Vasa

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This is a model of the Swedish vessel Vasa, which was brought back from the dead in 1961.

Once it was raised from the seabed it floated and was towed to the location set aside for its restoration.

I first saw the Vasa in 1965 during a visit to Stockholm during my time as a cadet in Dunera, which at that time was a school ship.

From memory when I saw her she was in a building similar to an aircraft hanger and being sprayed with a liquid to preserve the her timbers. The liquid, I believe was polyethylene glycol, and she was sprayed with PUG for seventeen years before being allowed to dry out, which is still in the process of doing today.
In 1965 the ship could only be viewed from two levels and we were not allowed to get too close. It made such an impression on me that I knew that I would return one day.
As soon as I heard of the Celebrity Silhouette’s Baltic cruise I checked to see if Stockholm was one of the ‘stops’. It was, so I booked.
The spraying of sunken wooden ships with PUG is now standard, and was used on the British vessel Mary Rose, which was in Henry the VIII’s navy, having been launched in 1511 and she sank in 1545 during a battle against the French.

The Vasa sailed from Stockholm on the 10th November in 1628. She had been ordered to sea to take part in the war, which was in progress between Sweden and Poland- Lithuania (1621-1629). She managed about 1300 meters (1400 yards) before the wind caused her to list, but she righted herself, but the wind blew again and this time she was pushed so far over that her gun-ports were pushed under water and she was unable to right herself, and went over and sank.

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From a painting that I found on the internet.

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A photograph I took of a plaque in the museum.

In 1961 during the investigation inside the vessel they found the remains of at least fifteen people.

The ship had survived complete destruction throughout her 333 years under water due to a number of factors.

The salinity of the water where she sank is very low so ship-worms can not survive, the waters around the wreck didn’t have any, or very limited amount, of oxygen in it, and the temperature of the water was very low between 1 to 5 c, (just above freezing). The ship was built of oak heartwood, which had a high iron content, plus the vessel was new when it sank.

When they found the Vasa they had to come up with a way of lifting her from the seabed without damaging the wreck itself. The system they used was very similar to the first attempt to float the Vasa, which was a few days after she sank. They used a system of ‘camels’, which has been used by most navies for hundreds of years, when sailors wished to reduce the draft of a vessel in shallow waters.

In the case of the Vasa it took two years for divers to create six tunnels under the wreck, because she was so deep in the mud. They could not risk attaching grab claws in case they damaged her. It took 1300 very dangerous dives to create the tunnels through which wire ropes were passed. The ends of the wire ropes were attached to two barges on the surface, which had been filled with water, so they were low in the water. The water in the barge was pumped out causing the barges to rise, and so hopefully raise the Vasa enough to break the grip of the mud that had half buried her during the last 300 odd years.
Each time she moved the surface crew would tighten the wire ropes fill the barges with water again so they sank a little, tighten the wire rope again, and pump out the water, causing the barges to rise, and drag the Vasa up further. During the months of August and September 1959 after eighteen ‘lifts’ she had been raised 16 meters (105 ft) from the seabed, but was still about 16 meters under the water. This allowed the wreck to be moved to a more sheltered area, which would allow divers to do further investigations.

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I found this on the internet, which is a good illustration of a ‘camel’ in operation.

Parts of the Vasa had broken away and buried in the sea mud. These parts were rescued,  cleaned and reattached correctly. The reconstructed vessel today is 98% of the original. Apparently they have found 40,000 artifacts in and around the ship, which has opened  new knowledge of life at that time.

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Not all that much different to the sea chest issued to me when I joined HMS Conway in 1960.

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This was my first impression of the Vasa during my recent visit. The whole building is atmospherically controlled to protect the ship from decomposing, and they try to keep the temperature at a level that is acceptable to the public.

The ship is HUGE!

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A clear view off the gun-ports

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Obviously the rigging is new

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The main deck had to be replaced because it had been damaged over the years when many of the cannon had been removed.

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As one moves aft towards the captain’s & officer’s accommodation area we see the artistry of the carvings clearly. The stern area would have been bolted to the main ship with iron bolts and as time went on, the iron would have rusted away and the accommodation collapsed in to the mud. When this area was recovered they found that  the mud had saved some of the figure’s colour, so that scientists could work out the correct colouring. The accommodation was reattached.

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The stern with the detailed carvings still available to be seen.

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I stood on a platform at the stern to take this photograph (with many other ‘clickers’) which was about two floors up – note the size of the person on the bottom left of the picture which gives an idea of the ship’s size.

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An easier picture to illustrate the vessels size compared to the people underneath.

