Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday: The Vasa Museum - one of the best days of my life.♥

It's my third and last day to explore Stockholm. I'm still not used to how far it is from Point A to Point B. Because Stockholm is made up of many islands, it seems bigger than it is.  That's why, when I got on the tram this morning and my stop was clearly written "Vasa Museum," I remained seated because I didn't think it was possible that I had arrived already. I was going to an island after-all! I said something to the ticket guy and he said, "You just missed the stop!" No biggie, I got off at the next stop and walked 5 minutes back. You get more photos and more knowledge when you screw up! LOL.

A couple of snapshots while I'm on the #7 tram on my way to Djurgården or, more officially, Kungliga Djurgården --"The (Royal) Game Park," an island in central Stockholm.

My "duh" moment -- It clearly says Vasa Museet and I stay on board. Maybe I was just distracted by this boy's cute wild boar hat.

  Galärkyrkogården cemetery

Minneslund (Memorial)

Memorial for the 1994 Estonia ferry disaster -- the destination was Stockholm. (852 people died, 137 survived) 

Time for the Vasa Museum.

I walked into the unassuming building and when I saw this ship, my jaw dropped. Oh my gosh! I was memorized. Reader, add Stockholm to your to-visit list and the Vasa Museum is a must.

The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures.

The 226-foot-long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. For nearly half a century, the ship has been slowly, deliberately, and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory.

My photos don't do it justice. Enjoy the following press photos:
The 17th century warship Vasa. Photo Åke E:son Lindman.

The 17th century warship Vasa. Photo Karolina Kristensson, the Swedish National Maritime Museums.

The 17th century warship Vasa. Photo Karolina Kristensson, the Swedish National Maritime Museums.

Time to find Flickorna Helin & Voltaire for lunch. (I believe the translation is "The Girls Helin & Voltaire")

Djurgården was originally an enclosed royal hunting ground accessed through various gates. In the 19th century, Djurgården became a popular recreational area for Stockholmers.  

I walked by some great buildings, including this one -- Villa Lusthusporten is a 19th-century merchant's house on Djurgården road.  In 1940, the house was donated to the Nordic Museum Foundation when the Institute of Ethnology was established. The building is now a national monument.

The following (including my lunch hot spot) are all on Rosendalsvägen road:
Please keep in mind that it's off season for tourism, otherwise you would see these establishments busy busy!
Shown above are two shots of the restaurant, Ulla Winbladh.

Villa Godthem restaurant  - built in 1874

Can Scott babe and I live here in the summer? I kept staring at this house on the hill. Reader, they have a priceless view of the Djurgården canal.

I have reached my destination and I'm also thinking of my dear mother-in-law because look who is going on walk: a beautiful German Shepherd -- her favorite breed.

Isn't this the most charming cafe you have ever seen?

It was a few minutes before noon and I had a choice as to where I sat. Had I came 15 minutes later, seating would have been a problem. Even though I read about this cafe in travel blogs, this was a hot spot for locals.

I claimed my table and then got up to order.
 I took a deep breath and looked at the menu. I can figure out some words from these boards, but I know it made me nervous.

As the two girls seated to my left got up to order, their furry baby kept his eye on them.

My lunch. "Club Sandwich" -- mé kycklingfile "curry majjo" + knaprig bacon.
As I'm working on this caption (May13th - I realize what I was eating. I just looked up "kycklingfile" -- it means chicken. Reader, I didn't know what the heck was in this salad and buried beneath. (It was delicious, but strange to eat something that you don't know what it is 100%.)

I passed on dessert (of course I got some at a later hot spot), but I think this just means that if I get the chance to go back to Sweden, I do the Vasa Museum again and grab some sweets.

I walked down these stairs to check out the terrace.

Cold? Get yourself a blanket or a Pooch :-)

One positive thing about traveling by yourself is that your itinerary is flexible. I hadn't planned on visiting the Nordic museum, but was beyond intrigued when I realized I was only five minutes away. The museum was opened in 1907 and showcases a vivid picture of Sweden from the Middle Ages to today.

Carl Milles' statue of Gustav Vasa, the heroic king who won Swedish independence from the Danes in 1523, in the Great Hall of the Nordic Museum.

