Rain and Bridges and Bears - Oh my!

Trip Start Jan 03, 1976
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Sweden  ,
Saturday, November 5, 2005

Swedish passport control didnt seem to like me much and asked me many a question, when i said i was staying in a hostel they asked if i was there for business or vacation - I would be pretty annoyed if my company sent me away and made me stay in a hostel! Finally after seeing my hostel booking they let me through..I was having a Natasha-esque moment and starting to think there was a problem with my visa (not that i need one for Sweden).

Once i got into Stockholm I dropped my bag off at the hostel and set off to explore. I was aiming for a particular sight but kept getting distracted by things - oh look a pretty bridge and so found myself wandering around Gamla Stan (old town) which is on a little island, all linked by bridges and wandered back off the island towards my hostel. And kept wandering. After a while it was quite dark (it gets dark around 3.30pm) and rainy and my toe was hurting and i was getting a bit miserably lost when i saw all these candles. For some reason there were hundreds of little tea lights lit on the grounds of a church and most of the graves had several large candles on them. Most were scented and so there was a lovely smell and all the little lights twinkling made me feel much better! So i turned in another direction and walked for ages until i finally realised - I was on the wrong island!

The next morning after taking several more wrong turns (im sticking with an all those islands look the same story) I was at the Vasa. A ship that sunk in the 1600's on its maiden voyage - and was found again in the 1900's by some Vasa obsessive. To raise the ship again they tunnelled under it (in those crazed old fashioned diving suits) and then put super strong cables under the ship and lifted it! Who thinks of these tricks? The ship was in pretty good condition (the water preserved it and theres not much in the way of mites to eat away at the ship) with lots of the carvings floating about nearby. The ship was put back together (a couple of things had to be remade, but were done using the old ways - such as one of the three masts) and is now there in all its glory for us to see. To keep the ship OK the lights are dimmed and the air is misty so it takes a bit of adjusting, but there is a huge museum and lots of info about the ship, what happened (they think there wasnt enough ballast) and how they restored it. Really interesting stuff.

After spending far longer than i meant to with the Vasa I didnt have much time left to check out Skansen - nearby "village" of old style Sweden buildings plus Scandanavian Animals! So i busted it around there and didnt look at much and made my way to the animals and saw an Elk! It didnt look as excited to see me as I was to see it and my Elk friend just sat there and looked bored. I suppose if my desk at work was in a zoo type place i would look the same. Much more excitable were the Brown Bears. Two of the bears had a mock fight and the other bear decided not to get involved and pretended to sleep. The other bears mock fought there way into a better spot in their bear room and I think they were just tricking their bear friend. Eventually bear no# 3 cottoned on and lumbered over to the other bears.

So with my sore foot, aching legs and no umbrella i sadly ran (can you run sadly?) back to the bus station and went back to London.
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