This is what we woke up to this morning.
The cruise up into Stockholm was amazing. We had been told it would be but it was so much more than I had expected. Here are just a few of my photos.
We docked at 10am and were off the ship quite quickly. We met our guide, Gemma, and set off in a small coach for our tour. Our first stop was a vantage point – or a photo opportunity!
It was then the Vasa Museum. The Vasa was a warship built between 1626 and 1628. The ship foundered after sailing for about 20 minutes into its maiden voyage on 10th August 1628. The ship was built on the orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus as part of the military expansion he initiated in a war with Poland-Lithuania (1621–1629). It was armed primarily with bronze cannons cast in Stockholm specifically for the ship. Richly decorated as a symbol of the king's ambitions for Sweden and himself, upon completion she was one of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world. However, Vasa was dangerously unstable and top-heavy with too much weight in the upper structure of the hull. Gustavus had decided that he wanted two rows of canons and not one and no-one felt they could argue with the King! Despite this lack of stability she was ordered to sea and foundered only a few minutes after encountering a wind stronger than a breeze. In August 1956 the Vasa was discovered.
In a series of 18 lifts in August and September 1959, the ship was moved from depth of 105 feet to 52 feet). Over the course of a year and a half, a small team of commercial divers cleared debris and mud from the upper decks to lighten the ship, and made the hull as watertight as possible. The final lift began on 8th April 1961, and on the morning of 24th April, Vasa was ready to return to the world for the first time in 333 years. Vasa was moved into her lovely museum in December 1988.
She is the most amazing ship, I’m afraid it puts Mary Rose in the shadows.
This is a scale model.
From the museum we drove into Gamla Stan and parked by The Royal Palace of Stockholm. Sadly our tour didn’t take us into it. The Palace is The King's official residence and is also the setting for most of the monarchy's official receptions. The palace is a daily place of work for The King and Queen as well as for the various departments that make up the Royal Court. King Carl XVI Gustaf acceded the Swedish throne in September 1973. He is married to Queen Silvia and they have three children. Their eldest child, Victoria will succeed her father. On 1st January 1980 a new law establishing absolute primogeniture (the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child) was passed - the first such law passed in European history. We passed the same law in October 2011.
We walked passed a tiny statue. Järnpojke or Iron Boy, in English known as the "little boy who looks at the moon" is a sculpture by Liss Eriksson, which is only 5.9 inches high and therefore is the smallest public monument of Stockholm. The sculpture was created in 1954 by the Swedish artist Liss Eriksson, but was inaugurated at this point only in 1967. In winter, the little boy is also to be found wearing winter hat and scarf. The sculpture is described in very few tourist guides and is therefore considered "secret" tourist attraction. It is said that if a woman touches the statue’s head she will become pregnant and if a man touches it he will make a woman pregnant! I didn’t touch it!!!
We passed a statue of George and the dragon. The story is that The Saint George is a symbolic representation of Sten Sture, the dragon is the Danish King Christian I, and the Princess is Sweden. In 1471 at the According to legend, Sture had prayed to Saint George before the Battle of Brunkeberg - he later paid tribute to Saint George by commissioning a statue.
We saw the house where the first fire station was located however the firemen would only attend a house on fire if it had insurance!
We walked into a lovely square where we were left to our own devices for lunch. We found a café and had lovely toasted cheese and ham sandwiches.
We decided not to continue with the tour but carried on looking in shops and buying large icecreams! We saw this car in the square.
Penny and Jim wanted to visit the Cathedral but it was closed as there was a wedding going on.
We walked into a courtyard behind the Royal Palace and found some sentries. They were a little more casual than our sentries – these ones looked around them which in fact makes more sense as they can see if someone has a gun!
Just before we got on the coach we found a female sentry.
On returning to Eclipse we changed for dinner and had a very quiet evening. We gave the show a miss as it didn’t appeal to us.
We sat on our balcony and watched our progress through the islands – it was a wonderful experience.
“A ship is always referred as she because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.” Chester W. Nimitz