The sinking of the Vasa and other ignoble notes

This has been the half year for invited talks: four continents; and seven (?) countries in the six months surrounding October. This time – three days in Stockholm. A good lecture (by me, that is : -), lovely dinner out, and useful talks with a number of scientists based here.

But I’m not just here for work! What of today’s tourist stuff??

The sinking of the Vasa

Via wiki: “The Vasa (or Wasa) is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. The ship foundered after sailing about 1,300 m (or 10 minutes) into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628.”  Yay. Thats my kinda ship!

The museum which contains the ship is on an island – about a 25 minute walk after checking our of my hotel today. A kind friend lent me her entry card – so visiting it was also free : -). Anyway its fabulous!  According to the notes in the museum it is about 700 tons. And it fairly makes an impression when you get in to see it – it seems huge for a renaissance(ish) vessel.l1200111

And seems marvelously well preserved – considering it is approaching 400 years old. A sort of living-dead ship:

After that a nice tram to the Gamla town centre area:


Given was a little short of time was bemused, in a pleased sort of way, to be offered coffee on board the tram. Is this a general Stockholm tram thing? Its seems unlikely:

Then Gamla Stan and Nobel Museum. To be honest, after the Vasa, the Nobel museum is a little dissappointing.  Nevertheless it had to be done:


I flew Stansted-Skavsta because it cost 20 quid return (really, literally), but it’s also a 80 minute bus ride to Stockholm Central. So maybe better to use a closer airport? A three day travel pass was useful. The underground Tunnelbana is great – fast efficient uncrowded. Food – also great. The Swedes seem to like to go all in on their meals. Unlimited coffee, cold drinks, and salad tend to be included in the price. So it seems a little more expensive – but its kinda nice doing that way. I ate really good Thai, fish, lamb, and veggie dishes at the university, museums and beyond. And that Scandinavian candle-based ambience is just so good at the cold end of October. Really, who wouldn’t want to live here?

And the hotel? Kindly and efficiently booked by the seminar organiser. An excellent breakfast, maybe even enough to finish off even the most determined buffet buff?  And a  good location for the university (3 stops by Tunnelbana) + walkable for the old town and surrounds. Only down side is that the sauna is a little basic  – though it is at least still completely functional. 90 minutes down there in the basement was lovely after time out in the cold (a chilly 4C drizzle today).

Right, and now I need to get home.


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