I toppled out of my second storey bunk this morning and, after a quick breakfast, made my way out into Stockholm. We're based in the central city island, and tomorrow I hope to make it out a bit further into some of the surrounding archipelago. Today, though, after a detour to grab cheap lunch - an important consideration in Scandinavia - I wandered out to the Vasa Museum.
The Vasa was a 1600s Swedish warship that sunk on its celebratory maiden voyage in front of a crowd of thousands. Designed without enough ballast to keep the tall, top-heavy ship upright, when a wind kicked up it keeled over. Thirty died and it sunk to the bottom of the harbour for three hundred years. The low salinity preserved it well and in the 1950s it was rediscovered, recovered and restored.
The museum is a large, multi-storey facility that houses the full-size ship in a dry dock. You enter through a winding passage at the front and emerge into this giant room dominated by the huge, imposing presence of the wooden relic. It is a rather impressive sight that, bizarrely, reminded me of Banjo-Kazooie and entering Clanker's Cavern for the first time. Yes, geek, I know. It just shared that similar presence of feeling utterly dwarfed.
Given that the thing is almost four hundred years old, it's quite unfathomable how people were able to make something so impressive with such limited tools. It's a recurring theme this trip. I mean, admittedly, they didn't get it exactly right because it collapsed on its first trip (the King himself approved the plans as it was to be a showpiece of the crown... and no one wanted to point the finger).
The facility was fairly impressive, but sadly one of those places that is flooded with American tourists. There was a queue to get in, and I almost didn't bother. Inside it was flooded with tour groups following after their card-waving guides, and you had to sidle past oblivious people blocking routes around the displays. I did like that it had free Wi-Fi, through which you were able to go onto their website and stream audioguides at the designated points right off your phone. The twenty minute film documenting the excavation process with actual footage from the 1950s was also impressive and an easy way to get to grips with the basics.
For dinner I headed out and found a Thai place that satisfied a craving for some decent flavours. Since the food poisoning incident I had been playing it safe until I was confident my body was able to handle more complex foods. Even two nights ago I was still feeling the effects after a bowl of pasta. But now I'm pretty much back on top of it, and I wanted Thai. The lovely little place - I'm unclear on how niche a cuisine it is here in Stockholm, but it wasn't particularly busy this Thursday night - was authentic and delicious. When chatting to the waitress, she said asked if I was from Sydney. I told her about Adelaide, beginning the spiel of "oh, it's just a little place", but she knew it. Apparently one of her regulars is also from Adelaide. It's a small world.