One of the highlights of exploring Stockholm was the Vasa.
What else could beat out a nearly 400-year-old Swedish warship sitting pretty in a big fat museum? And, no, warships back then were not this teensy. That’s just a model replica.
We had to navigate the quirky Swedish underground to get from our AirBnB to the Vasa.
And then we had to walk a bit.
No complaints here. It had rained earlier in the day, but cleared up in time for us to brave the outdoors.
And here we are, finally. The entirely unassuming outside of the Vasa Museum.
But once you come inside… DAYUM. The ship is large and in charge.
Of course, it seems much less large and in charge once you hear the story behind it.
The Vasa was commissioned by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, in the early 17th century as a warship for the Poland-Lithuania conflict. Buuuut they didn’t do so well with the whole engineering thing, and I guess that’s pretty important when you’re building a ship.
On its very first voyage, it didn’t even make it out of the harbor. A “slight breeze” blew it over, the open canon doors filled with water and it sank. Womp womp.
It stayed in the Stockholm harbor for over 300 years, until 1961, when it was brought up and salvaged.
Bummer for the 17th century folks, but I’d say it’s pretty awesome for us. It’s the only existing warship of its kind, having been mostly preserved in the saltwater. They had to put bits and pieces back together, but the ship as it stands today is 98% original.
* Please excuse crappy front-facing camera shot in bad lighting *
The ornate carvings on the back of the ship actually used to be a bright red, believe it or not. It faded over time, and with exposure to the elements, but with their ~ fancy scientific ways ~ excavators were able to pick up traces of the original dye.
They also found skeletons of various victims inside the ship, some with their clothes still on and mostly intact.
Really fascinating stuff!
As an aside to the exhibit about the Vasa, the museum also had an area depicting the history of the time that the Vasa inhabited.
It was very interactive, and very cool. They really put a lot of thought and effort into the museum, and it was such a great experience. I’d highly recommend it if you’re ever in the lovely Stockholm.