Tuesday, March 12, 2013

V A S A museum

After a few minutes on the tram, we hopped off at our stop to see the Vasa Museum. A short walk down a snow-covered pathway reminded us so much of Alaska. Actually, the landscape {minus the history and architecture} reminded us so much of Alaska.

We had a few minutes to walk around before the English-speaking tour began.
The Vasa is some ship. The tour was fascinating.

In 1625, King Gustav II Adolf bought the materials and signed a contract for the Vasa to be built. After two years under construction, she was ready to sail and Vasa is launched.

Vasa was built of more than a thousand oak trees with 64 cannon masts, over 50 meters high and had hundreds of painted and gilded sculptures.

A gust of wind comes up and on her maiden voyage {with all of Stockholm watching} Vasa barely sails 1300 meters and is turned over after only 25 minutes. All of the gun ports were open causing the ship to sink.

About 30 died when the ship went down including families of the crew who were invited to ride on the maiden voyage.

Sunk. Unbelievable.

They tried to raise the ship without success.

In 1956, they start again with attempts to recover the ship. The final lift takes place on April 24, 1961 and Vasa breaks the surface again after 333 years.
Most of the ship is the original Vasa with a few areas that were rebuild during the preservation. I think he said 95% was the original ship. The details are incredible especially considering it was under water for more than 300 years.

Why did she sink? The final conclusion was that she was too top heavy. Standing next to her, she is massive and it seems a no-brainer that she was too tall and narrow. They said the Captain did complain that he thought she was not built right, but it was too late and the King ordered her to sail.

At the time, another ship was built and had sailed for 30 years with success. They were similar in size and build. When they measured the difference- they found that Vasa was build one meter more narrow. One meter that might have made a huge difference.

We were captivated and enjoyed this little bit of Swedish history.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Saturday morning- it was our day. We caught the one-hour coach bus from the airport to downtown. Once downtown, we found our way through the bus station.

Public transportation is very advanced in Stockholm. We were extremely impressed.

The only problem for us was knowing where to start and which direction to go.

There were arrows pointing to the metro, the train and the busses.

We were a little lost. We found an information room and walked right up to the counter.
No one was in any sort of line, so we thought it was ok to go up to the counter. We found out quickly that there is always a "cue" and you always need to take a number.

Oops. No big deal- we quickly took a number. Once your number is up- it flashes on the screen. No one shouts out your number, no computer to let you know you're up. You just have to pay attention. What a concept.

We were re-directed down the station to the city transportation office where we bought a one-day city transportation pass. He pointed us in the direction to walk down the street to catch the tram.
We found our way {after asking one more time} and hopped on. No pushing. No craziness.
I could get used to this kind of public transportation. Plus, the view was spectacular.
With just a day in Stockholm, we had to quickly prioritize what we wanted to see. Our first stop and top priority was to make it to the Vasa Museum. Not only is it the most-visited museum in all of Scandinavia, it is a top spot to see in Stockholm.

A friend who had recently made the trip up there, recommended we go and take the English-speaking tour. I'm not sure we would have gone otherwise- to see a ship? She let me know it was some ship.
She was right.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

up N O R T H

It was a quick weekend, but we were able to check another country off our list of places to see. Friday night, we drove about an hour to Frankfurt-Hahn- the small airport we were departing from with a final destination of  Stockholm, Sweden.
We took off at 9:15pm and arrived in Stockholm about 11:15- a quick two-hour flight north. It might sound crazy to visit Scandinavia in March. We figured- why not?  Ty was good with the boys and we were also blessed with friends who invited them over to hang and have dinner. So nice.
The airport we were flying into is about an hour's drive from downtown Stockholm. Catching an early flight home on Sunday morning {7:00}, we figured it might be easiest to stay close to the airport.

We booked a room at a hotel that said it was a short walk to the airport. We did not expect it to be right across the street. I had forgotten the name of the hotel we booked, but did not think it was the Connect.

We decided to walk in and ask where "our" hotel was only to discover we were actually booked there.

It could not have worked out better.
We got settled in and ready to get up early for a full Saturday downtown.

I usually kick into super planning mode before we take a trip. Being sick last week, it was all I could do to make it through each day. Needless to say, I did not plan as I would normally have planned.

Lesson learned- it's ok to go with the flow. It's ok to learn as you go. It's ok to not plan out every last second and every detail.

What we did not realize {and we should have living in Europe for two years} is that the bus schedule was cut short being Saturday. The bus we wanted to take downtown would take us down at 10:00am, and the last trip back to the airport was at 3:30. That did not leave us too much time to sight see.
The girl at the hotel did not have any options to offer us. The girl at the bus window was very helpful coming up with a plan b and even went a step further by printing out the city bus schedule for us.

Instead, we decided to take a different coach bus back to the next town, then a city bus to the airport/our hotel. It worked out and we had plenty of time to see what we wanted to see while in the Capital of Sweden and also the Capital of Scandinavia.
If I had to pick one word to describe our first impression of Stockholm, it would {maybe} be grand. It is one of the most beautiful cities- built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. The architecture, the colors, the water.

It snowed and was cold, but it was still amazing. We soaked it all up!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

busy little B E E S

We have been busy.
Busy with the boys.
Busy with work.
Busy with school.
Busy with life.

Justin has had an abundance of free time with more than a few snow days. His little college town did not get too much, but enjoyed the time off. Last week, they cancelled all football practices {weights and conditioning} and school for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. They made this call on Wednesday before even a flake flew.

Kansas kind of goes crazy when a storm is coming through. This time they actually got a little bit of snow. Wichita was dumped on.

Ty has been busy lifeguarding. He is pretty proud of his new job and the income he is enjoying. He reminds Justin of the fact that he is working every spare second he gets to talk to him.

Coleman is in guitar club right now and baseball on the weekends still.
Guitar is pretty boring in his opinion. Oh, well. He gets to finish out the course.
We are all about life lessons around here- you WILL finish what you start!

Caden is about to start marathon club after school- running once a week for an hour. I think Coleman and I are going to join him. I might have to walk.

Baseball and track are around the corner. So is Spring, right?

This weekend, Jim and I are in Stockholm.

Ty is in charge while we are gone. Two little brothers and a dog. We will see how things are when we get home. I have complete confidence he will step up to the plate.

I hope to have cool new pictures next week from our trip.