Day 1: June 21st
Morning arrived at various times for all of us:
I think we are still adjusting to time travel. Bryan went down to the lobby and enjoyed some peaceful, solo researching and then Tip joined him for breakfast at 6:30a. While I waited for Lincoln to wake up, I did my own research and finished my book.
First, I need to mention breakfast. The included breakfast at our hotel was amazing: 3 different types of eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, turkey, beans, 5 different cheeses, watermelons, oranges, grapefruit, apples, pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, pickles, 5 different yogurts and toppings, pancakes (more like crepes), Nutella and various spreads, assorted breads, butter, cereal, an entire gluten free section, coffee, tea, juice and water. Ridiculous. Several of us thought breakfast might have been the highlight of Stockholm.
Our bellies full and bodies slightly rested, we put one foot in front of the other and walked down to the water to catch the Hop on Hop off boat tour. On the way down, we ran into this guy and Lincoln was actually startled at first.
Red Sightseeing is the tour company, and they will forever hold a special place in Lincoln’s heart. More on that later…The tour has 8 stops and includes an audio tour in 7 different languages. Tipton was lost listening in German before she realized there was an English option. We listened some, but mostly just enjoyed the views from the water.
Our first stop was the Vasa Museum. The Vasa was an enormous, wooden ship that sank in Stockholm Harbor in 1628. It was salvaged in 1961 and is 98% original. 333 years under water! They dug 6 tunnels under the ship, ran cables through the tunnels and used several ships with extensive pulley systems to bring the completely in tact ship to the surface. It really is something to see.
My pictures really don’t do it justice, so take a look at the website. They found numerous items including shoes, clothes, buttons, and amazing carvings covering the ship. The craziest bit for me is that it only sailed 120 meters from shore, was capsized by 2 gusts of wind, was on the sea bed at a depth of 32 meters in minutes and 30 people died. We all really enjoyed it, and they have some fantastic exhibits showing the excavation process. They also have a diving bell. I’ve always wanted to see a diving bell and Tuesday was my lucky day.
You can see Tipton is standing completely under the bell. Hard to believe someone actually allowed themselves to be lowered to a depth of sixteen times that of a man in that thing.
After the Vasa Museum, we headed back down to the water to catch the boat to the Modern Art Museum. With Lincoln in tow, our visit to the art museum was quite brief – picture a bull in a china cabinet. There was a fascinating installation on shelters for refugees that are contained in a 1’X5’X6′ cardboard box. It expands into a 2-bedroom home that people plan to use for only 6mo, but many end up living in these structures for up to 17 years.
After the art museum, we made our way back to the boat and headed to the stop closest to our hotel – Royal Palace.
From the Royal Palace, it was about a 15min walk back to our hotel. At this stage of the day, walking with Lincoln takes some coaching and encouragement, to say the least. We’re all starving and end up eating at a restaurant across the street from our hotel. There is a nice little open square with several outdoor restaurants, and we picked Snap because of the comfy looking chairs. We ordered lunch and wine, sat the in slight breeze and bright sunshine to dine and then Bryan hit the wall. We went back to the hotel and the adults crashed, hard. Bryan slept 3hrs, and I slept 2.5.
Then things went sideways. Silky went missing. For those of you who are not aware, Lincoln has a lovey, Silky. Silky has been around since Lincoln was born. Silky is very important. So, back to the restaurant we went to search for Silky. No luck. They told us to check back in the morning to search the inside portion which was closed for dinner. Lincoln was devastated. I don’t believe he cried, at that point as he was still holding out hope that Silky would surface in the morning.
I took Lincoln over to a playground/skate park across the street from our hotel for a bit of cheering up. He and Tip played, and we watched the skaters before deciding – at 9pm – that we’d better grab some dinner.
Then we headed to a sushi place just up the street we had heard good things about, Ljunggren. The food was really pretty good, but the service was wonderful and they went out of their way to make sure we had gluten free items. They also allowed us to add to our order just as the kitchen was closing. The bar stays open later, so we weren’t rushed out, and I could marvel at the deep cleaning that commenced in the kitchen. They brought in a power washer and scrubbed that kitchen floor to ceiling, on top of the ovens, in the hood vents and then some. It was impressive, and I felt even better about the quality of our experience. Bryan and I stayed up at the hotel bar and had some wine, while Tip and Lincoln hit the sheets. Day 1 in the books, people. Up next…Stockholm