Taking Stock of Stockholm

Off early for a full day of exploration of Stockholm on our own. We walk about half an hour from our hotel in Södermalm through new Stockholm across the bridge to Gamlastan (Old Stockholm) to a ferry that would take us across the water to the edge of Skeppsholmen.

A pleasant 10-minute ferry ride crowded with kids on this beautiful Saturday morning all headed to the spectacular amusement park that can be seen on all vistas around Stockholm.

We skip the spins and drops and flips of the rides (even though you can get in free if you’re over 65 – don’t see too many people taking advantage of that) – and walk past the aquarium, the tram terminal until we see this sign…

…and this spectacular, futuristic, windowless building of metal plates and concrete housing the Vasa.

The Vasa. A fantastic flop turned into a great piece of history, archeology, and anthropology.

The spectacular warship, decked out with hundreds of sculptures and state-of-the-art innovations…. listed to it’s port side and sank 40 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628 from a large wind gust. The ship designer was a bit off in his width, height and ballast calculations.

It laid at the bottom of Stockholm harbor until it was rediscovered in 1956 and finally raised by a team of marine archeologists in 1961. As Rick Steves says, the Edsel of the Sea.

Today it’s probably the best preserved ship anywhere. It’s been in the museum since 1990. It’s a spectacular feat of restoration…and presentation. Never heard of it or expected it, but now will be one of our brightest memories of Stockholm.

On our way to check out Skansen we pass by the ABBA museum…yes, the ABBA museum. I guess if your Swedish….

And, no town is complete without its flamingos.

Skansen is Europe’s first and best open-air folk museums with more than 150 old homes, churches, shops and schools, but time is getting short and we have to decide on Skansen and the Modern Art Museum. Guess what? The art museum won.

A huge surprise. Really didn’t know what to expect, but found one of the best, most extensive museums of modern art anywhere outside of New York.

The special exhibit was amazing and enlightening, including a documentary about how modernity is heartlessly driving old, thriving, private business out of “developing” neighborhoods.

The museum’s collections is extensive, wide-ranging and beautifully presented. Of course Marsha looks good with her favorite Matisse cut outs.

We decide to take the long walk back to the hotel, crossing a couple of bridges until we get back to the old city.

On the way we decide to take Rick Steves’ guided walking tours of Gamla Stan, starting between the sea and the royal palace at the statue of King Gustav III and winding through the old streets.

A favorite is the Iron Boy, a fist size figure said to commemorate the orphans who were put into service off-loading ships in the harbor. His head’s rubbed to a shine by people wanting better luck than the orphans. We actually see a pretty seedy man vigorously rubbing the boys head and quietly pocketing some of the larger coins…helping change his luck we guess.

A bonus brass band concert greets us in the town’s main square. A well-timed place to rest and relax before regaining our trek.

Hey New Yorkers, City Bikes of Stockholm.

Hey Abyl, Moma did almost 25,000 steps today. Isn’t that close to your record?

Anyway, we take a chance and stop at Montenegrin restaurant and have a really nice dinner before a final walk (with a stop for a gelato and sorbet to) before getting back to ready for a 5 am wake up for our early flight to Bergen, Norway. Yawn.

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4 Responses to Taking Stock of Stockholm

  1. Lea says:

    Stockholm is so lovely! My parents were there earlier this year too! Love following your travels! xoxo

  2. Carol Kalajainen says:

    We loved the Vasa, too!

  3. Pauline says:

    Isn’t the Vasa funny? We loved Stockholm, and glad you had good weather!

  4. Nina Glanz says:

    Beautiful photos. You certainly picked great weather.

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