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Heading off - AGAIN!!! I started life with nothing ... and I still have most of it

Around Stockholm to Oslo

USA | Saturday, 13 July 2013 | Views [274]

 

Stockholm on Foot (and a tram ride)

We walked!!!!!!!!

The Vasa was the largest wooden ship of its day (1628) and was built for the King and to his (ever changing) design. It had two gun decks and the rear of the stern castle stood some 45 feet (14 metres) above the waterline. It was ornately decorated and had beautifully carved designs including Roman Emperors and Nordic Gods and serpents as well as the coat of arms about 3 metres high on the stern. 
The decorations are described as follows:
155 herm pilasters (a pillar with a head on top) of different sizes and types.

 

87 warriors and knight figures

 

74 masks.(on the gun ports)

 

71 grotesque figures - human and animal

 

35 animal figures

 

10 Putti (representations of a naked child, esp. a cherub or a cupid in Renaissance art).

 

8 heraldic sculptures (this includes the VERY large coat of arms on the stern)

 

13 "odd sculptures"

 

It was loaded to overflowing (many had brought their families on board for the launching and the salute) and totally under ballasted so when they fired the salute (from both gun decks on one side) the ship listed and rolled back the other way. No problem except that the gun ports were still open and the water RUSHED in! No-one knows exactly how many perished but the ship foundered just1500 metres from its launch site. The shortest voyage ever by any ship, I wonder? It lay under silt and mud in exceedingly cold waters for the next 333 years until it was found and recovered in 1961. It is now housed in a specially built, climate-controlled museum which has become the most visited in Stockholm.

Skansen which is the first ever open air museum is spread over some 70 or so hectares of parkland with the buildings dotted into appropriate settings for their type and vintage (they have all been relocated from throughout Sweden and are indicative of the style and fashion of the locale and era). It also contains a zoo. The mother brown bear has three of the cutest cubs! A keeper was spraying water from a hose and the cubs attempted to “defeat” the water by hitting it - then running away. The camera went into meltdown! After an ice cream (and LOTS more walking), Merran relented and allowed me a tram ride back to our metro station. I think it was so she could get to the Ikea store near our hotel. It is the biggest Ikea store in the world and free buses run from the main Central Railway Station downtown many times a day to ensure that the supply of customers is maintained.

Our hotel (Hotel Dialog) was not the most glamorous and nor did it even run to a double bed but it was convenient to a large shopping centre and we dined in the food hall there on both nights. Merran had fun deciphering the menus and checking with the locals for verification. I just looked at the pictures like a 2nd grader.

Train to Oslo

To allow for Merran’s half hour “stuff-up” factor, we were up bright??? and early for a breakfast as soon as they opened the dining area at 0600, catch a bus by 0650 (or so – this was part of her 30 minute emergency time allocation) and onto the metro to Central Station where we caught our train to Oslo. The platform was bedlam! Nearly everyone passed the sliding doors to the platform and stopped: effectively blocking the way for those following. It seemed that none wanted to be the first to give way. Luckily a swarm of them departed on a train to Malmo which was the one before ours and I saw where we needed to be so we went out onto the platform and headed straight to the front where our carriage would stop. The intercity train is very civilized with power points to allow the use of computers etc without flattening the batteries. Our hotel was right at the station – we did have to negotiate the taxi waiting area but that’s all. It looks right out (across a construction zone for a new road) to the Oslo Opera House. The Opera House is designed to resemble a glacier right on the shore of one bay of the harbour. Some cruise ships park directly opposite and ergo have a splendid view of it. One can walk right up the sides and onto the roof. There are a number of trip points where there are steps in the marble-like concrete. These and groove gutters are needed to control rainwater runoff. Vigeland Sculpture Park was our only touristy bit on arrival. It started to rain (surprise, surprise) as soon as we headed out from the hotel. We went back and donned raincoats and collected umbrellas in case it rained more heavily which is just as well because it did get heavier. We caught a tram (heavily disguised as a bus running along under the trams wires) and the rain had actually got into the double glazing. So much so there was about 100mm or 4” of water sloshing in the bottom of the windows – all that was missing was the koi carp. The signs at the tram stops indicated that there is a 10 minute space between trams yet we waited almost an hour. It’s just as well the sculptures at Vigeland are worth it but I didn’t have sufficient warm clothes under my raincoat so we had to get back & put me into a HOT shower to warm me up. It was decided that a hot coffee would also help so we put on the electric jug (the first we’d had in any Nordic hotel) and as I went to close the curtains I knocked it and poured the boiling water all over my laptop! Merran saved the day by clever use of the hair dryer! (on the computer – not on me). Merelyn, the curtains need to be closed because of the amount of light: still light after 10PM and light again by 4.30AM - which is WAY too early for us!

Day two in Oslo and Museum Central,

Our Oslo Pass gave us free transport and free entry to nearly all museums so Merran walked my little legs off me! First to the Viking Ships in their special home then to the Polar ship Fram which was used by both Nansen and Amundsen  for their polar explorations in both the Arctic and Antarctic waters It was the ship which carried Amundsen on his historic trip to the South Pole. Almost next door is the Kon Tiki Museum which houses Thor Heyerdahl’s vessels Kon Tiki and Ra 11. His theories about sea currents were proven correct but what a risk to set sail in such craft! The Castle fortress with its 9million plus step was next followed by the magnificent City Hall. The building design is FUGLY (F’ing ugly) but the interior and the wood-carvings around the forecourt are just magnificent. It is here that the Nobel Peace Prize is presented – all other Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm. Lastly she dragged me to the top of Karl Johan’s Gate to the very grand Royal Palace. We had seen members of the palace guard performing at the Edinburg Tattoo (only on TV) and it was interesting to see them in their bowler hats with tassels in the sentry boxes outside the Palace. Our train to Bergen was to leave at 0815 so I set the alarm on my mobile phone to ensure that we had ample time. Two someone elses saw to it that we did – the first call came at 0354 and the next at 0408 hrs!!! I’ve now found that one can set the alarm on the pone & then turn it off. The alarm will operate and you’ll be asked if you want to turn on the phone or not – no nasty surprises either.

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