Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 28 August 2017

Stockholm Vasa Museum

This is the Vasa Museum, home to a 17th century warship. The Vasa set sail on her maiden voyage on 10th Aug 1628 and sank in Stockholm harbour. The ship sank as soon as they raised the sails as the ship was top heavy without enough ballast. Once the ship keeled, over water poured in through the gun ports and she sank having sailed just 1300m. it is estimated that around 30 out of the 150 people on board died.















The wreck was salvaged in 1961 after 333 years under the sea. It took over a year and a half to raise the ship from the sea bed. They managed to keep the hull intact and refloat it to transport it to where they would begin the long process of preserving the ship.


The figurehead is a lion holding the heraldic arms of the Vasa dynasty, a corn sheaf (vasa) after which the ship was named. King Gustav II Adolf who commissioned the ship was known as the Lion of the North. The impressive figurehead  is 3m long.


You get some idea of the size of the ship looking down at the visitors below.

The ship has been beautifully restored with an incredible 98% of it original.








15 of the ship's sculptures have been reproduced in their original colours. It took 12 years of paint research to recover and analyse the colours. 



The three crowns have been part of the Swedish coat-of-arms since the 14th cent.











On the roofs of the Quarter Galleries are sea creatures (tritons and mermaids). Underneath are Roman Warriors.




Many of the ships 500 sculptures were found on the stern. Although it was damaged it has been painstakingly restored. The lighter coloured wood is not original.









If you are ever in Stockholm this is one museum not to be missed.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Big Ben is silent


 
 At midday today Big Ben could be heard chiming 12 for the last time for four years! Essential maintenance on the bell tower and the clock began this afternoon and won't be finished for at least four years!



 Crowds gathered in Parliament Square to hear the last bongs of Big Ben.

 
 The pearly king and his family were there being interviewed.

 The media were there from around the world.










There has been an outcry that this has been allowed to happen. London without the sound of Big Ben is just not right.



 As the twelfth bong sounded a huge round of applause rose up from the crowd. Goodbye Big Ben or should I say 'au revoir' until 2021.



Thursday, 17 August 2017

Stockholm

Last week I visited Stockholm for a few days. This was my first visit to Sweden and hopefully not my last. I hadn't realised that Stockholm was built on 14 different islands with another 30,000 making up the archipelago. Approximately just 150 of the islands are inhabited.

Many views of the city were taken either from one of the many bridges or from a boat.

Grona Lund amusement park


Vasa Museum















The Old Town, Gamla Stan, is full of medieval narrow cobbled lanes and historic buildings. Visiting early in the morning, I managed to avoid the crowded streets, full of tourists from the many cruise ships that are regular visitors to Stockholm.


















Stockholm Cathedral




 The sculpture of St George and the dragon was created around 1485 from materials such as oak and elk antlers.









This red brick building is Stadshuset, City Hall. You can go up the tower to get a bird's eye view of the city.