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Rachel’s Post: The Greatest Ship: A Mostly True Story

I will tell you a story.  It’s a true story and it happened a long, long time ago.

The story starts on the coast of Sweden, in the capital called Stockholm.  At the time, the country was ruled by a ferocious and powerful king named Gustavus Adolphus. Because of his reputation, he went by “The Lion of the North” for short.  Gustav had a hankering to rule the world.  He was doing pretty well taking over Nordic countries like Norway and Denmark until 1628, when he made one fateful mistake.  Gustavo had been so successful in the past building up naval fleets, taking over small countries and kicking dogs, that he decided over herring and vodka at dinner to build a mighty boat.

This wasn’t going to be a small fishing charter, or even a pleasure cruise for eating mackerel buffets.  This was going to be the largest and most powerful ship ever built.  It would defy God by having not one, but two cannon decks on board.  He designed it himself, then expertly delegated the construction to some guys who had the word, “Viking” on their resume.  The mighty ship was assembled exactly according to the design.  Gustavo named it the “Vasa” which means something like “really oversized wooden donkey” in Swedish.

Finally the day to set sail had come.  Gustav could hardly sleep the night before, because he was so excited to take over the world in his sailing donkey.  Of course, he would stay at home during the conquest and let his minions actually do the “taking over the world” part.  When they returned victorious, he would take all the credit. Continue Reading…

The flights to, arrival, and exploration of Stockholm


I got on the plane to London from Chicago at 8:05 Sunday night.  I was able to get a Emergency Exit seat, which makes Robert a happy camper with leg room on eight hour flights.  I sat next to Al and Kathy, who both work for the Olympics.  Pretty cool.  Al was an Aussie and Kathy was a Brit.  We discussed accents and our respective careers.  It was a peaceful flight over.


In London, I met Rachel… or she met me with a tackle hug from the back.  We hopped on our flight to Stockholm with the goal to not fall asleep.  We both had our copies of Rick Steve’s Scandinavia out and were trying to soak up as much knowledge as possible before we were actually in Scandinavia.

They had wifi on the high speed train:

I don’t drink coffee:

Stockholm is made up of 14 islands, which help make it ridiculously beautiful.  The streets are cobblestone and all of the buildings are four or five stories tall creating all of these alleyways.  When you look down a major alleyway you can usually see water.  Well, that is how it is on our island, Galma Stan, which is where the entire original town was.  I found a neat hostel online that had rooms with only two beds and is the nicest and cleanest hostel in which I’ve stayed.  The room was a little cozy though. Continue Reading…

Rachel’s Post: Safe & Sound in Stockholm

Everything you already know about Sweden is true.

Yes, everyone really is blonde (and beautiful).

Yes, all furniture is made at IKEA.
Yes, they really do offer Swedish meatballs in every restaurant.

We arrived in Stockholm after 15 hours of travel. My body is violently rejecting the notion that it has been hurtled forward through multiple timezones. Just add 7 hours to your current time, and youll find us, living in the future.

We are staying at a hostel, built in 1747, on the island neighborhood of Gamla Stan, where “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series takes place. Stockholm is actually a series of 14 islands, connected by bridges. Each island has it’s own unique flavor (Imagine Central Park, Brooklyn, Edinburgh, and Tokyo all in one city). Continue Reading…

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