The Port of Stockholm is one of the major ports in Scandinavia. It is a major gateway into Sweden. Many ferries and cruise ships dock at the southern end of the Old Town. When we were there most of the water was icescuffed but we could see still some ships operating from this part of town.
One of the most popular ways to get around Stockholm is to go sightseeing via Hop-On Hop-Off boats. they offer convenient access to top attractions like: Gamla Stan, The Royal Palace, the shopping district near Nybroplan, Vasa Museum, the museums on Skeppsholmen and the open-air museum, Skansen. So it’s something you can consider in summer. Make sure you don’t make the same mistake we did (because of lack of time) and visit Vasa Museum with the impressive Vasa warship! I will have to go back if only for that!
And now this a place to mention the Swedish Vikings! There is a distinction between “Swedish” and “Danish/Norwegian” Vikings. The Danish and Norwegian expeditions went westwards, concentrating on Western Europe and England. The Swedish, on the other hand, went mostly eastwards into modern-day Russia and further on to Byzantium and the Caliphate. According to a chronicle written in the 12th century AD, the Swedish Vikings were the founders of Russia. Although this is not very likely, the influence of the Vikings is still visible. The name Russia for instance, probably originates from one of the names of the Swedish Vikings, “ruser”.
According to Nordic mythology the gods lived in Asgård, the humans in Midgård, and the giants in Jotunheim. These places were situated in the world tree, the ash tree Yggdrasil. The most important god was Oden, the lord of gods and humans. After battles, he took the fallen Vikings to Valhall (is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard) on his horse Sleipner. In Valhalla, the dead join the masses of those who have died in combat as well as various legendary Germanic heroes and kings, as they prepare to aid Odin during the events of Ragnarök. Before the hall stands the golden tree Glasir, and the hall’s ceiling is covered with golden shields.
Other gods were Frö, the god of love and fertility and Fröja, the goddess of love and fertility.
The perhaps most famous among the gods is Tor the mightiest warrior of them all. He was the god of thunder and had a hammer called Mjölner which, like a boomerang, returned to his hand after he had thrown it.
And at the end of this post I would like to mentioned that we met Popeye the sailor man in the heart of Gambla Stan, who might have thought…
For those who don’t know him, Popeye the Sailor is a cartoon fictional character. Local folklore in Chester, Illinois, Segar’s hometown, claims that Popeye is based on Frank “Rocky” Fiegel, a man who was handy with his fists. Culturally, many consider Popeye a precursor to the superheroes who would eventually come to dominate the world of comic books. One of Popeye’s catchphrases is “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam,” In the story eating spinach gives Popeye enormous strenght, what serves as a role model for healthier eating but also saved spinach industry in US.