Friday, June 18, 2010
Nate and I caught the ferry to Stockholm on Tuesday evening with my friend Topi. We booked the cheapest room possible which ended up being one level below the car deck. The only other people staying at that level were backpackers and gypsies.
We arrived in Stockholm on Wednesday morning. The beautiful people of Stockholm all seem to be currently obsessing over the upcoming nuptials between Crown Princess Victioria and her commoner fiance, Daniel. There was wedding related merchandise in every shop window on just about every street corner in the city. Pictures of the beaming royal couple (such as this) were emblazened on dinner plates and tea spoons and boxes of chocolate.
After getting off the ferry, our first stop in Stockholm was to the Vasa museum to visit the famous warship that sank in 1628. The Vasa is a bit of an embarrasment for the Swedes. It sank after sailing less than one nautical mile into its maiden voyage (because it was top heavy and had insufficient ballast). It lay at the bottom of a busy shipping lane in Stockholm harbour and was pretty much forgotten until it was rediscovered and resurrected in the early 1960s and is now on display in a spectacular purpose-built museum.
I'm not really a ship kinda guy but I did find the museum very interesting, not the least because of how well the ship had been preserved.... When we entered the building, I could hear a great deal of noise coming from a bunch of chinese tourists and it soon became apparent that one of them had been the victim of a pickpocket. I stepped in to offer to translate because the tourists couldn't speak any english and the museum staff couldn't speak any chinese. The victim had apparently had 2,900 british pounds pinched from her bum bag. Who the hell carries that much cash? Regardless, I guess that was her holiday ruined. After doing as much as I could to help, we resumed our tour of the museum and the ship...with my own bag firmly in my grips the entire time.
After the Vasa, we continued on our aquatic theme and visited the aquarium next door. It was a rather small aquarium but noteworthy for the spectacular rainforest walk-through display that included rain and thunder! As impressed as I was with all the pyrotechnics, I couldn't help but wonder how many times visitors might have fallen or slipped into the pools of fish below because of the sudden change of lighting (the wonky bridge over the pool that housed the pirhanas was particularly steep and slippery).
From the aquarium, we slowly made our way along the waterfront to the old city before checking out the 'newer' parts of the city centre (including a quick stop-over at the local clothing superstore, H&M, at Nathan's request).
We caught the metro back to the ferry terminal in the afternoon. Before stepping onto the ship, we couldn't resist the opportunity to have a photo taken with Moomin troll (the troll is the one in the middle).