First things first, Kenny made a rare request:
“Make sure you let everyone know I am in here making the best breakfast this world has ever seen”
Thus, the sound of my keyboard is drowned out by the beating of pancake batter, sizzling bacon, the blasting of Adele and most prominently, Kenny’s vocal belting. Naturally, I am feeling quite blessed 🙂
Hey there! Greetings to my family and friends. It has been quite a long time. So far, this season has been a whirlwind, (is it nearly February?!) and after four different countries, I am finally ready to write. We had an amazing holiday season over here, so many visitors. It was fabulous; chaotic at times, but we loved every crazy moment:) My plan is to blog about those visits eventually… However, this entry is about our arctic adventure in lovely Sweden!
Kenny’s team was given a week off earlier this month. We have both been wanting to see the Northern Lights for a long time, and as we have done most of the classic “must-see’s” in Europe and due to a donation from the Uncle Steve Christmas Fund we were able to cross it off our Bucket List.
Our itinerary included three nights in Stockholm and two nights in Kiruna, the latter of which resides in the Arctic Circle. This post depicts our time in Stockholm, thus my title is slightly misleading. My bad, guys, blame Adele too. Anyway! A few things about Sweden that struck me right in the face upon our arrival: Sweden is beautiful; Sweden is cold, and Sweden is expensive.
Seriously, I have never felt cold like this in my entire life. Plus, as it turns out, we were fortunate enough to arrive in Kiruna, Sweden on the coldest day in 16 years! Luckily, it was well past worth it. More on that later, before I get into our Lapland adventure, I want to share some photos of an old, old wooden ship.
The first thing we wanted to do when we arrived in beautiful Stockholm was see the Vasa Museum. This museum displays a 17th century ship, called the Vasa. The Vasa was salvaged just outside the Stockholm Harbor; it is near fully intact, the only one in existence.
The story behind the Vasa is almost unbelievable. I’ll give you a shortened version: King Gustavus of Sweden sanctioned construction for the ship in 1626; it took two years to complete. The ship was intricately decorated. King Gus Gus wanted something ostentatious for his flagship as a symbol of his ambition. The ship scaled to size, complete with sails and that ridiculous paint job…
He succeeded; though, by succeeding he pretty much failed miserably. The ship sank just 390 feet from shore, approximately 50 minutes into her maiden voyage. Basically, the shipwrights were idiots. The ship was too tall and narrow, they had too many cannon ports, and not enough stones to balance it out. They knew it would fail but they lacked the courage to stop it; afraid of their impatient king.
Another dumb move: they had all the cannon ports open in order to salute as the ship left the harbor. Once the ship tipped from a mere breeze, water spilled into the (too many) ports and they were doomed.
Historians were lucky though…
The only upside of this colossal catastrophe is that we get an insight into 17th century life. We get see how people people of the different class systems lived. The divers found several bodies.
Scientists were able to reconstruct them. The skulls to shape the faces, and they used their bones to identify their diet which enabled them to determine their rank and position. This provided clues into what the would’ve been wearing.
So, after 333 years the Vasa was brought from the depths. Though there were many attempts to do so in the past. Shortly after she sank, even. They came up with this ingenious idea…
The coolest parts of the ship were the stern and the bow. The detail work that went into them was incredible.
Of course, prior to her maiden voyage, this was decorated with ridiculously bright colors.
The museum provides an idea of what it would’ve been like. Each individual statue is represented in it’s proper coloring. Also, the scale model provides aid as well.
The bow displayed a line of Roman emperors and a killer lion statue.
I hope I didn’t bore you with my walk through history… Also, the photos are only mediocre (the lighting was terrible in there.) The Vasa Museum is very well done and quite possibly one of the coolest museums we have ever been to. So… if you ever find yourself in Stockholm, Sweden… 🙂
Anyway, our next adventure in Stockholm took us to the the royal apartments. If I were to be completely honest, once you see one royal palace they all start to look alike, but it was beautiful all the same.
The palace houses a lot of gorgeous mirrors. Ken and I played a little game.
Along with all the fun mirrors there were countless chandeliers. Kenny was miffed at me because supposedly I was stopping at all of them and taking 1000 photographs. I scoffed and told him he was exaggerating… Except that apparently he was not. I uploaded my photos, I have a ton of them. I have a photo from every angle… I’m ridiculous.
Anyway, back to the mirror game.
The “Christmas Tree Room Mirror” mirror was vast. So, I took an opportunity and tried out a new mirror selfie technique…
Leaving the Christmas Tree Room we came upon an incredible guilded hallway…
After the hall we happened upon an off-putting sculpture…
Also, the next room brought me to my last mirror. Kenny was sick of my reindeer games and abandoned me. Really though, I was pretty surprised he lasted as long as he did.
We left the palace to explore Old Town.
Old Town, called Gamla Stan, is beeeautiful, with its narrow, winding streets and colorful buildings. So easy to get lost and that’s just what we did:)
We were aimlessly wandering around Gamla Stan and we located the famous alley of Mårten Trotzigs Gränd. The alley is the narrowest alley in Stockholm and is mentioned in sources dating back to the 16th century.
After the alley we happened upon a store that was a nerd’s paradise. You can imagine my joy. We bought a set of Doctor Who cards and explored for awhile. Check out their Monopoly selection…
The sun started setting and we found this cool little chap…
Kenny and I had a lot of fun wandering around the winding streets and alleyways of Stockholm together. We stopped to drink Belgian beers and try the Swedish cuisine. Our first night in the city Kenny tried reindeer. He loved it so much he never had anything else. Stockholm is a lovely city, we were so blessed to explore it. My next post will involve the Northern Lights, sled dogs, and freezing our faces off!
Cheers from my giant smiling husband…