Sunday, November 26, 2017

Scandinavia 10a

Stockholm, Sweden

A Five Day Stay

We stood on the veranda of our stateroom and watched the scenery pass as we pulled into port. We were surrounded by islands with dense trees and small houses/building. The trees were beginning to change to fall colors. Everything worked as planned; our driver arrived right on time to pick us up from the dock and delivered us to our hotel.
After being on the ship 10 days, completely coddled with servants and food (all day long) we had to forage for ourselves. It was a rude awakening to get back to the "real" world...

Vasa Museum
The forecast said, “heavy rain all day”. So we took our rain gear and carried it around all day. Not a drop, but freezing cold with many gusts of strong wind! We went to the Vasa Museum, a 1623 warship that was supposed to be high tech for its day. It sank 20 minutes into its maiden voyage and rested at the bottom of the harbor for 333 years. In 1950 it was brought up from the sea mostly intact. It’s an amazing ship if only for its massiveness.

Swedish Historical Museum
The Swedish Historical Museum is all about prehistoric Sweden and the Viking era. The Vikings were big, mean,  light-skinned people, and smart enough to figure out how to navigate the Nordic seas all the way to Newfoundland! Then they went south to Portugal in the 12th century. Some were described them as "giants with fire colored hair".

Changing of the Guard
The next day after breakfast we left for the Royal Palace. It was raining, heavy winds and only 50 degrees. The rain got heavier with gale winds as we walked. We had to navigate cobblestone streets, up a slight hill. The wind was pelting the rain at our face and front of our rain gear, We slipped and slid on the cobblestones. Because of Stockholm's drainage system, we didn't see much in the way of flooding or major puddles. We made it to the palace just in time to see the Changing of the Guard. They wore full uniforms (including feathered helmets), and rode on huge white and brown horses and mounted military brass band. The musicians actually played while riding their horses!
Afterward, we decided to take the three-hour trip back to the hotel and let the storm blow through.

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