Stockholm, Sweden

Day 8

We’ve debarked in Stockholm. We’re at central train station sipping a cappuccino in order to get change for the lockers. Apparently, European credit cards have a chip in them and the machine couldn’t read our chipless cards. It’ll be far nicer to wander the city devoid of Fido and the Turtle Shell (my pet names for G’s Pullman and my backpack).

The Viking Tradition is alive and well in Sweden! Instead of getting their feet wet and sailing to foreign shores, they now lure visitors to their home soil and take their coins in luggage lockers! G was mad. We went through all the trouble of acquiring Krone, buying a coffee to acquire exact change, and it ate half our change on the first try. Sacked, we were! Pilaged! Rar!

We took a water taxi to Djurgarden and visited the Vasa Museum. During Sweden’s war with the Polish king, to show and intimidate, the Swedish king built a new flagship, the Vasa. On 10 August 1628, she set sail in Stockholm Harbor and, 130 meters later, listed hard from a wind in her sails, took water into the open gun ports, and sank before most of Stockholm, the king, and visiting dignitaries. A slight embarrassment, to say the least. The water in the harbour isn’t terribly deep so the 3 masts were sticking out. The king had them cut down as they were a painful reminder. The ship was simply not wide enough nor deep enough (so it could hold more ballast) to be stable. She sat at the bottom of the harbour for 333 years. They began excavating in the 1960s and the museum opened in 1990. She’s fully preserved and 95% of her is original black walnut. She took two years to build and almost 30 to rebuild. The ship was built full of symbolism supporting the Swedish king’s right to rule and his lineage back to Roman caesars. There is also a carved image of the Polish king (who once ruled over Sweden) crouching under a table in fear and cowardice. This carving was conveniently placed under the only latrine on the ship. Propaganda much?

We then walked over to Skansen, a combination open-air historical recreation village of houses and building from around Sweden with an amusement park and zoo. I enjoyed walking through the old buildings with people dressed in period costumes to answer questions. The best was the bakery where a woman made thin flax bread in front of us with tools and techniques from the 18th century.

We took another water taxi to Gamlastan, the old town. It was very picturesque, full of cafés and antique shops. I finally found a proper tea shop for a cup. Sadly, every town I’ve been to where I’ve found a bike shop, the shop was closed. I may have to give up my quest for a back tire lock and just comb the Internet when I return home. *sigh*

Gamlastan is a bonus, as I wasn’t sure we’d have time for it. Fortunately, we debarked early thanks to not checking our bags.

We bought a one-day Stockholm card which put us ahead of the game after two attraction entries. We checked our bags at the terminal which eased our journey on foot through cobbled streets and stairs. We also added lots of fun photos of European doors and portals for my collection. We were then able to pick up our bags before boarding the train for the airport.

Comments are closed.