Tuesday, 20 April 2010

More Islands than people…

...at least this is the first impression as you enter the Skerries of Stockholm. More than 50.000 islands and islets form a complicated labyrinth that makes the presence of an experienced pilot indispensable. And what a beautiful labyrinth it is! Smooth rocks build natural platforms to many, many cute little red cabins, shaded by trees, patrolled by large numbers of swans, ducks, and sea gulls. We are definitely the biggest ship on the pier, since we are allowed to park right alongside "Gamla Stan", the island that carries Stockholms old town centre. It's just a few steps from the gangway into the narrow cobblestone streets, where the houses seem to lean inwards like to talk to each other. In fact, the whole city of Stockholm is like a painting (on a beautiful day, that is, like we have today), everything pretty and neat and well-kept.

Those who are interested in naval history will surely adore the Vasa Museum, easy to be seen from afar with its old ship masts on top. The building is practically tailored around a famous shipwreck that sank in Stockholms harbour only fifteen minutes after starting its maiden voyage in 1628. Considering that it lay in the mud for over three hundred years, the good shape of the vessel is hard to believe. 85% of the whole hulk are original material, all the wood carvings are still full of detail, the planking, the cannon hatches - eerily intact!
In the last light of the day, we leave this charming place, everybody sighing: We could have stayed much, much longer!