Friday, February 27, 2009

The Nordic Museum

Seen from the Vasa Museum, which is right next door, the Nordic Museum looks huge. We were anticipating being there for most of the rest of the day, and perhaps not being able to see all of it.

Wikipedia has a good article, together with an arial shot (on a much nicer day than when I visited) of the area.

After a morning of looking at the exhibits in the Vasa museum and taking countless pictures, we were hungry. We debated where to eat, so we decided to ask the lady at the entrance to the Nordic Museum if there were any good places to eat near by. She said they had a very nice cafe in the museum, and though we were a little skeptical we decided to try it. The food there, like pretty much everywhere else in Stockholm, was amazing.

On the way in, we realized it was not going to take as long to see everything as we originally thought. Most of the interior of the building is empty space.

This shot was taken from one of the balconies, looking the other way. The exhibits are all around the exterior walls on three floors.

This statue of Gustav Vasa, Sweden's founding king, was about the only other thing there that I took pictures of. The other exhibits were interesting, but didn't trigger an impulse to raise my camera to my eye and press the shutter. The forhead of this sculpture, which is entire done in wood, is said to include wood from a tree planted by the king himself during his lifetime. The statue is positioned so it is pretty much the first thing you see inside the museum as you walk in.

After we were done here, we walked back to our hotel, got showered and changed and, of course, went to work...... :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is an entire museum dedicated to a single thing. That thing is a 17th century warship. It is nearly intact, and is the best example of its era in the world. The Vasa is a 64 gun warship that sunk on her maiden voyage in the year 1628 in Stockholm's harbor.

The sinking killed approximately 50 people, some of whom would not normally have been aboard. After the ship sunk, the story lived on, but the details faded, until no one knew exactly where she'd gone down.

She was salvaged in 1961, largely intact. More information on the ship itself can be found here:

The image above is the first thing that greets you as you walk through the door. She looks every bit as though she was plucked from Davy Jones' locker.

This is a model of what she looked like after being built. According to our best ability to determine, she was too tall, too narrow, and too lightly loaded with ballast to pose a real threat to anyone. The exact reasons for this remain a mystery, but an inquest held after the sinking suggested the King (Gustav) had a very direct hand in her construction.

The vessel you see today is you might expect of anything that spent that long on the seabed. On the day she sank, the Vasa was painted with a variety of pigments, all derived from natural elements, which are shown in this display case.

This is a view from the stern. You can see the cannon ports, including the aft ones. The Vasa was intended to be a force on the world stage, but she never made it out of the harbour.....she sunk after travelling less than one nautical mile.

Each cannon port held an embossed lion, like the above. The Vasa was intended as a serious tool of international diplomacy. She fell short of that mark.

Here you can see the array of cannon ports. There's another batch of the same on the other side..... :)
During this period, it was considred important for rulers to draw paralells between themselves and the long lost Romans. The King of Sweden did just this, and the Vasa was one instrument in that approach.

This is reflected in the carvings on the stern.

Perhaps the spookiest part of the entire exhibit is looking into the faces of some of the people who died when she sank. Forensic reconstruction techniques have been used on some of the human remains discovered on the site. In some cases, we know not just what they look like, but a great deal about how they lived, and how they died. In other cases, there were so many bones clumped together it was a challenge for the investigators to separate them out, let alone determine anything remotely resembling a cause of death.

Our next stop was the Nordic Museum...which will be the subject of my next post.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


On our first trip to Stockholm, we stayed at the Amaranten hotel....the rooms there were very small, but they redeemed themselves at the bar, which had a great selection.

This time, the rooms were bigger, but the bar was....hmmm...not as nice?

Luckily for us, just down the street was a place called The Bishop's Arms. That is one of best bars I've ever been in. Good food, and the selection of beer and whiskey is phenomenal.

The night the above was taken was we were having a beer education seminar (we had a couple of those). Four people, five beers (between us, not each), and I won't even mention the cost, though, it wasn't cheap.

They probably haven't recovered from our visit yet....might take 'em a while...... :)


It wasn't all work. It just felt that way sometimes. This is one of my favorite pictures from the trip. Its not the entire team, but its a lot of us. Around the corner from our hotel was the Absolut Ice Bar. One night a bunch of us descended upon it for a little R&R. Everything in the bar, all the furniture and glasses, and art, is ice. They give you those big blue ponchos so you don't freeze to death.....its cold in there, which with my fever felt kinda nice.

My parka came pre-perfumed... :)

You can see the glasses there. From my perspective, the only thing wrong with the place was alll the drinks were vodka based....I think Jeff was getting hungry, hint, his glass has a big bite out of it. Mine is the one full of red stuff......Wolf's and lingenberries..... :)

Someone got bored, and decided to see if they could glue a glass to the decor.....wonder who that was....wasn't me...or Yan....or Jeff....or Ghola....... :)

I ain't telling.....the Swedish police carry guns..... :)