The $20 Dollar Cheeseburger

No, this is not a Carl’s Jr. style advertisement. No sexy women dripping ketchup from their burger. Today, we went to the Vasa warship museum. I had seen the Vasa some 30 years ago when it had just gone on display and the museum curators were still working on stabilizing the 300 year-old wood. The ship was in a huge hall behind glass back then. Now, the ship is fully preserved and is free standing in the middle of the museum. You can walk all around it and there are 3 viewing floors. It is spectacular! Think of the Black Pearl in Pirates of the Caribbean. Really. The film

makers studied the Vasa warship and used it as their inspiration. Of course, this fact completely hooked Justin. Even without that little tidbit of information, however, anyone walking into that museum is ‘hooked’ by the sight of this ship. It’s 60 meters long, two rows of below-deck cannon ports, and over 60 cannon placem

ents. 200 plus carvings and sculptures adorn the ship. It looms large and black in the space, glistening from the preservative used on the wood. The side galleries on the floors tell of ship life, history of 1628, skeletons found in the ship, how it was raised. Besides the city of Stockholm itself, this is easily the coolest thing to see here. Even the museum café is cool. You sit on a terrace overlooking one of the many harbor areas with varied vintage ships moored to the

docks, a steady stream of tourists – and Stockholmers to watch. We are on the open-air “park island” of the city and people stroll the waterfront promenade on their way to and from the 4 other nearby attractions.

If you did not know, the Vasa was the greatest European warship of its time, but it sank 20 minutes into its maiden voyage. It was top heavy and gusty winds tipped it sideways enabling water to pour into the open gun ports, sinking the ship in the middle of Stockholm’s harbor.

Per found us and we went on to our next little adventure. We took a car ride, convertible top down through Stockholm. Per drives an Audi A4 Quattro he bought in Latvia. Per has a very good Latvian friend and apparently things are much cheaper in Riga. Per says Russians like to give new things to their ‘girlfriends’ and the market for upscale, used baubles like Audi A4s is quite glutted and prices are a steal. As we came out of the Wasa museum, Per was on the line with the Swedish DMV working on the ownership transfer papers from Latvia. Gauging his face, DMV Sweden has the same customer service as DMV California.

Destination was Haga Park, where the Crown Princess lives with her newborn daughter, the first in the Next Generation of Royals and therefore destined to be the future queen of Sweden. But of course, you all have been reading the German version of People and have seen all the photos. Quite the high society story this year. We did not see the

palace, but we did walk around the iron fence with the security cameras. Everything outside the fenced area is quite open to the public, and very scenic. Wide lawns, old oak trees, wide walking paths, beautiful water vistas, and always green, green, green. Reason for going to Haga was that Jordan had a tennis date with a friend of Kirsi. Jordan got an hour of tennis in on a clay court. Justin got to suck on beer infused limes with me, Per, and 3 of his buddies who showed up. We were drinking Coronas. I told the guys about the Corona ‘change your latitude commercials.’ I think I changed my latitude in the wrong direction – drinking Corona at Latitude 60 degrees north means foregoing the palm trees and warm weather. They were having a guys night out, and they insisted we were not cramping the vibe, so after Jordan was done, we walked to O’Leary’s Sports Bar and Restaurant.

Think Irish pub meets Dave and Buster’s with ribs as the signature dish and BBQ sauce on all the tables. This is a chain, and it was done well, meaning we could have been back in the states. Thus, the $20.00 cheeseburger. Ambiance costs money. All those Larry Bird and Tom Brady posters on the walls, the imported Sam Adams on tap. Irony is, of course, that we were paying a premium to feel like we were not in Sweden, but rather Boston. Ah well, go with the flow, do what the locals want to do. Really, we did have a nice dinner; these guys were very enjoyable to be around. The game part was downstairs – 9 lanes

of disco bowling, a computer car racing room, pool tables, air hockey, basketball shoot, etc. We played pool, air hockey and shot hoops.

And to top the day off, Per asked me to be the godfather for his oldest daughter and stand with her at her confirmation at the church on Saturday. I am honored. I still don’t know which protestant religion the church is, however…

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