(Sorry, this is a really long post--but it's our family scrap book and I'm preserving memories!)
While here in Finland, we are trying to cram in as much of Finland and the rest of neighboring Scandinavia/Europe as we can.
While in Stockholm, we took a similar approach: do and see as much as possible.
That said, when traveling with our kids, we need to allow for downtime and "crazy" playtime (a time when the kids don't have to be quiet in a hotel room or a museum and when they have the opportunity to run around like crazy). If we don't let them get that out of their system, the trip becomes a bad memory...quickly.
So with that in mind, we explored Stockholm!
The boys really dug the Vasa Museum. According to our guidebook, it's the top attraction of Scandinavia (Frommer's).
The Royal Warship Vasa sunk in front of hundreds of people on her maiden voyage in 1628. She was salvaged in 1961 and carefully restored and preserved. It's amazing how good she looks after sitting at the bottom of Stockholm Harbor for over 300 years!
When you walk inside the building (which was designed specifically for the Vasa), the sheer size of the vessel takes your breath away. My photos do not do her justice. It was very dark inside the museum and because of the size of the ship, I could only capture details. Plus, in the picture below, you have no sense of size. A 4 year old child could probably stand inside one of those open windows.
Over 97% of the original carvings were found.
This is what the carvings would have looked like before the Vasa sank.
The darker wood is new wood that was used to recreate carvings that were never found or were in such disrepair that they could not be restored.
My grandfather, originally from Germany, owned a business that carved and created wood statues, benches, crosses, etc. for churches all over the Midwest, so I feel a real connection to old wood sculpture.
They even reconstructed the remains of the crew members who died on board the Vasa. My kids thought this was one of the best parts of the exhibit! The signage told you how many cavities they had at the time the vessel went down, what afflicted them (diabetes, scoliosis, etc.), what was most likely in their pocket.... Amazing!
Sadly, our time in Stockholm did not give us a chance to visit the Pippi Longstocking exhibit.
But we did spend quite a bit of time at Skansen--an outdoor living history museum that recreates buildings and farmsteads from all over Sweden.
When we walked in to Skansen, the woman at the information booth told us we would see traditional Easter bonfires.
Clearly, there was a bit of a language issue there 'cause to me, that's called a campfire! I kept looking to the sky for smoke!
There was also a circus school at Skansen. Sam learned to spin a plate, Joey learned to juggle the flower stick and Lily walked the tightrope.
While I helped Sam up on the Swedish horse,
Joey HAD to do it on his own.
Over 50 attempts later...
(No, it wasn't that warm, he had just worked up a sweat trying to mount the horse!)
But MY favorite activity was the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.
Here, the guard waits for her replacement.
While we were waiting for the guards to come, Joey told us that he cut some of his hair to include in a mosaic he made in art class. The hole he left made a nice nest in his hair, so we proceded to fill it with peanuts and jelly beans.
Here come different guards to replace the other guards on duty.
Joey and I made it our goal to make this guy smile. We succeeded (although not in this photo).
Swedish National Anthem
Overall, a GREAT trip. I've already started planning our next trip across the Baltic!