Friday, January 9, 2015

Baltic Cruise: Stockholm, Part 1 (Vasa Museum)

Heyyy, two posts here in a week!  And also HI MISSY!  : )

So, after we left Helsinki, our next port of call was Stockholm, Sweden.  On the advice of some friends, the first thing we did was beat feet (yeah, we walked everywhere in Stockholm too) to the Vasa Museum, which houses a ship called the Vasa which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.

The museum is three stories tall with the ship in the middle, so you can walk around it and view it from all three levels.  The ship was underwater for 333 years, but the conditions in the Baltic are such that shipwrecks are much better preserved there than they are in warmer seas.

This was supposed to be King Gustavus Adolphus' flagship, and so was intricately carved and quite impressive-looking.  Unfortunately, the king's advisors were to chicken to tell the king that the ship was much too top-heavy to be stable, and so the first strong wind knocked the ship over sideways and it sank.

There was a case at the back of the museum that has a display of the materials used to make the paints that adorned the ship.  See, there's some malachite, because the ship was built before the Russian tsars used all the malachite to adorn their churches ; )

So they used all those materials to mix up paints and then...

Here's what some of the carvings looked like right before the ship went pear-shaped.

This is a scale model of the ship as it would have looked when it was new.

The fun thing is you can compare the brightly painted model... the actual ship and see the difference.

Carvings along the sides of the ship include statues (statues?  Is that the right word? maybe likenesses) of twenty different Roman emperors.

The Swedish monarchy was big on the use of lions as a motif, which I find amusing since lions aren't native to Sweden.  Fun fact:  the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.  Which has nothing to do with lions in Sweden, but I find it interesting.

Kind of gives you an idea of how big the ship is, and you can see Lee over there on the right.

I think this was the figurehead?  No mermaids here.  Well, there were mermaids carved in other parts of the ship, but not the figurehead.

See, there's the lion figurehead.  I think the other one might be a reproduction of it that's set off to the side so you can get a better close-up look at it.

Shipwreck selfie! : )  Anyway, the Vasa has long been a symbol of Swedish naval power, which I find highly amusing because it SANK before it even got 1500 yards into its maiden voyage.  But it did look impressive right up until it went under, I suppose.  A giant crowd had gathered to see the ship off on its voyage, including dignitaries of allied nations and spies for enemies, and everyone saw what happened.  Oopsie.  This is what happens when everyone is too terrified to tell the king that his idea stinks...

Up next:  more Stockholm pictures.  Stay cool, Sweden!


CCsMom said...

Wow, that is incredible. I cannot believe how well preserved it is. And I can see how all of those carvings would make it incredibly top-heavy. I imagine there were a lot of people on short crying when they saw it go down. All that WORK!!! LOVE the selfie. Way to get creative!!!

Thoughts by B and M said...

ha! Double post this week! Awesome!!!! :-)

Vicki Burns said...

Wow those carvings are impressive. I'm amazed at how well preserved the ship is. And I'm with your mama--the selfie is great!