OpenRoad Driver Volume 13 Issue 1 - Page 78

78 » OpenRoad Driver PERSEVERANCE Our day trip ends on Djurgarden Island, formerly royal hunting grounds and now the location of twenty of Stockholm’s hundred-plus museums. Our goal is to tour the extraordinary Vasa Museum, which showcases a 17th-century battleship. It’s impressive! A ten-foot lion on the prow represents King Gustav Vasa, known as the Northern Lion. Five hundred carved statues once embellished this massive wooden shi p. Many including rosycheeked, pink-skinned nobles, sailors, soldiers and cherubs have been replicated in their original bright colours to adorn the wall opposite the stern. Six informative levels surround the remarkably preserved Vasa. Exhibitions include a model ship demonstrating the cramped conditions of the 145 sailors and 300 soldiers onboard. Retrieved artifacts include porridge pots and utensils, backgammon sets, simple clothing, and personal mementos reflecting lives at sea. “Citizens gathered to see the mighty Vasa’s 1628 maiden voyage,” a guide smiles. “When a breeze caught her sails, her rock ballast shifted over her narrow beam. She blew over and sank to the bottom of the main harbour where she remained until salvaged in 1961.” The last room conjures Vasa’s era, projecting enacted scenes of imperial wars, new discoveries and world commerce. By examining 17th-century world maps, visitors see how Stockholm transformed into the powerful capital of Sweden’s expanding empire. SELF-RELIANCE Over two short days, Stockholm can reveal Sweden’s fascinating past and continuing Viking spirit through museums like the Vasa, heritage buildings and public artwork. W H E N YO U G O • • for general information offers itineraries with a two-day port stop in Stockholm 17th-century battleship at Vasa Museum