You'll gather, we left the ABBA museum feeling a little deflated. Our plans for the day had focused on that and here we were, in the late morning with the rest of the day ahead of us. As we considered the options, the answer was there, right in front of us.
It was a few years since we'd visited the Vasa. I'd considered hopping off there during my afternoon's meanderings, but had preferred to be out in the open. However, an email from a work colleague reminded me what a great museum this is and with a few hours to spare before heading to the airport, we spent no time at all in making the decision to revisit.
The minute we stepped inside, we remembered what makes this a great museum! Not only is the Vasa itself an outstanding exhibit, it is displayed and interpreted in such an accessible and interesting way that even someone with no historial knowledge whatsoever - like me! - can enjoy it too. The excellent film presentation sets the scene, paints a background of the events and the superb CGI brings the story to life.
A scale model alongside the real thing gives a clear impression of how colourful the Vasa would have looked when it was launched. It must have been quite a sight.
I found it interesting to identify the details and compare them, side by side. Remarkable that so much survived for so long.
In addition, I appreciated the creative aspects of the exhibit such as this hand drawn lettering.
Yes, really, isn't it great that a craftsman's skill is employed in such a situation in preference to transferred lettering? The draughtsman's pencil lines are still evident and there are the unmistakeable variations in the characters which add the personality.
I also admired the (surprisingly large) fragments of the sails which were displayed alongside clear descriptions of how they were contructed and supported. The language and specialist terminology was intriguing - out came the notebook and lists were made!
The stitching and seam details were pretty amazing too, considering the length of time they were underwater.
The ropes were still clearly attached to the fragments of linen which remained and glancing back at the ship, it was difficult to imagine the challenge of making sails so huge (and so heavy!). To think, I get tangled up in handling a domestic sized pair of curtains or a king size duvet cover!
We'd begun at the very top of the structure and worked our way down, timing it perfectly for a relaxed lunch in the outdoor cafe, overlooking the water. What a perfect way to round off our flying visit.
If you are in Stockholm, the Vasa really is a must-see. Thank you, Sally, for the reminder!