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Three cannon bronze were rescued, most of the others had been removed from the Vasa in the 17th century.

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A model of what she would have looked like on the day she sailed.

DSC02782clThe colourful stern.

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A longboat found lying next to the Vasa and believed to have been one of the boats towed by the her as she sailed out of port.

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Port side of the Vasa with the longboat, along with some tourists so as to compare size.

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The museum has recreated the a gun deck (not on the ship but alongside the Vasa. As you see an average person can stand with ease. The guns are all replicas.

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The museum has also created a scale model of life below decks.

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One can see the stone ballast at the bottom, which was not enough to keep her upright.

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To see how they started to clean her click on  VASA  after the first minute the cleaning can be seen.

Tried to buy a booklet of the history of salvaging Vasa, they had a book stand with the booklet in about fifteen different languages, but unfortunately not in English, they’d sold out.

I blame all those cruise ship visitors! :- o)

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ABBA’s Home area

 

DSC02613rAt 122, 000 gt, I thought that perhaps Celebrity Silhouette was too large to berth in Stockholm, and this was the reason why we berthed at Nynashamn, which is forty five minutes, by coach, from Stockholm.
I have since found out the Emerald Princess (113,561 gt) was able to berth in Stockholm during her visit, and she was close enough to the city for the passengers to walk to many sites of interest.
During our visit to Stockholm I did see two smaller cruise ships alongside, perhaps their occupation of the berths, at the time of our visit, was the reason that required us to dock in Nynashamn.

Regardless, arriving into Nynashamn was a beautiful experience with the sun rising over the islands that we passed as we entered port. You can just see our wake in the above picture as we navigated passed the islands.

DSC02615rIt was all very picturesque.

DSC02812rOnce we’d arrived and the ship was moored a floating pier edged its way out to us and was secured for the passengers to disembark. The dark blue floats that can be seen is the floating pier / walkway.

DSC02629rcPerfect weather for viewing Stockholm. As I mentioned earlier I did see a couple of cruise ships in Stockholm, but they were much smaller than the Celebrity Silhouette, about 46,000 gt. each.

Our itinerary included a drive around the city, visit to the City Hall where the Nobel prize banquet takes place. The palace guards, walking around the old area and then the Vasa. This blog will not contain any information about the Vasa, because I intend doing a blog just on the Vasa. 

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The City Hall across the water, which was built between 1911 and 1923.
I’ve been told that it contains eight million bricks.

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Not sure if you can the three crowns on the top of the tower – the three crowns are a heraldic symbol of Sweden.
We didn’t climb to the top, although one could if you had the time & energy. With 365 steps to get to the top, it is no longer on my bucket list.

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Close up of some of the statues as we entered the inner court yard
of City Hall.

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Inner court yard

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The inner court yard looking back towards Lake Malaren.

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View across Lake Malaren – the city hall is behind me.

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After passing through the inner court we entered the City Hall.

This hall is called the Blue Hall – all the brick are hand made and the architect was going to paint them blue, but changed his mind, but they never changed the name, although you can see various items painted blue.
This is the hall in which the banquet takes place for the Nobel Prize winners.

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In the above you can see the organ, and its location is on the left in the picture above this one.

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Of course an organ requires pipes and there are over 10,000 for this organ, all located in the gold balcony. The problem for the organist in this room is that there is a half second delay between pushing the buttons and the sound coming out of the pipes. If they make a mistake it is too late to try and correct that mistake. Apparently there are only three people in Sweden skilled enough to play this organ.

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The Blue Hall from the top of the stairs.

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I found this picture on the internet, which was taken during a banquet. The Nobel Prize banquet takes place on the 10th December each year (the date Alfred Nobel died) and has done so since 1901.
The presentation of the prizes is performed at the Stockholm Concert hall and the celebration banquet takes place in the Blue Hall of City Hall. The Nobel Prizes are presented to the winners by His Majesty the King of Sweden.

The Blue Hall has been the place of the Nobel celebration since 1930, and the guests of honour are the King & Queen of Sweden.
If you are interested, the hall can seat 1300 guests and is available for public functions.

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After the dinner dancing takes place in the Gold Room.

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All created with eighteen million golden mosaic tiles. My photographic skill is limited, but may I suggest you click on this link for a full view and you can move the view to suite your needs. Click for 360 degree viewDanceFound this on the internet – Nobel Prize Ball in the Gold Room.DSC02676rBack to the coach for the next stop – the view across the lake from the City Hall.DSC02685rBonde Palace, which has been restored inside to it’s original 17th & 18th century design and is currently the seat of the Supreme Court of Sweden. DSC02690r
I took this photograph because the single table made me think of a romantic meeting that perhaps failed, and is now lost in time.
How long did he wait for her, before reluctantly moving on?DSC02694rWe We’ve arrived in the Palace area.
Is she asleep, of did I catch her when she blinked?
We’ll never know.

