Thursday, February 11, 2016

Stockholm - strolling the city at random places

Date of visit: 16th & 17th October 2015

This would be my last entry for Stockholm. There's another 3 more cities left before I'm able to share some of the many attractions in my own lovely country, Malaysia. For the record, I've been exploring quite a many ever since I return home from the 4th leg of the train race. Bukit Tinggi Resort, Batu Caves and Langkawi are among few three places my family and I've been at, thus far. During a long break on Chinese New Year festive, we had a  short 2 nights getaway in Gold Coast Morib. Shame on me, the sandy beaches in Morib Sepang was my first time visit although it's only 1 hour drive from my house. 

A view at night, though quite deserted turned as a fun night for me at this Stockholm waterfront harbour

Was planning to have lunch or dinner on day 2 at De Ville but had to cancel on last minute due to hectic schedule. For the record, Muslim will have no worries with food when in Stokholm. Trust me, you guys will be able to find quite many selection of Halal meal in the city.

Most of the European cities rested quite early in the evening. The photos that I'm gonna share in this entry were the ones that we snapped while strolling the city at the night we arrived on our arrival, 16th October 2015. I also wish to include some of those I have snapped after we finished the tour at the Vasa Museum. I hope you have read my previous entry of the Vaasa war machine ship which to me quite a wise investment by the Swedish Government to restore the 300 over year old ship for the new generations to see.

The facade of the National museum (in below photo) was under refurbishment at the time of our visit. Therefore, we skip a visit inside whilst at the same time we were fully aware that the closing time for all museums should be the same, i.e. 5 pm in the afternoon. Since a decision for Vasa Musuem is worth spending our time with, we did not feel anything amiss for not visiting the National Museum and Nodiska Museum.

2 museums in the photo, National & Nodiska

Having either a morning or dawn break by the waterfront harbor would be a great idea to spend your evening with. A waterfront harbour should become a place for you to hang out and spent time with at dawn or when the sun is down. It would be more beautiful to watch when the the sunrise or sunset were there to add natural lights to your photography. There's quite a number of historical and beautiful building that was established on the waterfront and I'm sharing below some of them, snapped while on our way to the Vasa Musuem.

We followed a short cut route back to the hotel on the 17th October after leaving the Vasa Museum. It was after the museum's closing time. Two photos snapped at the same spot  had a different outcome, one with me inside, was before the sunset and the other when the sun is about to set. Along the way, we found many more colorful building that ease our pain due to too much walking.

Last but not least, there's a beautiful church that I discovered (but not to Anne's liking), while looking for a way to the Town Hall from the hotel in the morning. It is a St John's church, built of brick which is open from 11 am till 4 pm and close on Monday. St. John's Church or “S:t Johannes kyrka” in Sweden is a church located in the Norrmalm district of Stockholm. It was designed by Carl Moller in the Gothic Revival style, completed in 1890. It has great interior space, characterized especially by the high Gothic arch windows and its glass paintings. This is really the end of what I wanted to share while in Stockholm.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Flower Gardens in Stockholm

Having a deep affection with the flowers, I always forcefully takes away Anne's camera whenever I spotted them as I did not carry my own DSLR camera during the last trip. It was this case in Stockholm too after we have done with our visits and were walking back to hotel. I had that moment of snapping the flowers shot before I bid my farewell with a sense of incomplete mission, mostly due to not able to visit Nordiska Museet. Those moment where at the last corner of where the two museum, Vasa and Nordiska is located, there's still flowers petal blooming though the weather was cruelly cold at that time. It stood there gracefully surrounded with beautiful historic buildings, did soften my heart a lot. And those feeling of having so at peace just by looking tat hose miraculous beauty are recorded here. Hope you like it :)

Last but not least, I present you a Nordiska Museet entrance signage and few photo of flowers that I snapped in the morning at the city hall. And, I thank you for visiting my page!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Stockholm - Vasa Museum

Date of visit: 17th October 2015

Tourist entrance to the Vasa Museum
The Vasa Museum or in Swedish, “Vasamuseet” is a maritime museum in Stockholm. It is located on the island of Djurgarden, the museum that displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa Museum is opened in 1990. According declaration by its official web site, it is the most visited museum in Scandinavia. Together with other museums such as Stockholm Maritime Museum, it is the museum that belongs to the Swedish National Maritime Museums.

At 4th floor, entry/exit level
Seen from 2nd level, i.e. Exhibition floor
Let’s find out first about the 64-gun warship that was contracted out by King Gustav II Adolf on 16th January 1625 with the ship builder. Vaasa was the first out of 4 ships under the royal contract order book where the construction begins on Skeppsgarden, a naval shipyard in Stockholm using more than 300 men working in 1626. The Bronze Cannons were casted simultaneously. King Gustav II Adolf visited the shipyard 2 years later and inspecting the Vaasa progress. In August 1628, Vaasa makes its maiden voyage but capsizes and sinks in the middle of Stockholm harbor after only 1300 meter sailing. Captain Soren Hansson was jailed but released. No convicted of the disaster. Few attempts to salvage the ship underway thereafter till year 1629 but fails. Vaasa guns were salvaged since 1658 and by 1663 till 1665, most of Vasa’s 64 guns were towed by diving bell.

The opening where cannons being placed at. The lit shall be open when at war

328 years after the ship rest deep down 38 meters in the seabed, the salvage efforts took place again in September 1956. The first dives on the ship that is 32 meters deep started off and not until in 1959, the coarse wires drawn under the ship and Neptun Company raises Vaasa in 18 stages to shallower water. On April 24 1961, the final salvage took place where Vaasa ship breaks the surface after 333 years being on the bottom. Vaasa was moving into a temporary museum, the Vasa Shipyard, until the present museum was built ready for her in 1988.

