Friday, November 11, 2011

Chocolate and Boats

I realize I've been pretty lax with updating lately, so I'll try to get caught up in the next few days while I'm still in Sweden with nothing to do. The next trip I took was on October 15th, heading to a couple of great museums in Stockholm.

I went with 3 other people from my viticulture class who were also interested in the museums (and the chocolate festival going on in one of them). We ended up just walking to the museums from the train station and decided to go to Nordiska Museet first, which is essentially a really old museum about Scandinavian history and culture. It also had a first floor full of chocolate!

This man had free hot chocolate stored in that jug on his back! It was a great way to keep warm while waiting in line to get in.

Here is the front of Nordiska Museet. The chocolate festival  was quite popular that day!

So many truffles!

This was fully functional and made completely from chocolate!

Free samples of baking chocolate!
We wandered around the different chocolate stalls for a while. I ended up buying some Karl Fazer baking chocolate, 3 mint truffles and some chocolate/almond paste pigs. We also got a good look at the rest of the museum- all 3-4 floors of it!

I won't post a bunch of pictures from the exhibits and explain them- it would probably be a rather dull read, and I don't honestly remember what all of them are. Here are just a couple of  interesting things:

Traditional Swedish bridal garb from the 1840's

A (copy of a?) Swedish newspaper from 1939 about England and Germany around the time WWII began
Our next stop was Vasa Museet, which is famous for the huge ship recovered and on display there. It sank in the 1600's on its maiden voyage out of Stockholm because a gust of wind knocked it over. It hadn't even left the harbor! It sat there for 300 years until someone decided to dig it up in the 50's. What sits in the museum now has been painstakingly restored and is 95% original materials.

All of these boat pictures were actually taken by my friend Marie because her camera is much better at taking pictures in the strange light of the museum. It was oddly dim in there to avoid further damaging the ship from strong light. The building is well-insulated from outside weather and has a very sophisticated climate control system to minimize boat deterioration. The museum itself was built on top of a former dock, so in some places a person could be standing right above the water.  

There were also a few artifacts on display from the wreckage site:

Here's a really old backgammon board!

Buckets rusted away to barely nothing

They also had glass cases with the remains of some of the ships' crew, but I didn't really want to take pictures of that. From a food scientist's perspective, I found this little display very interesting:

Here is a piece of bread from the year 2000. It hasn't deteriorated because the bag has no oxygen in it at all (see the little packet in the bottom? It leaches oxygen from the bag if any gets in). This was meant to demonstrate how damaging something as innocuous as oxygen can be to the Vasa ship.
After we were done at the Vasa Museum, we decided to hit up a T.G.I. Friday's we found on the way to the museums. There was one other American in the group, and we were both excited to maybe get some food from home. It was still much more expensive than ordering the same stuff back home, but it was good food! They had menus in both Swedish and English. They have some kind of a strange ordering signal you have to give before anyone will come talk to the table...everyone has to close their menus and put them down. It seemed kind of silly because then we had to just open them again when we were ordering!

It was also once of the only places I'd been in all day with free restrooms. I have a whole new appreciation for the free public facilities back home!

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