Everything is beautiful here in Stockholm Sweden. Goodness me, does it feel good to embrace my inner-Swede.
When I think of America’s perception of Sweden I picture IKEA, meatballs and blonde people. In reality, Stockholm is much closer to a city like Amsterdam — building lights reflecting softly on the water, narrow cobbled streets and quaint little cafes around every corner. How did Stockholm never make my travel itinerary until now?
Speaking of quaint cafes, allow me to gush about my personal favorite, Espresso Sosta Bar. The baristas here are absolute charmers who make coffee an art form. One of them seemed absolutely tickled by my ‘American accent’ and insisted on crafting my cappuccino. He was alarmingly handsome so I really didn’t fight it much whatsoever. Watching him manually craft that cap was something you would never see back in the States.
The one thing I love about traveling is the people watching with a warm cup of coffee in hand. To me there’s no better way to just immerse yourself among the locals, when you completely transcend that role of the American tourist. Suddenly I was a young Swedish woman sipping coffee in the afternoon sunlight. My grandmother would definitely be proud.
The history of Stockholm is utterly alluring. I had the opportunity to visit the Vasa Museum, featuring the shipwrecked vessel which has now been beautifully restored. Given new life, the Vasa has come a long way since it went below those murky depths in 1628. The history of the Vasa is immense, literally spanning centuries.
Vasa was a fearsome ship designed for war. Historical records show that the vessel carried a crew of nearly 450 men, 300 of which were soldiers. What made her so particularly threatening was her broadside, firing more than 300 kg during an offensive attack. It helped usher in a new time in sea combat where the enemy was deliberately trying to sink the opposing vessel with the aid of heavy cannons.
Disaster would later strike Vasa during the maiden voyage and cause her to sink. The sails which had caught wind allowed the vessel to heel over to port, which allowed water to rush in through the gunports. The subsequent flood was enough to ensnare Vasa to a watery grave and claim the lives of at least 30 sailors, according to eyewitnesses.
The story of Vasa is perhaps less fatally romantic than the Titantic, but they certainly share some similarity. How incredible it is to witness this living piece of history.