This fashion exhibit looked cool, but I was limited on time. I went right to the Table Settings exhibit.

Wooden cabinet, containing 48 knives and two-tined forks with handles of mother-of-pearl and silver, unmarked. Probably French, mid-18th century; More items from the 1700s items including these pretty tureens and pitchers.

 Asparagus dish, majolica. Gustavsberg, ca. 1870-1880

Tram time!
Cafes in Kungsträdgården

The prettiest public WC I have ever seen!

Saint James' Church (Swedish: Sankt Jacobs kyrka)- dedicated to apostle Saint James the Greater, patron saint of travelers. It is often mistakenly called St. Jacob's. The confusion arises because Swedish, like many other languages, uses the same name for both James and Jacob.

Next stop - The Royal Palace:
Museum Tre Kroner at the Royal Palace - Original 12th-century defensive architecture of the old Tre Kronor palace. You walk down the dimly lit 16th- and 17th-century brick vaults. (Fatal fire in 1697.)

The defense-wall is 18 feet solid, 22 feet high on the inside, 36 feet on the outside and 377 feet long.
The opening allows us to see a section of the wall. The outer wall is granite with shifts of red sandstone. Only the top of the wall was coated in brick. In the 13th century, brick was a new and expensive material.

It was a moment after snapping these two photos (with no flash) that I got yelled at by security. The woman in her mean voice said, "NO PICTURES" to me. I quickly asked, "Even with no flash?" She replied, "NO PICTURES." This actually upset me. I'm in a city by myself and nervous to begin with... Reader, the photo I was about to take was of an actual outfit worn by Karl X Gustav, King of Sweden in the 1600s. Click here for something similar to what I was about to capture.

**Please note that I would have checked out the Royal Apartments (Representationsvåningarna), but they were closed because of the visit from the President of Finland. :-(

After being traumatized, I visit the old streets of Gamla Stan once again. These cobblestone streets are so soothing.  (My original plan on my itinerary was to check out more of Södermalm (island south of Gamla Stan), but I knew it would be too much on my feet. Rain check for sure!)
I had to walk by of Sundbergs one more time. People finally seated outside, but it wasn't too warm.

This was a chocolate shop on Stora Nygatan. It was tough for me to decide what to buy! Too much to choose from. I got Scott dark chocolate with orange liquor. He loved it! I ended up getting something similar to this bottom right picture. Instead of a coconut ball, I got a bollar (ball) filled with a coffee flavored filling. 

I then took the subway up to Östermalmstorg. This is the same neighborhood that the cat cafe was in and I wanted to see this area one more time as well. My first stop was the Saluhall -- an indoor market of gourmet foods, cheese, fresh fish, meats and produce. 


It was here at Saluhall that I had my afternoon coffee and dessert.
 Robert's Coffee cafe ♥

Great cappuccino at Robert's.
 I sat at the counter with others. I then got out my chocolate "bollar" to devour -- or so I thought. I had trouble breaking it apart so I pushed on it, thank goodness -- while it was still in the plastic baggy. It then exploded. Too messy to even eat. It was quite embarrassing; I pretended nothing happened.

 On a side note, Scott & I enjoyed Robert's Coffee at the Stockholm Airport when we were leaving Sweden. (I took no pictures the day we left.)

I loved this store! And look at these pink dishes. :-)

Fancy Ladurée is coming soon to this neighborhood!

 Time to head back to Uppsala.

I was able to join Scott & his colleagues for dinner on one condition -- I pay for my meal. Fair enough!
We ate at Biztron which replaced Scott's old favorite, Bill och Bull.

Scott's gracious colleague, Per (center), and Dan to his left.

Kyril, John, Greg

Delicious dinner to end an amazing day!


  1. I wrote a comment already, but I think my browser lost it... So anyway,

    I love the boat hat! You did an awesome job of stitching the memorial photos together :) the Vasa ship looks incredible!! 333 years later?? Holy crap. I love the architecture there, your photos are amazing. My favorites are the cafés , yum :p
    I would have reacted the same the the exploding chocolate ball- except I'd still try to eat it when I was alone HAHA where no one can see

  2. Truly an amazing and wonderful trip you were able to experience.
    If you ever do that again and fail to bring me I will never forgive you :)