The Vasa Museum is all about a boat - a seriously impressive boat. The story goes that King Gustav Adolf commissioned the building of four boats. Hundreds of men work tirelessly for almost two years to build the first one, and everyone turned out to watch the launch of the ship in August 1628.
The ship was delivered with 68 cannons and over one thousand trees were used on the hull alone. It was a celebratory affair with families and friends of some of the craftsmen on board for the maiden voyage.
As the ship was on her way out of Stockholm Harbor the supporting cables from shore were released. To everyone's surprise the ship started to list (tip!). Water entered the gun portholes and the darn thing sank! It only ventured approximately 1300 meters (about 4000 feet). It is stated that around 30 people died on the ship.
Obviously the Swedes wanted to find out what caused the disaster. The final verdict was that the lower hull of the ship was too small to compensate for the weight on the top; the ship had two levels of gun portholes which proved to be too much for the vessel.
The next part of the story is quite unheard of - they forgot about the ship for the next few hundred years. I'm sure it wasn't forgotten accidentally; the King's inner circle probably made sure no one spoke of it to avoid embarrassment for him. Explorers attempted to locate the ship over the years, but it wasn't until 1956 that two men found the wreckage. An immense effort was taken to release the ship from many years of silt, and it wasn't until 1961 that the team successfully reunited the ship with land.
The brackish water where the ship rested for hundreds of years preserved it so well that only 5% of the ship's structure had to be replaced. The overall lighting in the museum was low, I suspect, to protect the ship. In person the detailed carvings on the ship is astonishing.
We continued to walk during our final hours in Stockholm. It just so happens we ended up over by the cafe where Matt had his soup bowl of coffee the previous day. I'd had my eye on the Prinsesstårta, and it did not disappoint.
I'd been pining for a piece of this cake after it was on The Great British Bake Off. If you can get the You Tube video below to load, skip forward to the 22 minute mark to hear the master Mary Berry explain the cake.
After that calorie-free snack we slowly made our way back to the airport for our trip back home.
Did we see all there was to see in Stockholm? Not a chance. Warmer weather is definitely the time to see this country, unless you fancy time on the ski slopes. Our short weekend in Scandinavia certainly gave us a taste for this region.
The best part about our flight home? We walked in just in time for the latest episode of Downton Abbey!