I did go to Stockholm last year, too, but I liked it better this time, even though I mainly did the same things, which is walk around and go to the Vasa museum. It was quite hot this time, and the sun shone strong late into the day, but I was happy about it, as I'm trying to soak up as much summer as I can, before the sun rapidly vanishes from my new northern home. I like all the water, and all the boats, and how a lot of the buildings have elaborate tops—combined with Scandinavia's really fantastic clouds, it makes the sky look so fancy.
The Vasa Museum
I had only one full day there, and m+d and I went to the Vasa museum, which I went to last year but loved so much that I happily went again. For those of you who aren't familiar, the Vasa is a ship from 1628 that was so poorly designed that it was toppled by a puff of wind 1 km into its maiden voyage, and promptly sank into the Baltic harbor in a matter of minutes. For 333 years it lay 30m below the surface, until one man set out to find it in the 1960s—that's right, find it—they had lost track of where it was! I find this completely hilarious, like, oh yeah, where is that enormous gilded ship that famously sank as a national embarrassment? Anyway, they brought her up and painstakingly restored her, she's now 98% original. The brackish water was so low in oxygen that she didn't rot away. In fact some of the sails were even still in tact!
The museum is really well done, handling the large volume of people that see her daily quite well. It's a magnificent ship, but even I, who doesn't know anything about boats, can look at it and know "oh yeah, that thing will definitely tip over." It's so tall and narrow! My dad wondered if the ship builders understood it was a bad design, muttering to themselves "this thing is going to sink" as they continued to build.
The Nobel Museum
We also went to the Nobel museum, which is small but dense, and also really well-done and I'd highly recommend a visit. All the Nobel laureates have a little placard that runs along a track on the ceiling, and it reminded me of the Nobel version of the doors in Monsters Inc. From there you can explore lots of little stations about the laureates and their work. This place has the rare distinction of making me feel completely stupid and lazy, while still being an enjoyable experience all around. It's on the island of Gamla Stan, which was chock full of ice cream parlors and adorable stores, and lots and lots of people (most whom were eating ice cream.)
We also spent a bit of time on the island of Skeppsholmen, which is quiet and low-key, except for on the east side you can hear the screams from Gröna Lund amusement park soaring over the water with amusing regularity. They have one ride there in particular that looks totally diabolical (the purple one) and m+d and I gasped at the same moments "Oh my god!" while watching those sorry souls take a trip around the track.
We walked around Skeppsholmen after dinner on our last night, during that enchanting time of evening when the light comes in low and everything glows; the water's reflection of the sky made the whole harbor look like liquid gold. We found a swan cleaning itself, and first the first time I truly marveled at a swan's neck—hypnotically flexible!
As our evening stroll was coming to a close, we spotted two hot air balloons bobbing along the skyline, dipping low and then with a burst of fiery light rising up again. They were a mesmerizing sight, I thought, and in typical dark Reisman humor we joked about them getting skewered on one of Stockholm's pointy spires. Happily, though, neither did, and after we watched them float out of sight, we retired. A perfect way to end our trip, I think!
The next morning, I of course ate as much as possible at the world's greatest breakfast buffet, before heading to the airport, where I somehow resisted buying an entire reindeer pelt (so soft! So impractical!), though I easily resisted buying that disgusting lakrits licorice candy that they hawk everywhere in Sweden.
Now I'm writing from Munich, which I will write about in my next post!