fivemack (fivemack) wrote,

First two days in Stockholm

This is getting to be a pattern - I spend the first day wandering around the city, and then get into proper museum visiting. Stockholm is an amazingly pretty town, built on a multitude of islands (had I a small boat, I could island-hop all the way east to Helsinki; getting the ferry on that route during daylight hours would be glorious) and filled with architectural unities since it's built with lots of space to grow and hasn't demolished one epoch's buildings to build the next. Sweden's having been vigorously neutral since well before the invention of aerial bombardment also helps.

So, I've taken a boat trip round the closest-in set of city islands, I've walked along the Art Nouveau quayside to the island of museums, I've been to the top of the Town Hall tower. The Town Hall does not sell gold-foil-covered chocolate replicas of the Nobel medal; I think they take that too seriously for confectionary.

Most of the afternoon today I've been at the Vasa museum. I'd known the story - flagship of the Swedish navy is built slightly too narrow for its height, sails out of harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628, tips over and sinks after twenty minutes. What I hadn't known was quite how garishly covered from bow to stern in carved statues it was - a full set of Roman emperors on both sides of the bowsprit - and what was only recently discovered was that the whole was painted in twenty-five colours including some really garish pinks, and gilded everywhere that gilding was reasonable and in most other places. There was a Board of Inquiry afterwards, which ended up saying that nobody was guilty; everyone knew that the boat was unstable but was unwilling to tell Gustavus Adolphus, fighting Poles in East Prussia, that he couldn't have the flagship he'd been demanding impatiently.

Not sure how well the photos will come out, it's black oak in a dimly-lit building and I'm using my portable camera, taking six photos at one-second exposures with image-stabilisation and picking the best. But the boat is really impressive, and the museum of boat-building, sailing and Swedish history around it is a really good way to lose an afternoon.

I had a really fantastic dinner - perfect roast lamb with interesting vegetables and exciting gravy - with livredor and hatam_soferet at the Fenix bar on Götgaten, followed by coffee and ice cream, and a walk in a sculpture park which demonstrated that, whilst sculptures may be more visible in daylight, you can make up better stories about them at night.
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