Saturday, August 21, 2010

Op Stockholm

Stockholm has always been one of my favorite cities, red walls and green copper roofs nestled across islands in the center of blue water and evergreen wilderness.  I nibble Swedish game dishes in Gamla Stan, wander the many museums, ride the ferries, enjoy the people enjoying the brief summer.  It’s a wonderful jumping-off point.

The words seem more commonplace than I remember, clearly connected to the same roots as the Dutch.  I remember, decades ago when I was offered a position in (Maastricht and declined), I thought the language was more Scandinavian than Roman.  The familiar offerings of Haring and the Dutch artisans engaged in the shipbuilding history here bring it home as well.

It’s nice to see Bjork on the street corners: I know she’s not Scandinavian, exactly, but it’s nice to have a world with room for people like her.

‘and me.

The boats and the subways combine to give easy access to the city: I remember a time, not long ago, when navigating foreign public transportation was unthinkable.  Cars or cabs, that was the only way.  Now I barely give it a second thought.  And there are always fun discoveries underground, like the Cave of the Frost Giant decor of one station.

The Vasa still impresses: an enormous dark hulk from the past with a complete cultural history clinging to it’s rough flanks. Only400 years old, but so far distant in how people lived, thought, held necessary skills and connected with a much smaller and slower world.   Contrast it with the headlong rush to learn and discover captured in the Nobel Museum.  The first Prize was Physics: the story of the Vasa reminds you how quantitative science an engineering did, indeed, change the world.

A few more pictures that caught my eye or imagination…it is, after all, a vacation.


Jul said...

I agree, Stockholm is quite lovable. And the Vasa museum lives strong in my memory even though I was there 15 years ago. Great place!

Invader_Stu said...

From everything I have heard about Stockholm (including what you just described) I would love to go there some day. I have a friend who lives out there and say's it is great. You just reminded me that I really must visit him one day :)

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks, Jul - it's interesting that the Vasa is still settling aobut 1 mm per year, twisting a bit at the stern, after all the efforts at conservation. Sulpher compounds in the air are also still degrading the oak sides. So they are designing a new cradle that will remove stress points, and have new air filtration and humidifying untis set up around the vessel to better control the air.

Dave Hampton said...

Just do it in summer, Stu: I had a friend here last year who told me aobut the winters (dark) and the snow and ice (endless). I think it was well past May before spring finally arrived. I think late August is the best time to visit - lots of people art still away, yet it's still warm and summy. Be sure to get out on the water on a ferry too.