Prior to July 28th, I had never taken a vacation this long (in this case, 16 days). I had also only barely left the country (sorry Canada, but you're basically a big...and nicer...version of Minnesota). Since July 28th, I have:
- Visited 7 countries
- Visited two national capitals
- Taken my first ever trip onboard a cruise ship
- Visited countries where a majority doesn't speak English
Pictures of Stockholm, both from the ship and from our walking about the town.
You can read more about the Vasa HERE.
(The exterior of the museum)
(The bow of the Vasa)
(The stern of the Vasa)
A fitting coda, at least for me, to a bucket-list trip.
Okay, I confess: I didn't take any photographs at the museum. Basically, I don't think they wanted visitors to take pictures. You can learn more about the museum HERE. This place is worth visiting if you are an ABBA fan. If you're not, well, go next door and enjoy the amusement park.
- Time. Stockholm, like every place we've visited, uses a 24-hour clock, where, for example, 1pm is 13:00 hours. It makes sense to me, which is probably why the United States sticks with the whole AM/PM thing (along with avoiding the metric system).
- Unisex. The Vasa museum featured unisex bathrooms, as in two bathrooms that just consisted of fully enclosed stalls and sinks. It was odd seeing a woman coming out of a bathroom space I was entering, but in the end, what did it matter? It's not as if I saw any "naughty bits".
- Dry. Northern Europe has been very hot (as noted in other postings) and very dry, so much so that some of the trees in Sweden have started to drop their leaves. I guess I didn't need that colder weather coat I brought on the trip after all.
- Cars. The Swedes love their cars, and although there is public transportation a-plenty (we even took a ferry today), it's clear why SAAB and Volvo are both Swedish companies. What I didn't see was anything that was old or otherwise in bad shape (as in my first few cars).
- Sunset. I could never get used to sunset being after 10pm, especially when it comes at the cost of extremely shortened daylight during the winter months (our guide in Helsinki said that typically in January, it's light between 9am and 3pm). For the record, it also looks like twilight at around 3am.
Soon the very the long trip home begins. We'll be moving backward in time by 6 hours, so while leaving Stockholm at 2pm, we will magically arrive in Philadelphia at 7pm (ish) after many more hours in transit. Hopefully, the trip will be more comfortable than what we experienced coming out to Bergen.
Finally, I wanted to say thank you to all who took the time to read these dispatches from the field (if you want to call them that...) and provide me with feedback. This really wasn't work for me, which does beg the basic question of why don't I find a way to do this for a living if, in fact, I enjoy it so much. That's a bigger question for another day. Anyway, my plan is to package these postings, along with some photographs and other assorted paraphernalia, into something of an album. Something to give a certain dimension to the memories that will no doubt grow foggy over time.