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Ancient places Booking early Stockholm Uncategorised

Vasa Museum and Modern Art.

Yesterday my phone battery went flat so I had to use a paper map and it was so easy. No fiddling around zooming in and out of a tiny screen. The maps and apps on the phone are brilliant tools but they give you so much more than you really. I have trouble seeing the important icons for the things I really need like the Metro stations among the clutter of other commercial locations like restaurants and shops that fill up the screen. I have switched between Maps and Google Maps to find the best and I think Maps is the quickest but the directions are so big they take up a third of the screen – I think Maps it was made for people in cars. Google Maps has more stuff but sometimes it’s far too much stuff. When you select a route in Google Maps it puts a dotted line right over the name of the street you need to go down and you spend so much time zooming in and out trying to read it. Finding where all the dropped pins are is a hassle.  The phoneis an amazing asset in these unknown cities but you still need to flip over to other apps to see the metro map or the bus and train routes – flip, flip, fiddle, faddle – it was a such a nice break air to use a regular paper map – at a single glance I could see where I was, the direction I wanted to go and the all the nearest metro stops – and I could scribble on it. I was brought up using paper maps, from ordinance survey maps to the A-Z of London that I knew inside out – it was nice to use some old skills. In fact, I’ve now decided to best and most fun way to get around Stockholm is on a bike with a paper map.

The reason the phone died, and it’s a new iPhone SE I bought in Portland that easily lasts all day on a full charge, was because today I made a 40 minute Facetime call to Julia while wandering from the Vasa Museum to the Modern Art Museum which is a ferry ride and a bit of walking, and it drained the battery.

The Vasa Museum is one of the top attractions in Stockholm so I got there early to avoid the crowds and I stayed for about 3 hours. Briefly, a ship was built in 1624 to rival all other war ships, it took 4 years to build and used tonnes of oak, had 64 cannons and ornate scultpures all around the sides, it was a magnificent example of Middle Ages craftmanship but soon after being launched it sank in the harbour – a major embarrasement for the Swedish King, Gustav II Adolf who had invited all his fancy friends to come down to see it in action.

 

 

 

But 300 years later it was hauled up in a major salvage operation. Because of the polluted water with sulphates in the river and low oxygen it was well preserved. The reason it sank was simply comes down to basic physics, it was too top heavy with too many cannons in the mid level, and they left all the lower gun-ports open on the launch day – a gust of wind came up, the ship tilted and water poured in the open gun-ports.

Another great part of the exhibition is the fine examples of beautiful model-making craftwork. These included the shipyard and construction phases, the modern salvage operation and profiles of the people who worked on the ship. There’s also an auditorium with a movie of the whole story.

A ferry ride took me to the Museum of Modern Art on a nearby island where, apart from the permanent exhibition, there was an exhibition of work by the architect, furniture and fabric designer Josef Frank.

And finally, the view from my bed as I write this post.

Categories
Bars and cafes Hostels Stockholm Uncategorised

The best hostel in Stockholm

City Backpackers voted best in Stockholm 2017

I’m here for a week and I love the place – it’s what all hostels should be. So pleased I picked it on Booking.com many months ago. After you check in at reception a person shows you around and explains the way things work; there’s a no-shoes-policy in the living areas, they give you fresh white linen, the mattresses are new, each bed has two plug sockets and a funky working light with an LED bulb, in the kitchen there’s a bank of fridges, every room has been allocated it’s own fridge.  Access is electronic keypad entry and the outside door code changes everyday. It’s all so well organised, all the fittings are quality, nothing has been done on the cheap, maintenance people along with cleaning staff are on site, and standards are kept high. There are no signs everywhere – the decorative items are carefully chosen and I’d say quite expensive. The central courtyard has live music some nights and a restaurant does subsidised meals for $15. I’ve had the same traditional Swedish meatballs for three nights running now.
The staff are helpful and enthusiastic, one of them helped me decide that I should fly from Stockholm to Amsterdam. I was planning to go overland by rail but the costs and the number of changes and connections I’d have to make would be a mission. I thought there would be just one train all the way – but no, and it’s so much cheaper so I’ve booked the flight now. The wifi here is the fastest I’ve ever used and I base this on the speed I can upload images . . woosh!
The  City Backpackers Hostel  Upplandsgatan 2a, 111 23 Stockholm, Sweden is NZ$403 for 7 nights, that’s $57 a night plus a single additional cost for linen, and breakfasts are 55 Krona NZ$8.80. This hostel is one of a chain of hostels around Europe called Europe’s Famous Hostels and I wish I’d booked the same in Amsterdam and Vienna.
This little example tells you a lot, I put some food in my fridge, (the visit to the local supermarket was an adventure, but that’s another story), and I put the food in the fridge, next morning there were little stickers on my items saying ‘Please label’, meaning, with my name and departure date – now, that’s efficiency, and so polite. There’s also a Free Fridge, plus there’s free pasta if you’re really broke and need a meal – very civilised.
Just a little touch, where you leave your shoes in the alcove area there’s a sign saying, ‘If you love your shoes, take them to your room.‘ Which is so much more pleaseant than the alternative, other places might have a sign in the negitive, eg: ‘Theives operate in this bulding, leave shoes here at your own risk.’  The difference is what makes this place special – everything has been thought about – and that’s good design.
And tomorrow . .  I’m going to the design museum.

The Courtyard where there’s DJs, and tonight, a band from Liverpool is playing, apparently.

 

Reception area with free filter coffee.
Spiral stair going to the office mezzanine.
Reception area instalation – travel theme.
Reception area with longboards for hire.
My comfortable four bed mixed dorm called Drottningholm with view onto the park – shows my privacy curtain invention, borrowed from Luthansa Airways
Even the room name labels have a bit of retro class.
First floor foyer

The foyer area outside my room with a continuous Betty Boop cartoon on a vintage telly.
Kitchen
Every room has an allocated fridge and if you don’t name and date your food, they put a sticker on it to request it is.

Great sinks, tiled floors and always clean.
An iMac with hostel info
IT lounge, fast free wifi throughout
Doesn’t work but looks great.
Breakast choice of a filled bun, cinnamon bun or croissant, plus free yoghurt, meusli and fruit, and filter coffee all day.
Breakfast ready to go.
Fresh yoghurt in the fridge
Foyer installation.