Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cruising with Virginia-Part 7 Stockholm

I hope that you have been enjoying the series of my Baltic cruise. We now have come to Part 7 (Stockholm) which was our last port of call. I must confess, making these travel posts was a lot of work. I had to skim through over 3000 photos, take out the best edited photos...compile them in a meaningful and visually-appealing way. However, I find that through the posting process, it is so fun and meaningful to reflect on this amazing trip and I even learn a few more things about cities that I had just visited. Thank you for all the wonderful and positive feedback. One of the followers Harriet's response from my previous travel post warmed my heart particularly.

"Thank you, Virginia, I got to "see" a city I will never visit. Yes, the weather vane is exceptional. Today I bought a copy of "Catherine the Great"....I've been waiting for it to be published in paperback. I took another look at the hermitage to get me in the mood for this book. Thank you, thank you!!!!"

With that wonderful comment, I now present you Part 7. As you know, Sweden is the home of IKEA, ABBA, Bjorn Borg ...and the origins of many innovations and designs. I have always been fascinated by all things Swedish whenever I step into an IKEA...Well, this trip is all about Stockholm without anyone mentioning IKEA. It's simply because there are so much more to learn about this wonderful country, IKEA is only a small part of Sweden!
When our cruise ship docked at Nynashamn on a very rainy day, we had to take a tender boat to get on shore, then the kids and I (Dr. John experienced sea sickness that day and missed visiting Stockholm) joined the excursion and took a 45 min bus ride to Stockholm. Our first destination was the Vasa Museum.
 This maritime museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa Museum opened in 1990. 
 The artwork from the ship (some figures were replicas)
 The building itself is quite impressive. The main hall contains the ship itself and various exhibits related to the archaeological findings of the ships and early 17th century Sweden. The museum is dominated by a large copper roof with stylized masts that represent the actual height of Vasa when she was fully rigged. I am not a fan of Maritime museums, but I couldn't help being in awe when I saw the size of the ship and how it is now being displayed after it sunk in 1628.
After the museum, we were free to roam about downtown Stockholm on that Sunday. And this is what we saw...rain or shine, the ITU Triathlon was going on. These super fit Swedes, young and old, were doing their thing and try to reach their personal best. We had to wait between the breaks to get through the streets.
Eventually, we decided to hit another museum since the weather was not so great. The kids and I were excited to find the Nobel Museum nearby.
 This is the entrance of the Nobel Museum which was opened in 2001.
Inside the museum,  very cool and inventive displays of the Nobel Laureates from 1901 to the present.
Stephanie kept saying how much she loved the way of displaying the Nobel Laureates work through the train-like moving tracks in the ceiling. The museum offers exhibitions, films, theatre plays, and debates.
 I managed to get some practical souvenirs...GOLD Nobel Chocolate Medal! This is the closest to the Nobel medal that I can get--ha!
Later Dr. John tasted the chocolate and find them just "average quality, not prize-winning"!
After the museum, we hit the streets and bought ourselves some treats: nuts and coconut-coated chocolate balls! YUM!
A glance of Stockholm
We found this copper/bronze suitcase on a bench in downtown. Isn't this an amazing city? I now want to go back...but then I may just have to visit the nearest IKEA to get a quick fix! Thanks again for looking through this photo-heavy post! I have more fun posts about this trip to come. So our virtual trip is not quite over yet :)
Announcement: Market Street Stamps giveaway result (check under the blog header)!
Winner is #43 fun stamping (Cornelia)! Congrats!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cruising with Virginia--Part 6 Tallinn, Estonia

Are you ready to take a virtual visit, this time to Tallinn, Estonia?
(Warning: picture-heavy post, again!)
 Honestly, I had little no idea about this magical place before my visit. It is absolutely enchanting! We were all pleasantly surprised how lovely this place is....take a look and you'll see what I mean!
Tallinn is the largest city and capital of Estonia.  Tallinn's Old Town is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku, Finland (thanks, Wikipedia!!)
 Dr. John used his wide angle lens to capture this old town scene! Love it!
The scenic city
You can easily see people dressed up for the town event. Waitresses and shop vendors wearing medieval costumes are the common sights here.

 Although it is a very touristy town, we find every nook and cranny quite interesting.I love the gorgeous flower shops, window display, the little train bus and the whimsical street sign. I also adore my grown kids sitting at the sidewalk!
Stephanie had fun posing with the shop displays here. She actually bought some new outfits from one of the European department stores!
This view (from the lookout of the old town) is simply breathtaking.
 (photo credit: Stephanie)
(photo credit: Dr. John)
 (photo credit: David)
 Isn't this weather vane beautiful?
Well, what do you think? Isn't this city charming? Thank you so much for stopping by!