A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

All about a boat

October 7, 2009
Emilie Phillips

Tuesday, Tyson and I were on our own in Stockholm. The plan was to go to a couple of museums downtown and then meet up with Henrik and Anna for dinner.

We started at the Vasa museum. Again everything was in Swedish and English, so we didn’t have any problems understanding the displays. The Vasa was built in 1628 to fight in a war against Poland and to show off what a sophisticated and powerful country Sweden was. (To some extent that could be debated since they imported most of the artists who worked on the ship, and they were only trying to control the Baltic while the rest of Europe was trying to colonize the world.) The story of the Vasa mirrors modern corporate life fairly well. Marketting promised more than engineering could deliver — the boat designer had never built a ship with two gun decks. The customer changed specs in the middle — the king asked for bigger cannons. The project ran late and over budget. And eventually management decided that they needed to ship something even if it wasn’t quite working — the king demanded his ship even though early stability tests with 30 men running back and forth on deck almost tipped it over. And the net result was that after putting cargo and 300 people on the ship, it hoisted a few sails, heeled over, and sank.

So this whole museum was dedicated to this boat they hauled back out of the harbor and all the stuff they found in it and what that said about life at the time. We had originally planned to only spend the morning there, but we got engrossed until 3:30 by which point it was too late to visit any other museums. So we wandered around town for a bit and sat on a bench at the waterside.

That evening we met up with Henrik and Anna at one of the nicer restaurants in town. I had not had a proper multi-course meal in a while. I might need to put that on my list of things to splurge on. The good wine with every course definitely didn’t hurt. It was a fun way to end the trip.