The Ship That Sunk…

If you look on the internet regarding this Vasa Museum, you will find that it is one of the highlight tourist attractions of all Stockholm, Sweden. It was that fact alone that I made a special taxi ride to this part of town to check it out.

When I first saw the ship I was impressed but not too excited about it. It wasn’t until I spent a half hour watching a non-english documentary film showing the recovery efforts that I began to appreciate the level of work it took to get the Vasa out of the water after being sunken for over 300 years.

One other nice feature about the museum is that its multiple levels, three floors to be exact. You can view the ship at water line level, mid-level and up above looking down into the ships deck. All in all its a good place to visit, plus if someone ask you “did you check out that big ship that sank?” you can say “sure did”.

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If you want to get around Old Town to specific areas, you learn to use the alleys real fast. There are hundreds of alley’s. Some are lined with small shops others are like the one shown above, just another way to get somewhere quickly.

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One cool thing about walking the alleys is taking a look up once in awhile. Sometimes you get a stunning view depending on where you happen to be standing at the time.

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 With all alleys, they lead somewhere. Most of the time I didn’t have a clue where I was walking too. If I got tired of being around the crowds I just picked a path and walked until it opened up somewhere. In this case, the classic open cafe setting. I would say every block had at least a half dozen cafe’s. The only other vendor that rivaled the coffee makers were the places selling ice cream on a waffle cone. Ice cream must be huge here, people either sat along the brick paths chomping on ice cream or drinking an expresso.

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Once I got off the subway I just followed everyone out noting the surroundings for my return. Gamla Stan is the “Old Town” section of Stockholm. I understand it’s the tourist section where hundreds of shops are located for souvenir hunters. It’s also a main stop for cruise ships.

On this particular weekend, this particular day I didn’t have a clue that it was the annual runners marathon. This is a huge event that attracts 17,000+ runners! Luckily I was there early enough to do my sight seeing before the event actually started and was long gone when it did.

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Changing of the guards…

As luck would have it I happened to be walking around Sweden’s Royal Palace when the changing of the guards occured. I heard about this and thought it would be something I would try to catch, as it turns out I was at the right place at the right time. I also went to the Vaja Ship Exhibit, Parliament, Royale Theater, Old Town, New Town. I spent the whole day just walking around soaking up the sites.

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I happened to be walking at the right place at the right time to see the royal guards marching with their horses. This happens once a day around 2:00PM. They protect the royal buildings.

I was under the impression these guards were like England’s guards where they are famous for not moving or flinching regardless of what goes on. As I walked towards him I was thinking of what I was going to do to make this guy move or get some reaction. I didn’t have to do anything! When I got a few feet from him he just turned his head and looked at me. I said “uuh, hi”. What a let down! :)

I guess these guys don’t have the same standards as the others do or maybe I just found a rookie who thought it be better to look and see this big old bald dark bearded man with an evil grin walking his way. Poor kid.

You would think something like this would attract a lot of tourist but surprisingly enough not too many people were around. As I think of it now, maybe the crowd gathers where they actually do the guard exchange. Shoot, I should have followed behind them in full march.

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I arrived in Sweden during the best time of year, early summer. The weather was perfect for the typical sight seeing tourist (me).

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Long Distance Commute (again)

I’m commuting long distance again, this month I headed away from Asia and towards Europe, destination Stockholm, Sweden. Since I don’t have a car rental I’m using the public transit system. So far I’ve ridden taxi’s, train’s and the underground subway system. You can go anywhere using the train and subways, it’s a matter of learning the system to get around. I use the taxi when I’m too tired to walk to the train station from the hotel which is about a half mile away.

I got into Stockholm, Sweden Wednesday around lunchtime. Due to the time difference and the ability to sleep on the plane I was super tired.

I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel in Taby, this is a small town where my work facility is located but some distance from the city of Stockholm.

Getting around is an adventure itself, you use trains and subways for the most part. Transportation by taxi can get real expensive, I used the public metro during my sight seeing opportunities and taxi’s to get to and from work.

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The trains come and go every half-hour or so, you just need to make sure you get on one that’s going the right direction, otherwise you can get be going for miles the opposite direction. I learned real quick to just ask for directions since most of the locals speak english very well.

I found that most of the public directions were in the Swedish language. You get around by learning how to read maps by names and subway locations. Total one way train ride is 20 Krona, under $3 bucks USD and totally not crowded, I’ve yet had to stand.

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