It is a cold day at home and, somehow, instead of going for warm, I look at pictures of my cruise in the Baltic. But, in my defense, it was June there. Still not tropical weather but my eyes and mind wandered to my pictures of my stop in Stockholm, Sweden. And what I take away is what a great city it is to enjoy in summer time. I am sure it’s a great town any time of the year (I said having spent 3 weeks in Helsinki, Finland in the dead of winter many moons ago…). But in the summer the city is bright and alive.
I guess what I really liked about Stockholm compared to other cities by the water is that the transition from water to land felt more smooth. It did not feel abrupt with large man-made banks holding in a river (think London) nor city walls holding the sea back (think San Juan or Dubrovnik) nor being in the water proper (think Venice) nor with development keeping the city from the water (think Miami). I liked that the sea and city were seamlessly one.
The islands around Stockholm
I also liked the many islands right by the city. I felt I could just skip and hop around endlessly.
History of that sea – the Vasa Museum
This close relationship with the sea around it is not limited to the landscape or topography. Stockholm and Sweden’s history is tightly related to the sea around it. No better place to see this come alive than the amazing Vasa Museum, itself on an island (see what I mean?). Shaped itself like a modern steel vessel, this well-designed set of exhibits walk you through maritime history and 17th century Sweden, with a great collection of items, all well-labeled. The Vasa was a ship found in 1960 in the waters around Stockholm which had sunk on its maiden voyage back in 1628 (what is it with ships sinking on the maiden voyage? think Titanic… I think I will avoid any ship’s maiden voyage just in case…) The entire ship is not the original (clearly after over 3 centuries over water, this was not to be). However, they have done a great job so that it is obvious which pieces of the ship you see are part of the reconstruction/reparations and which are original. The museum also includes actual ships moored next to it.