Touring Sweden's City of Islands

Waking up this morning was like being in a storybook setting. As our ship slowly wound its way through the archipelago of Sweden, tiny red houses dotted the landscape on the islands surrounded by tall pine trees.

Although we were sad to leave the ship, Stockholm struck us immediately as a lively city. The Nordic Museum is housed in a beautiful old building and features exhibits ranging from fashions through the ages including a huge display of men's swimming trunks to Swedish traditions and furnishings.  My favorite exhibit showed how Christmas is celebrated and had a  tree with beautiful ornaments.


Just around the corner is the Vasa Museum. It is a one of a kind museum featuring a 17th century wooden battle ship that sank over 300 years ago on its maiden voyage after 20 minutes.  Because the Baltic Sea is less salty than others, it does not support the life of wood bores who would normally eat the wood. In an incredible feat of engineering, the ship was raised out of the harbor in 1961 and reconstructed using 95% of its original materials.  


The ship was built by order of the king and was designed to impress with brightly painted carvings of lions and Roman emperors on it. Unfortunately the ballast could not support its height and although it left Stockholm in all its grandeur to cheering crowds and gun salutes, the captain's worst fears were met. It was not seaworthy.


Last night we ate at a really fun restaurant in the Gamla Stand section of Stockholm.  Vapiano is a lively hip restaurant offering freshly made salads, pizza, and pasta. What makes it unusual are two interesting concepts. One is that you travel from station to station to order your food and swipe a card to keep an ongoing tally of your bill.  Then, once the food is ready, you pick your own herbs from flower pots placed on every table. A small open air greenhouse in the center of the restaurant keeps all the herbs fresh.  The only problem we encountered was a party of six swiped our table while we were off ordering even though our stuff was there. They acted rather put out when I went to retrieve our items and they offered no apologies, but luckily we found another table nearby.


Exploring the area after dinner, we passed the Royal Palace. It will be like being in a different type of storybook setting when we explore it tomorrow. 


CoachSparky said…
The "pick your own fresh herbs" concept at these restaurants is really neat. I'm trying to understand the architecture of the Vasa Museum-- is it built around the ship itself?

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