Stockholm Journal: Day 4 – Abba Museum!

Today was the first day I had all to myself and I took full advantage of it. I slept in, then went to my new hotel, then took myself out walking all over the city. My new hotel is in Vasastan, which is totally modern (well, mostly – some buildings look old but it’s very contemporary and commercial). I took the train – btw, the subway stations are nutty. They’re themed and the raw rock is painted in different ways. This picture sucks but it does demonstrate the De Chirico-esque theme of one of the stations.

[Btw, I've ridden subways in Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Washington D.C., London, Munich, Paris, Portland, and Busan, South Korea and none of them are as confusing as the subway is in Stockholm. The subway signs don't tell you which areas of the city you're going to and every other map I looked at also seemed to be missing some critical piece of information that would have helped me to cross-reference the city's layout with the subway lines. I can only attribute this craziness to this nation's Viking ancestors who didn't use maps and instead used to navigate the seas using nothing but the sun and their memories. The entire transit system was seriously pissing me off.]

Anyway, eventually I got to an area recommended to me by one of the Paradox people for its cherry blossoms and even though I come from a place that holds a cherry blossom festival every year, it was still kinda cool.

This area used to be the royal gardens – as in, closed to peasantish, low-born oafs like you and me. Queen Cristina had a summer house just off this area – eventually nobles were allowed to walk around the gardens and then in the late 1800′s, the gardens were thrown wide and the whole public was let in. Personally, I would have drawn the line at TGI Fridays.

One of the most memorable features of this open space (for me anyway) was this public restroom. I loved that this old guy felt perfectly at ease taking a leak with the door not all the way shut behind him, in a crowded public place, in a toilet with eyeballs painted on the outside of it. Yeah, I took a picture of an old guy draining the lizard. What of it?

After soaking up the cherry blossoms, I caught a tram to the Vasa Museum, a place dedicated to the display of a 17th century Swedish royal ship that sank the day it was launched. It took a tremendous amount of work to raise it, but raise it they did. Look at this thing! You can’t get a sense of it without being right next to it. It’s huuuuuuge.

The museum’s full of other exhibits too, skeletons of the dead and relics rescued from the ship. It’s pretty amazing. The only baffling thing was this picture of Schwarzennegger as Conan the Barbarian they had hanging on the wall. What that had to do with Swedish royalty or the Vasa, I don’t know.


Mid-way through the museum I ran out of energy and had to grab a bite at the museum’s cafe. Everything being equally expensive and equally unfamiliar, I chose this – a beef brisket sandwich on seed bread with root vegetables. I was down with the beef brisket but the nearly raw carrot/turnip like stuff it had on it was a bit odd. I’ve come to realize the Swedes have very mild taste. Nothing they eat tastes like much of anything and this sandwich was predictably blah. Good thing I had some lingonberry juice to wash it down with.

Next to the Vasa Museum is the Nordisk Museum where they show all kinds of Swedish cultural stuff. In front of its entrance I saw this poster of Strindberg and had to take a selfie. I think I’m doing a fair impression of Helium.

After the Vasa Museum I’d meant to go to the history museum to see the Viking artifacts but then I was reminded that the Abba museum was nearby! It just opened yesterday and frankly, I’m amazed there hasn’t been an Abba museum way before this, considering they’re such a big Swedish deal. It’s located about 10 minutes walking from the Vasa and so although the tickets were scandalously over-priced, I went in.

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life….

The costumes were awesome. These on the other hand, scared the shit out of me.

Before Agnetha and Frida there was Agnetha and me.

In addition to Abba, the museum also celebrates other memorable Swedish talent such as Europe and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Duh-duh DUH duh...Duh-duh DUH DUH DUH...Duh-duh DUH duh...

All in all, the museum is pretty nice and has some interesting interactive exhibits – I think though, it’s a bit chaotic with so much noise and stuff going on and so much to read. If you have the audio tour (which I did) it’s even worse. Top that off with an admission fee that’s beyond ridiculous and you wonder how long the place will last. Ah well. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I guess.

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