Scroll down

August 2018

Viking hat  



strikes again

I wasn't captive in Stockholm–

but it was captivating!

Fourteen islands make up the city.

So it's water...water everywhere....




Don’t ask why my first outing in Stockholm was its Old Town – it had been around for seven and a half centuries and probably would be by the end of the week I spent there.

But that's where the Nobel Museum is, the thing Stockholm is known for.

(I was not able to uncover anything about my pending nomination, but hey…)


Another top draw is a boat that sank a half mile into her maiden voyage, spent the next 330 years underwater and was brought up in 1961 to star in a museum.

Why did the Vasa warship sink? Design.

It was too narrow, and the mast was too high – not to mention burdened with the weight of 64 bronze cannons that weighed 72 tons.

A bit of wind caused it to list to the side. The gun portals were open, so it took water and sank in water only 90 feet deep.


Vasa boat




It's au naturel as exhibited, but was originally brightly painted with elaborate carvings as shown in this replica.

I wondered why this is such a source of pride – after all, it sunk about a half hour after it was launched, rather embarrassing when you think about it.

Evidently it harks back to Sweden's "power period."

  Vasa replica

The Vasa museum as well as many others is on the island of Djurgården in central Stockholm. As Copenhagen has its Tivoli Gardens, Stockholm has its Grüna Lund amusement park.
amusement park

Djurgården is a royal park with its share of tony houses
and meandering critters like this.

Then there is the "world's longest art exhibit" in Stockholm's subway. Ninety-four of its 100 stations are decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, engravings, and reliefs. My tour visited three stations on the blue line.

subway art

subway benches  ; Stockholm subway


father with kids  

Noticeable were the number of fathers out with their children, either pushing carriages or hand-in-hand with a youngster. At a bus stop I was sitting next to one, so asked him about it. He said for one thing, that day kindergarten was closed for a holiday, but it is not unusual for fathers to be equal care givers. Up to when a child turns eight there is financial aid for parents so they can divide care-giving responsibilities.

A Parliament tour revealed that Sweden's VAT (value-added) tax is 25% except for food 12% or literature 6%. Finland's is 25% on every thing. France is only 20%. This and income tax pay for all the services people receive, which are considerable – free university, subsidies for parents, health care, a lot of free museums and cultural experiences, etc. etc.…

Also couldn't help but notice rampant body tatoo's, extremely mascara'd (or fake) eye lashes and, compared to France, a rather homogeneous population. Another dichotomy is how tan these super blond, white people are. One explained: We are so happy the long winter is over that we take every chance to bask in the sun.

Swedish liquor store

My main complaint was that, unlike France, you can't buy wine in supermarkets or local outlets. You have to go to a special government-regulated store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages with more than 3.5% alcohol by volume. The reason is to deter alcohol consumption (which works Monday to Thursday, but Swedes make up for it on weekends).

My venture to buy wine entailed a subway ride of three stops to a store that was neatly laid out in sections for wine, hard liquor, beer and somewhat contradictorily, an alcohol-free section.

EU citizens can buy unlimited amounts, other nationalities, no. Not only are prices clearly marked (shockingly high to a French resident), but also the sweetness/dryness, body and acidity rated.

All in all, it was a great week. This perspective is from Monteliusvägen,
a scenic path on the north side of an island facing Old Town.

Stockholm skyline

Last outing was a three-hour boat trip of the Stockholm archipelago. It covered the lower end of 30,000 islands, wooded islets and rocks - mostly vacation sites.



Back to Linda's trips