan (Old Town) yesterday afternoon or being just a little worn out from going and going, but we both slept likes rocks and were eager to get going early this morning, looking forward to meeting new folks and to what we would see today.  
After breakfast we grabbed our tickets and my camera and met up with our group.  We would be in Yellow Bus 4.  MA and I ended up as the first two out the door and we managed to get a front row seat on the bus.  The panoramic view of the local sights is always best from there. Our group consisted of about 60 folks and our Swedish guide spoke perfect English. 

The first stop was the Vasa Museum where a 300 year old warship is on display, having been restored after it was raised from the bottom of the Stockholm harbor. Its original purpose was a warship to do battle against the Catholic countries. (Sweden is strictly a Lutheran country.)
During the original construction of the ship the Swedish king insisted on some extra canons.  Unfortunately they added too much weight and made the ship top heavy.  And so on August 10, 1628, twenty minutes after the ship set sail on her maiden voyage, it tipped over and promptly sank in the harbor where it sat for three hundred years.
When the diving bell was later invented, divers went down and the ship was located. But the only things they retrieved at first were three canons which for some reason were sold to Germany.     The Ship itself was forgotten until it was located again in 1961 at which time it was raised and very carefully restored. The Vasa Museum was then built to house it and help keep it preserved. It is one of the world’s most visited museums.



The "Blue Room" where the Nobel Prizes are awarded


Our next stop was City Hall, Stadshuset in Swedish.  I thought the architecture of the place was outstanding.  There are columns, marbled steps, arches, in what the guide described as Neo-Romantic.  What is famous about this place is the “Blue Room,” which seats 1,000 guests for the annual Nobel Peace Committee banquet honoring each year’s winners. Upstairs is the gold room where dancing takes place after the banquet.  The walls there are intricately decorated with tiny gold tiles, 23 karat gold I might add, and no one dares try to steal even one tiny little tile off those walls.

Our last stop was the Gamla Stan, the Old Town, same place MA and I had walked around last night.  Our timing could not have been better because we caught the procession of Swedish soldiers for the changing of the guards of the Royal Palace. 

After a short bus ride back to the ship, we shared a lunch table with three ladies from Ventura, California whose main topic of conversation was the loss in real estate value of their homes there. I took it easy for the remainder of the day.  MA did a mile walk on the promenade deck, exchanged some library books, got a latte, and attended the tour lecture on Helsinki, Finland, tomorrow’s port of call.  Stay tuned!

Passing 3 Mast Sailing Ship


2 comments:

  1. Wayne - great photos and very interesting information. The story about the ship sinking great - what a beautiful ship. Enjoyed all the pictures. Looking forward to next update.

    Have a God Blessed day - dave b.

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  2. super photos as per usual Wayne, thanks for sharing. I was in Stockholm a couple of times about twenty years ago for business and really enjoyed it. I went to see the Vasa Museum too and was very impressed by the ship and the story of how they brought it up and restored each and every piece. Also interesting to walk through the recreation of the ship to see how short the decks are and to get a feel for life onboard during those days. Also Gamla Stan is great, I remember having a beer with my co-workers on the island and all of a sudden several young blond haired girls with candles in their hair passed by...it was the day of Santa Lucia and is a very Swedish custom. Nice folk there! Cheers and enjoy the rest of your cruise!

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