This is pretty much the most Stockholm-y photo I came up with on the trip:
What do you think?
A place where skies are always blue, fields always green, and where the locals seem to travel exclusively on ‘roller-skis’:
Perhaps this is a common way to combat the expenses of public transport in Sweden? Even the lady driving the bus (who also spoke perfect English), was concerned that we chose to spend such a large fee on getting into town.
Our first stop, after a blink-of-the-eye busride, speedy train journey and flash-like walk through the city, was the Vasa Museum- ranked 1st in the 150 Stockholm attractions (Trip Advisor).
A big museum, holding a big, old, boat.
Which doesn’t really do it justice. Because the boat is very very big, and the museum itself is an amazing structure that is somehow a mixture between a tomb and a cathedral, and manages to be both very ancient and very modern at the same time.
And I have to concede that the Vasa is pretty impressive- built in 1628 she was made too narrow, tall, and top heavy- and made it just 1 km from the harbor before a slight gust of wind sank her. 333 years later, she was pulled up again, dirty, but otherwise fairly unscathed (the boat as it sits is 98 % original), restored, and placed for the world to view.
Very cool too see, and amazing to think that such a magnficent project could go so very very wrong. I was convinced that they should have the maths at the time to work out how to build her, but apparently it was mostly done by ‘prior experience’- which is clearly not so helpful when trying to innovate something new.
The Apple, her sister-ship, which was built just a year later, was made only 1 m wider- and this difference was enough to sail her in into (many) sunsets.
Over all, I enjoyed seing the ship, I enjoyed listening to the guide explain the wonders of the boating world and shift the blame of the sinking onto anyone who wasn’t swedish, and I especially enjoyed pretending to be on a ship.
But I still got to the stage where I’d had enough boat.
Unfortunately, the boys were a bit more into it:
Perhaps part of my heartbreak was being so close close to the sea and the sun, and loosing daylight hours locked in a dark and quiet museum…
Avast me hearties- look ye at them sparkles!
We hadn’t done much in the way of breakfast, so the men were eventually driven from the ship in search of some grub.
Simon, being the food (and drink) connoisseur that he is- and thus pretty much the perfect travelling companion- lead us to Pelican.
I’ll let Simon’s eyes sing raptures of the food- it was incredible.
The restaurant has a fairly short menu, and not an overly cheap one. It’s filled with what I beleive to be traditional Swedish food, with everything falling under the descriptor ‘hearty’. We went with:
It came in a red wine sauce and accompanied by roasted potatoes. The meat itself was so very tender, and gamey to the extreme- the latter a rather pleasing juxtaposition to months of pork. I can best describe the actual flavor as somewhere between beef and liver- but don’t want scare away all those who aren’t impressed by liver (I’m not so keen myself). In any case, eating that meat was sensational, and I’m pretty sure you could feel the irony-goodness flow into your veins.
Next, up, Swedish Kottbullar, with a rich and buttery sauce and sweet lingonberries. These also came with potatoes- in the form of a mash. Tasty as anything, but the overall combination (mixing sweet with meat) is not my favourite, even when done so well.
And finally, a selection of Herrings. Also with potato- this time boiled, which seemed like a waste when we knew the magic they could do with an over or even a masher. From front to back, a rather lemony delight (delicious!), something of a more cooked manner with tomatoes and other flavourings (also very tasty), and some horrible little beast pickled in sugar-water (just like they do in Deutschland), which I kindly left for Andy and Simon. Oh, and cheese.
As I mentioned, the place is not cheap. We went for two mains and an entree, with some drinks, and it came out under 30 euros each- but not by a lot. Still I would definitely return- just make sure you’re hungry as the portions are fairly large and built to fill.
Here’s some more snaps of our happy, happy food faces:
The afternoon was filled with more walking around, a smidge of opshopping on my part, and sun-soaking.
Simon spent the evening with some friends, but we piked, heading back to our nowhere land to refuel for the final morning….
…which looked to be a rather lovely day:
I was pretty keen to check out some markets, but they turned out to be low quality.
Lesson 653: never compromise marketing by ‘just going to that little one close to town’. It’s never worth it. If you want to go to a flea market, you have to GO to the flea market.
So we spent the day wandering instead- because that very rarely ends with disappointment.
Lesson 821: Stockholm gives great clouds. Maybe someone who knows more about these things can tell me if that’s somehow a function of being on the water- because I don’t remember seeing such diverse beauties in Berlin.