Day Twenty Three: Stockholm

Hardly slept last night as my back was irritating me but I managed to fall asleep around 4 to 5am. In falling asleep so late, I obviously slept in until 10.30am and still felt tired. It was a wonderful day outside, sunny and a top of 17 degrees. We had some breakfast of cream cheese and tomato on bagels before heading out.

We got the train to central station and walked to city hall so we could do the tower tour as we were too late yesterday. We walked up to the ticket counter and were rudely told that the next time slot is 1.10pm. Only a maximum of 30 people can be in the tower at any one time as it is a ‘fire risk’. We bought our tickets and waited the 45 minutes until our time came around. We were given information sheets that said that we would get a lift half way and then 365 stairs to the top but it didn’t say that the lift is horrendously slow and only fits 4 people at a time so it is strongly recommended that you climb the stairs the entire way up. On most days, I would say this is fine but I was walking pretty stilted and nurofen wasn’t making much difference. Anyway, we climbed the tower. It was worth the view from the top. As my trusty information sheet stated, it has 2.5 million bricks and weighs twice that of the Eiffel Tower. After we admired the view, we were climbing down and came to the Tower Museum that was initially bypassed on the way up. We had only just started to look around when our supposed tour guide (who was not guiding us) said we had to leave as the next tour group would be going through soon. We apparently only had 35 minutes allocated to do the climb, so it was disappointing to say the least.

We left mildly disgruntled and hoped our next stop would be much better. We walked for 40 minutes across town to get to another small island to have lunch prior to going to the next museum. We both got pizzas as our original idea of getting a salad would literally cost double that of a pizza. They were yummy pizzas except on mine they had mussels still in their shells! You had to dig out your mussel and place it back on the pizza!

We did a quick walk to the Vasa Museum. It’s a museum dedicated to the large war vessel, Vasa. Vasa’s maiden voyage on the 10th August 1628 went smoothly for the first 1200 metres and then it sank in the harbour within minutes and only due to a small breeze. The vessel lay in the bottom the harbour for 333 years until it was salvaged in 1961, cleaned, reconstructed and now on display within the museum. The reason why it sank ended up being a design issue and a weight issue. The Dutch entrepreneurs, Henrik Hybertsson and Antonio Monier, made the vessel too tall and too top heavy as well as placing 64 1.5 tonne cannons along both sides and they expected the boat to float in 16 feet of water, it was never going to work! Because the boat sank within the harbour, majority of the crew survived and out of 133 crew members, only 30 to 50 were presumed dead. The vessel has now been fully restored but scientists have been testing the wood and have noted increased levels of sulfur and bacteria thus making the wood less than half the strength of what it would normally be and they are concerned for the future about the structural integrity of such a vast ship.

Of course whilst being in Sweden, you must attend the ABBA museum! Well, we went to the gift shop but weren’t prepared to pay entrance into a museum. I’m not very interested! But, we played around out the front before getting a ferry back to Gamla Stan island and the train/tram home.

We stopped for some groceries and more ciders. I bought three ciders for the equivalent of $6.50. In Australia, Swedish ciders can be $10 each. Back in our apartment, I made a caeser salad with yummy cherry tomatoes and other goodies and we ate the entire thing!