Being in the Navishamn Marina was the ideal location to go sightseeing. Public transport in the form of tram, bus and ferry served us extremely well, especially as a tram stop was just outside the marina. Otherwise we walked a lot! And after Midsummer the weather certainly improved. Here are a few highlights from our week in this enchanting city.
The royal battleship Vasa sank in Stockholm harbour at the start of her maiden voyage in 1628 and over time her exact location was forgotten. 333 years later in the 1950’s she was discovered, salvaged and beautifully restored over several decades. She is housed in a museum especially built around her and completed in 1990. Very busy in the summer months, we were strongly advised to get there early to be able to admire her in her full glory ahead of the crowds. At 226 feet long, the wooden ship itself along with artefacts and cargo was preserved over centuries thanks to the brackish water of the Baltic Sea.
Here are photographs showing how she would have looked originally, how she was raised and looks now, as well as some of the hundreds of intricate wooden sculptures.
Waldemarsudde Art Museum
This was just a short walk from the marina and set in woodland. Once the residence of a royal prince, himself a landscape artist, we visited both the apartments and a fascinating exhibition of works by a Swedish artist Sigrid Hjerten who we, being British, had never heard of. But in the company of Anna-Maria Lemby and her sister, we enjoyed learning more about her and how her art evolved with the phases of her life.
We were very fortunate to have been taken to the Royal Palace by Lars and his wife Stina who we had met in Utö. They kindly collected us in their car to drive the 7 miles west of Stockholm to visit the palace set on ‘Drottningholm’, which means ‘Queen’s Island’, with its own baroque Court Theatre and Chinese Pavilion. The palace itself is the residence of King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia and family who moved there from the city some years ago to enjoy the tranquillity of the island. Dating from the 17th century, it is said to be one of Europe’s most attractive palaces, and supposedly inspired by Versailles, but with some English touches. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with a tour of all three buildings and a walk around the palace grounds. This was followed by a late lunch in the Östermalms Market Hall, an indoor market with various small cafés, fishmongers and butchers selling gourmet products.
Around the Gamla Stan
On a beautifully warm day wandering through the Kungstradgarden Park with its many outdoor cafes and tree-lined avenue, we came to the Jakobs Church and Opera House before walking across the bridge to the old town of Stockholm or the ‘Gamla Stan’. The Royal Palace, the King’s official residence dominates and though not nearly as attractive as the Drottningholm Palace was built at around the same time.
Of course there was the ABBA museum as well, but though photographed from the outside, we didn’t visit, nor did we try any of the rides in the nearby Tivoli amusement park!