Wednesday, October 28.
Bit slow this morning, after a power of walking yesterday. Breakfast and washing done we walked up to the metro for the ride into town. Grabbed 24 hour passes at the station, which can be used on the metro, trains, buses and ferries.
Someone with me thought it would be a good idea to go one station further and we would be near the Vasa Museum, which was where we were heading. Alighted and came up to the surface with no museum in site. Looked at the map, wrong island. Easy to do when there are so many of them.
Walked to the end of the street where there just happened to be a ferry terminal. Few questions asked and the next ferry would take us to the correct island, which we could see.
A couple more shots of those sinking buildings.
Now we are also at the Vasa Museum and it is time for a short history lesson.
The Vasa Museum is all about one ship, the Vasa. It’s only claim to fame, it sank.
On the 10th August, 1628, Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage, and sank 1500 metres later, in Stockholm Harbour, in 30 metres of water. Only the tops of her masts were visible as she sat on the bottom. They were cut off below the waterline, and there she sat.
In the 1660’s most of her 64 cannons were removed, and nothing more was done until 1957 when the wreck was found again, and a process put on place to raise her and restore the ship to its former glory.
The ship was salvaged in 1961, after 333 years under the sea. The reconstructed ship, 98% original, is adorned with hundreds of carved sculptures, and is one of the worlds foremost tourist attractions, giving an insight into 17th Century Sweden.
Why did it sink? The engineers got it wrong, and from an engineer, that hurts. No one had ever built a twin deck battleship before, so basically it was too high for it’s width. Even during construction, the builders told the designer and engineers that they could make the ship list badly from port to starboard simply by a group of them running from one side of the deck to the other en masse. They even tried putting in more ballast, but then the gun ports were too close to the water line.
The king however would not be put off and ordered them to continue building. This was due mainly in part to the fact that at the time Sweden was locked in battles with Poland, and he wanted to show his superiority.
The end result that when it set out on its maiden voyage, with minimal sails unfurled, a gust of wind caused it to list heavily to port, and as the gun ports were open with cannons deployed, water rushed in the ports and the rest is history. Thirty sailors list their lives out of a total of a total of 450.
The amazing part of the whole story is that due to the highly polluted waters at the time, the ship was gradually covered with silt, which excluded the oxygen, and preserved 98% of the ship. When they cleaned the silt out of the hull they actually found twenty of those lost still intact with their clothes still on them.
Enough background, the pictures really tell the story.
We were blown away by the actual enormity of the shop and the condition in which it was found, and how it looks today. The restoration work is ongoing, and they are currently replacing all the cast iron bolts with special stainless steel ones as the old ones are reacting with the salts in the timbers to form sulphuric acid which is eating the timbers away around the bolts.
We were wandering through the gift shop when we happened to look outside and notice that it was dark. Checked the time, 6.35, the last ferry back leaves at 6.48. Time for a bit of power walking. Arrived at the terminal with 4 minutes to spare. 😳😳 On the way back we realised that we had spent nearly seven hours looking at just one ship. It also included video presentations of construction and simulations of what happened along with hands on stuff, and lunch of course. The time spent was totally worth it. If anyone wants to know more, just google Vasa.
Shots across the harbour on the return trip.