It was discovered that when Vaasa was built, it gave way to conflict at sea’s changing. The guns had previously been less decisive. The most important thing had been to conquer the opponent's ships, not to reduce them. Over time, the so-called ships of the line tactics to come; lined up in two lines and shot at each other. Vaasa is located between these two ways of fighting at sea. She has a heavy artillery as she is well equipped for close combat. The high stern suitable for shooting down the lower vessels. On the top deck were storm pieces, a heavy cannons which served as giant shotguns.

Vaasa, being a war machine allows 450 man staying aboard. Of these, around 300 are soldiers. Vaasa was not the largest ship built and she also did not have the largest number of guns. What made ​​that she can be regarded as the kind most powerful warship at the time when she was built and that her broadside was so strong. The combined weight of the ammunition could be thrown from one side of the ship on all guns fired at the same time was more than 300 kg and made ​​Vaasa to a fearsome war machine. Vaasa was built with 64 cannons, of which 48 pieces are 24-pounder, 8 numbers 3-pounder, 2 units of 1-pounder and 6 storm pieces.

When Vaasa was temporarily housed in the Vasa Shipyard, she was treated with polyethylene glycol. Visitors could only view the ship from two levels and the maximum distance was only 5 meter. In 1981, the Swedish government decided that a permanent Vasa museum was to be constructed and an architects' competition for the design of the museum building was organized. 384 architects sent in models of their ideas for the most suitable building to house the Vaasa and the final winners were Marianne Dahlback and Goran Mansson. The construction of the new building began on and around the dry dock of the old naval yard with an inauguration ceremony hosted by Prince Bertil in November 1987. Vaasa was towed into the flooded dry dock under the new building in December 1988 and during the summer of 1989, when visitors were allowed onto the construction site, 228,000 people visited the half-finished museum. The museum was officially opened on 15 June 1990. So far Vaasa has said been seen by over 25 million people.

The main hall contains the ship itself and various exhibits related to the archaeological findings of the ships and early 17th century Sweden. Vaasa has been fitted with the lower sections of all three masts, a new bowsprit, winter rigging, and has had certain parts that were missing or heavily damaged replaced. The replacement parts have not been treated or painted and are therefore clearly visible against the original material that has been darkened after three centuries under water.

The new museum is dominated by a large copper roof with stylized masts that represent the actual height of Vaasa when she was fully rigged. Parts of the building are covered in wooden panels painted in dark red, blue, tar black, ochre yellow and dark green. The interior is similarly decorated, with large sections of bare, unpainted concrete, including the entire ceiling. Inside the museum the ship can be seen from six levels, from her keel to the very top of the stern castle. Around the ship are numerous exhibits and models portraying the construction, sinking, location and recovery of the ship. There are also exhibits that expand on the history of Sweden in the 17th century, providing background information for why the ship was built. A movie theater shows a film in alternating languages on the recovery of the Vaasa.

Remarks: Research from Vasamuseet website and from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Stockholm Royal Palace - The Treasury

Date of visit: 17th October 2015

Visitors are not allowed to take pictures in the Treasury. But, unintentionally I snapped few photos until the guards told me off. Yes, the truth is I did broke the rules but while doing research for this entry, I found out that some of the display items were shared by the officials in their website. Therefore, I thought it would be alright for me to share some of those illegal snap that I made that day. I hope no authority will lock me up in jail for breaking the law, now that I'm back in my country and my current PM is famous for series of funny act.. hehe

Before we entered the dark cellar vaults at the Royal Palace where the Swedish Monarchy's most important symbols, such as the regalia are kept for safe-keeping, I snapped the beautiful, solid building which was once not really affected due to great fire. In the basement from where the entrance is somewhere down in below first photo, visitors are able to see Gustav Vasa´s sword of state, Erik XIV´s crown, sceptre and Lovisa Ulrika´s crown among others.

Entering the vault
Please kept all your camera stored in your luggage as after that line, it is forbidden

Several of The Princes and Princesses' crowns are also on view as well as the silver baptismal font from 1696, which is still used at royal baptisms. Everywhere you look you will see fascinating and exclusive art, steeped in exciting history. Previously, the regalia could only be seen at the opening of parliament and other formal state ceremonies. However, since 1970, they are now permanently exhibited in the Treasury.

In the vaults beneath the Royal Caste lies the Treasury where the most imporant symbols of the Swedish Monarcht is keept, the Regalias. There are other valuable items in the Treasury besides the Regalias with makes it well worth a visit by its own. The Treasury was open in 1969 to display the Regalias to the public. These items had before being kept safe allowing no one to see though it was allowed only for a few special occasions.

The Regalias are the property of the State and not the Royal Family. They are however to the disposition of the King whenever he needs them. Some of the most important and most valuable items in the Treasury are:
  • The Crown of King Erik XIV
  • The Sceptre of King Erik XIV
  • The Orb of King Erik XIV
  • The Sword of King Gustav Vasa
  • The Key of King Erik XIV
  • The Crown of Queen Lovisa Ulrika
  • The Crown of Queen Maria Eleonora
  • The Crown of Queen Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta
  • The Crown of Queen Sofia Albertina
  • The Crown of Prince Wilhelm
  • The Crown of Duke Karl
  • The Crown of Duke Fredrik Adolf
  • The Crown of King Karl X Gustav
  • The Baptismal font of Karl XI
  • The King Sveno Tapestry