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July 23rd 2018
Published: July 24th 2018
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Park in HelsinkiPark in HelsinkiPark in Helsinki

Spent a couple of pleasant hours enjoying this city and citizens one last time. A contented Bird sits somewhere to the left.
Back to where it all began...Stockholm. City and people as great as June yet many more tourists. Great job Bird planning an early trip😊 On the way from St. Petersburg we spent the day in Helsinki, which also continues to be wonderful, but compared to Stockholm a bit of an outpost. Who cares, great folks, wonderful temps, and a nice park to spend the afternoon waiting for our last ferry. Have a pix or two for you.

Okay, we'll say it, the Viking ferry is markedly superior to St. Peter Line. We can even drink the water! What a great idea. Food is also a tad better (yes, understatement), but the smorgasbord on this ferry is not quite as good as the trip outbound from Stockholm. Of course, we ate it nonetheless. After breakfast we strolled on deck admiring the Stockholm archipelago; noticed less of it on the voyage out and needed to compensate. We did. Yes, also a picture.

Sure, we made it to the Vasa. We are certain everyone recalls our visit to the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, England a few years ago. She also sank on her maiden voyage, but lying at less depth and the
Suomenlinna FortressSuomenlinna FortressSuomenlinna Fortress

A portion of the fortress built by the Swedes in 1748 to deter the Russians from attempting to swipe Finland-it didn't. We took a short ferry here a few days ago but were too pooped (okay, lazy) to walk across the island to see it. Very fortunately, just when we hopped out on deck after departing for Stockholm, it was on the starboard side.
warmer waters of south England suffered serious deterioration. Not so with Vasa; this ship is intact-98% of what you will see is original.

While having by far the most intact ship of that age is a wonder for us, it was a tragedy for Sweden. In 1628 she was in a brutal war with Poland and needed this ship, the most powerful one in the world when she was constructed, to assist in controlling the Baltic. While the King was very angry when she foundered, looking for someone blame, he was actually the villain. He demanded too many cannons, sixty-four in all, too high on the ship resulting in a top heavy unstable vessel. A gust of wind in the harbor blew her over-she sank in five minutes. Yet she surely was grandly constructed. Sculptures adorned a great many areas of the ship, the stern entirely. Bright paints were used liberally. They do not remain on the vessel, but careful study of the wood has revealed many of the colors. We also made one last visit to Gamla Stan (the Stockholm old town) touring the present day Parliament building (hourly tours are conducted in English only) and made one
Stockholm ArchipelagoStockholm ArchipelagoStockholm Archipelago

There are countless rocky (granite) islands east of Stockholm, some supporting large and permanent communities, others just a summer house or two. This is one of the larger ones.
last picture adjacent to the Nobel Museum.

Sadly, very sadly, we bid farewell to the wonderful Nordic countries. The citizens of all four countries are fabulous, genuinely friendly and helpful. Wish we could bottle them and spread throughout our country. But fair warning to prospective tourists-this place does not have the price structure of southern or eastern Europe-bring your wallet. We fly at 9am tomorrow. Great trip!

Additional photos below
Photos: 14, Displayed: 14


Cute IslandCute Island
Cute Island

Buildings, marina, with a water tower in the background. Cooperating seagull also sailing by.
Harbor Facing Gamla StanHarbor Facing Gamla Stan
Harbor Facing Gamla Stan

Took this of Gamla Stan after arriving. An attractive harbor front even with construction cranes in some of the modern town to the right.
Changing of the GuardChanging of the Guard
Changing of the Guard

Rick Steves suggested tourists view the daily ceremony when guards change at the Royal Palace. We foolishly ignored him in June. Really quite a nice show, well except for the two obnoxious Americans in front of us.
And the Band Played OnAnd the Band Played On
And the Band Played On

Band marching out for their short brass and drum concert. These folks seemed to be enjoying themselves. The soldiers are on temporary assignment alternating from various parts of Sweden.

These masts represent the height of the ones on the Vasa. The seven story museum lacks the height to fully contain them.
View From the BowView From the Bow
View From the Bow

The Vasa was 226 feet long, not a great deal shorter than a football field-long. Don't really get a good sense of scale here. Look at the next one.
Port SidePort Side
Port Side

Those little things left of the ship are people. My wide angle lens was unable to include the entire ship.

Half the stern and a bit of the port side. Sculptures are everywhere. In 1628 the entire stern was covered with florid paint.
Phone Booth from 1905Phone Booth from 1905
Phone Booth from 1905

The Swedish Parliament swiped a bank building in the early 20th Century. This was one of two actual phone booths. We looked inside where the phone books remain.
Gamla StanGamla Stan
Gamla Stan

We think this is the classic photograph of Gamla Stan. Nobel museum is on the right (next to the fellow in the blue shirt).
Childhood Picture of the Cutist Dog in the WorldChildhood Picture of the Cutist Dog in the World
Childhood Picture of the Cutist Dog in the World

Sally, see you tomorrow night. And Baby Bird, Walt, M1&2, you folks are past wonderful for keeping her at home especially since her airhead parents forgot her bed.

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