(Happy Birthday Wendy!)
It is a holiday back home!
I hope everybody enjoys their day off...
Today I am in Katakolon, Greece. And I have no idea what I'm in for.
We are winging it. Hoping to walk off the ship, and just soak in GREECE.
Maybe I'm having a little feta cheese.
Swimming in the sea.
Doing a little dancing.
I have no idea! That is the fun part of vacation! Hopefully, we have found ourselves a few fabulous adventures!!!
A year ago, I was on my final adventure, Stockholm, Sweden.
This cruise is one day longer. But has a LOT more ports.
I have a feeling I am going to be exhausted when I get home.
But back to Sweden.
After devouring the first book of the Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series, I was SO unbelievably EXCITED to arrive in Sweden.
The land of Ikea.
Yeah, I didn't know about Nokia either. You're welcome.
Our ship did not port in Stockholm proper, so we had to take a bus INTO the city.
And let me tell you. Stockholm is most definitely a city.
I would say it was the most urban city we visited this trip.
Navigating to our first stop, the Vasa Ship, was frustrating.
Because as you find in any big city, there was traffic.
But we got to the Vasa Ship.
Everyone kept saying, you need to see the Vasa.
Are you going to the Vasa?
Make sure you visit the Vasa.
Okay. Got it. Vasa.
Do you know what the Vasa is?
Yeah, I didn't either.
And let me tell you, this thing was a LITTLE over hyped.
It's a giant ship.
Think, Pirates of the Caribbean style.
Gorgeous. Wooden. Carved. Ornate.
Inside a building.
And now, you are asking, what makes this ship so special?
Well, let me tell you the cliffs notes version.
King Gustav (the whatever) heard about the biggest, fanciest warship being built. But he wanted one bigger and fancier. So he called the ship maker, and commissioned one with whole second level of cannons.
Which meant his ship was bigger.
Do you know what taller means?
More top heavy.
The shipmaker, VERY afraid to tell the King "no", said "yes". And built the ship.
Same specs. Just taller.
Are you following?
The ship set sail on its maiden voyage on some day in some year of the 1500's.
Three gusts of wind came.
Gust one, the ship sailed in the direction out of the harbor.
Gust two, it sailed a bit further, and leaned a little too much for comfort.
Well, gust three lead to a sunken ship.
In the Stockholm harbor.
Where it lay in the mud for 400+ years.
Until someone discovered it (how did they forget it was there, I don't know).
And decided to excavate.
The Vasa was 95% (or something like that) in tact.
Totally pristine. MINT.
So they made a museum out of it.
A giant failure.
I don't know. I don't get Sweden. And their ektorp. And pictjaard. And their expedite. (Ikea furniture, anyone?).
So yeah. After that part of the tour, I was even MORE antsy for the part where I could ditch the group and explore.
The tour dropped us off in the heart of Stockholm, and I booked it to the castle.
Where I watched the changing of the guard!
I had never seen any guard changing before (Denmark had it...but we didn't watch, kinda wish we had).
Fun fact, earlier in the year, the Crown Princess had just wed! In Sweden, the oldest child, boy or girl, will be crowned king or queen. Princess Victoria will take the throne next. The whole place was still buzzing with excitement over the recent royal wedding.
After that, I took on the streets solo.
Another cobblestone city.
It was kind of fun being alone - a different experience than traveling with mom and dad and the tour groups. A lot more locals interacted with me. It was obvious that I was American, and they were curious if I was traveling, living, or just passing through Stockholm.
I stopped in a cafe, and sat outside. Enjoying the LARGEST latte of my life.
In a BOWL.
I was so confused by the bowl.
Later on I remembered, Anthropologie's latte bowls. And thought, wow. People really do drink lattes out of bowls.
And of course, I had princess cake.
I promise you, it was the best princess cake I have ever had.
And it was my favorite treat in all of Europe.
Stockholm and I got along very well. (Despite the whole Vasa thing).
(click for larger)