They actually told us we were at a different place on the map then we were. We followed signs pointing to the center of town and realized the bad directions when we arrived. (I guessed correctly what “centrum” meant.)
The old town is on it’s own island with narrow roads that did allow for cars but were prefect for bikes. we followed the “Rick Steves” walking tour but again got distracted by L. wanting to find shops. After riding around all the narrow streets we decided to ride to City hall. This is where the nobel prizes are handed out each year. Because we did not arrive right on the hour we could not join a tour. It is just as well since it most likely would have taken to long as we had a lunch appointment at one.
L. has a very different maiden name. While researching it she found that it links back to Swedish royalty and wealth. She also found someone in Stockholm that was interested in genealogy that shared her old last name. We had agreed to meet for lunch while we were there. We spent a long time talking about the history of the family name for both sides of the Atlantic and best of all L. was able to get the proper pronunciation which sounds much better. The woman we met with had also brought her son with her since she had married into the family I didn’t notice any resemblance but I guess being about 10th cousins will do that. It was also interesting to just to have a long talk with local people about the local issues. (They had just passed the wire tapping law there in Stockholm and the people are mad enough to rebel and are trying to throw the government out. If only there was the same level of passion or even people noticing what was happening here in the US.)
After that we saw the Vasa ship museum (42 krona ~ $8). A 1700’s ship was badly designed and sunk on its maiden voyage because it couldn’t handle the light breeze that tipped it over. It is was interesting since it was so well preserved.
From there we hurried back to the ship. L. wanted to get a souvenir for everyone in her family since this is where the family name and still needed something for her Father. I decided to quickly ride back into town and was pedaling hard enough to pull the chain off the sprocket. While putting it back on I realized there was a tourist shop at the port so I quickly headed back and L. was happy to see me. One of the souvenirs that was selling everywhere was the traditional Swedish Dala Horse. It was weird because to me it looked identical in style, color, and decoration to wooden horses I have seen in Mexico. I guess it is a case of parallel cultures.
As we left the port we passed though many narrow channels with summer houses along the shipping route. People were sitting on their porches watching the ships go by and would occasionally wave to the people on the ship waving at them.