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A King in the making – I wanted to see this statue because I am interested in the Napoleonic period, and how the links with Napoleon are still there, even today.
In 1809 Sweden lost, what we now know as Finland, to the Russians. Finland used to be part of Sweden.
The King of Sweden was of the the House of Holstein-Gottorp, Gustav IV Adolf, and he failed in his effort to defend Finland. The Swedish people where not at all happy, so they deposed this King & his son in a coup d’état.
Gustov’s uncle, Charles XIII, was elected to be King, but he was sixty one and becoming senile, and he was childless. The House of Holstein-Gottorp would die out with Charles’ death.
In 1810 the Swedish parliament offered the position to a Danish Prince, Prince Christian August of Augustenborg, and he became Charles August, but he died within a year.
At that time Napoleon dominated Europe, except for the British Isles and Sweden, and various kingdoms were in control of various brothers of Napoleon. So for peace and quiet, Sweden decided to choose a king of which they were sure Napoleon would approve. They offered the position to Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, who was a Marshall of France. Napoleon had already created him a Prince, being Prince Bernadotte of the  principality of Pontecorvo, which had been taken, by Napoleon, from the Papal States.
Bernadott was French by birth and had now become the Crown Prince of Sweden, and assumed the name Charles John and was Regent during the final months of Charles August’s reign.

The statute in the photograph is of Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, and the current king  is a descendant of  the French Marshall – and is of the House of Bernadotte.

The city was in the middle of renovating the area, and I am not sure if the metal support (seen in the picture) is to support the statue or just part of the fencing.

It went through my mind that perhaps Abba found inspiration from Napoleon.

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A walk a round the old area while we waited for the ceremony of changing of the Palace Guard.

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The Kalmaris Union was a union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1397 to 1523 under a single monarch.

In November of 1520 there was a clash in Stockholm between the Kalmaris Unionists and the anti-unionists who wanted an independent Sweden.
King Christian of Denmark had promised peace between the Unionists & the Ant-Unionists, and invited, on the 7th November, a number of Swedish leaders to a conference at the palace.

On the 8th November soldiers entered the palace and took away several of the senior members of the Swedish contingent. Later many more were taken – all had been marked down as anti-unionists.

On the 9th November they were sentenced to death by the Archbishop for being heretics.

The executions began on the 10th November in the public square either by hanging or beheading. The public square is known as Stortorget (The Big Square) which is the oldest square in Stockholm and the centre from which Stockholm grew.

The eighty-two white stones on the red building are supposed to represent the heads of the anti-unionists killed in the square during the executions.

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On the left of this picture you can see the well, which is still active, because it is connected to the city’s water supply. . . .

There is a slight hicup, with regard to the red building or Ribbinska huset (house of Ribbing) to give it’s correct name, and the symbol of the 82 heads.

The massacre of the noble men took place in 1520, but the house is recorded to have been built no later than in 1479.
Councillor Ribbing gave the house to a man called Schantz in 1627, and it was he who added the white tiles.

So the white tiles have nothing to do with the massacre, but they make a good story.

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   Plenty of troops around as we waited for the changing of the guard.

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Here they come – the band leading the new guard. The building is being refurbished hence the white sheets.

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A clear view of the heraldic symbol of the three crowns of Sweden.

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Because of the crowds we didn’t see any of the changing of the guards.

Our next stop was to see the Vasa, but I will do a separate blog on that event.

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A saved piece of history – built in Great Britain and launched in 1888 as the Dunboyne and is now the third oldest surviving iron built ship.

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Under sail – Picture found on the internet.

She sailed between Wales and Australia as well as to the US and the west coast of the US.

In 1915 she was sold to a Norwegian outfit and renamed G.D.Kennedy. In 1923 the Swedish navy bought her to be used as a naval training ship. Her final trip was in 1934, after which she was used as a barrack ship during WW2.

In 1947 she was saved from being broken up by the Stockholm city museum and since 1949 has been managed by the Swedish tourist board, and now serves as a youth hostel, having 285 beds. The red brick building to the left of the ship where she is moored today, is the Swedish Admiralty House.

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Finally we were taken to a high spot for some great views of the city.

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Overall a lovely interesting day, with plenty to see, and a desire to return one day. I first visited Stockholm in 1965, but couldn’t remember much about the visit at that time, except for seeing the Vasa.