August 3, 2013: Stockholm, Sweden
We spent our last full day in Europe in the beautiful Swedish city of Stockholm. I wish we could have stayed longer. It is a gorgeous city in an almost unbelievably beautiful natural setting. On our approach to the city, we sailed at least three hours through an archipelago of evergreen-covered islands, many dotted with small well-tended red cabins. We would have loved to pop ashore at any one of them, pick a cabin equipped with a hot tub, and stay forever.
Well, at least until the first hint of winter.
What a beautiful day it was. The temperature was in the mid-70s, the sun was shining, and the city sparkled. Our tour consisted of a short motorcoach tour–narrated by our droll guide, Tim–followed by visits to the Stockholm City Hall, the Vasa Museum and a walking tour of the city’s “Old Town.”
Stockholm City Hall
On this Baltic vacation I tried to read a little something about each city on the evening prior to our visit. I didn’t manage to read much about Stockholm, though, and wondered why a tour of City Hall was on our itinerary. It seemed to be a dull choice, but it was not what I expected. The building itself is beautiful in a rough-hewn, Nordic way. And it turns out that it is a place of some historic significance. All of the Nobel prize ceremonies are held in it (except the peace prize, which is awarded in Oslo). Pretty cool.
The Vasa Museum
A visit to the Vasa Museum was next on our itinerary. I did not recognize the name “Vasa” and did not remember that I actually knew the story of the ill-fated ship. Probably the most expensive warship built in the Early Modern period, the Vasa sunk less than one mile into its maiden voyage because of the stubborn stupidity of Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. It was salvaged in 1961 and is spectacularly preserved and on display in the museum. Very cool.
|Baltic 2013: Part six of six|
|1-Denmark 2-Germany 3-Estonia 4-Russia 5-Finland 6-Sweden|
Goodbye to the Baltic
After our stroll through Stockholm’s oldest and narrowest streets, Joann and I relaxed with a cold beverage–Sweden’s Skål lager for me and a Diet Coke or her–before catching our motorcoach for a ride back to the ship where we prepared to say goodbye to the Baltic region. We enjoyed the sunset and a couple of glasses of wine on our balcony, then settled in for a cozy overnight snuggle during the transit from Sweden back to Copenhagen.
Our vacation started on my 53rd birthday in Denmark and took us to six countries over eleven days. We saw a lot. More than was possible to really take in in such a short time, but we loved every moment of it. Even before we had reached port in Copenhagen, Joann was talking of coming back next year to see the fjords of Norway. I doubt my health will allow that, but I almost never say never.