Canada Day Away, Eh?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Vassa Museum
July 1. Canada Day. In Stockholm. Our tour guide, Chad, is Canadian, and Chris actually had some Crown Royal, so it promised to be a good day for the three of us (Gord wound up disappearing elsewhere). Before that, however, we toured Stockholm whilst playing some Canadian music and, on one of the longer drives, some Canadian stand up comedy as well.

Stockholm's Town Hall
The tour took us to the Vassa museum, a massive ship built in the 1600s which was so tall that it capsized immediately after leaving the harbour. They pulled the ship up, remarkably preserved, and stuck it in this museum with a whole bunch of exhibits. It was a really nice change from the art and history museums that have occupied much of the last two months. We also visited the Town Hall, built in the 1900s, and quite remarkable. I always complain that we haven't been building things with an eye to art and meaning in the past few hundred years, just function, and this is a great exception. Very clever design, AND functional. It beats the heck out of Saskatoon City Hall, that's for sure. We also wound up in an ice bar, where you don parkas, grab a cocktail in a glass made exclusively out of ice, and sit around the ice tables drinking and chatting. Very neat stuff.

Some cool kids chilling at the Ice Bar.
Completing our stroll, the Ice Bar was next on the agenda, a bar built completely out of ice, right down to the drinking glasses. Everyone got parkas and mitts before entering and they had some good cocktails on tap as well as some ice sculptures inside. After chilling for 45 mins, I walked with Darren, who would quickly become one of my better friends here on the tour, and with Melissa, Danielle (Australian twins), and Lee (who joined our tour a few days late and just today got mad at me (not really) because I had left a blank in the journal as I didn't know her name at the time). We strolled up to a former castle with some great views and then sat down for a drink on one of the many islands that comprise Stockholm and watched the ships and amusement park across the water (also named Tivoli).

Grabbing several bites, Swedish style
We went out for dinner and a Swedish Smorgasbord (this is a Swedish invention) with some of their famed meatballs and other great foods. Then we sat around and talked for a while there before heading back to camp and a beach party on the lake nearby. It was an early morning for our long trek to Oslo, so we didn't stay out too late. Well, it didn't feel like it at any rate, given that, while the sun does set, it doesn't get much darker than dusk here. You can still see things quite fine in the twilight. It's like night is perpetually 10:30 back home.

<Stockholm Photos>

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