Vasa Museum

The Vasa Museum is by far the most outstanding museum I visited on a recent trip thru Scandinavia. According to the museum guide the Vasa Museum has had over 25 million visitors and is far and away the most visited museum in all of Scandinavia. Upon entering the parking lot our tour guide noted that the real hot spot the could cause world war III was the parking lot for your buses, vans and taxis. Apparently some very heated arguments arise over parking due to the popularity of the museum.The Vasa Bow By Stupid Vacations

After entering the museum, it is so modern looking and there were over two hundred architects vied for the chance to have their designs chosen. It is a very interesting museum from the outside, but the most impressive, breathtaking first view of the Vasa is incredible.

To consider that a warship of this size – 226 feet in length armament – 64 cannons – that launched in 1628, and sank less than an hour later, has been preserved and restored for all to see is way beyond any superlative I can come up with.

Referred to by some of the workers as the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle, it is again amazing that they claim to have 97 percent of the original pieces. The have over the course of 30 plus years figured out how to protect the original parts so they can be seen by future generations.

The ship on its maiden voyage sailed about 1400 feet, fell over and sank. The bronze cannons were recovered and the rest was left to the sea. Luckily, as I understood the speaker, the mud was a low oxygen content so the ship was preserved. In the early 1960’s recovery started and the results are now available for all to see.Broadside Vasa - By Stupid Vacations

The question arises – What is so important about a ship with such poor engineering that it immediately sank? – Well I asked that question and was informed of a different point of view. Yes, the ship design is not one that will be used as the blueprint for a duplicate. The Vasa does give us pure insight into the building styles, and other construction techniques, that might have never been able to be examined with our eyes of today. I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say that there are not many boats avail to examine that were built in 1628.

This museum is a definite must see when you are in Stockholm. Don’t miss this one. Oh yes, do your homework on the web prior to arrival to minimize the overwhelm when viewing this fabulous artifact in person. The Vasa - Stupid Vacations

Gullfoss Waterfalls

The Gullfoss Waterfalls outside Reykjavik, are a few steps beyond impressive. We arrived on the site near the fall where there is a small shop, a restaurant, and a post office box. There is a medium sized parking lot and lots of tour buses and cars and vans and more with a line of people walking up to the viewing area. There is a fork in the road, with one path leading up to the upper falls and it looked like a single file line that stretched to whole way, maybe almost a mile, and it seemed never ending. People coming and going to get a couple minutes with a close up view and a few photos.
The alternate path went down several large stairways with viewing platforms along the way. Visitors were warned to remember that what goes down must come up. And for the average age group of the visitors, going up would be taxing.
The scope of the falls is near impossible to get from a picture. Saying the falls are huge, or gigantic, or even ginormous do not do them justice. Having visited Niagara Falls last year and completely enjoying their grandeur, I must report that Niagara has a longer drop, while Gullfoss has a wider span with a two tiered drop. Now depending on which one you visited lately, might sway your opinion. Also depending upon your heritage you might vote for one over the other. Additionally the event surrounding your visit, like a proposal or honeymoon, might cloud your objectivity in choosing the greatest of the two.
Rather that take sides I will say the the people of Iceland are sure that Gullfoss is greater than Niagara and while I was looking at the falls I agreed with them.
Today, after consideration and much thought, I will declare that they are both knockouts for beauty and impressiveness. Definitely a must see, both of them.

The Curious Condors of Navajo Bridge

Charley Carlin - Curious Condors

Curious Condors of Navajo Bridge

On a beautiful warm August afternoon we had been admiring the southern part of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Such a beautiful display of colors. It was a feast for the eyes and the imagination. Luckily the road was open, as the rains from the previous days had closed the road with car sized boulders being washed into the highway. The ability of water to move huge rocks is amazing. My the forces of mother nature are incredible. We were on the north side of the Grand Canyon and the crossings of the great canyon and the Colorado river are few. Continue reading

Little Museums Everywhere!

Finding little museums, be they shrines, oddities, overlooks, monuments, or restaurants is definitely one of the passions of travel for me. The story telling goes on and on about many of these places, so lets look around the country at a few interesting places that may have not yet made it to your bucket list, your fun list, or your lets just go have an adventure list. So here I will share a bit of bling from the YELP reviews I have written about some of the places I / we have been.

A Group of Little Museums – Go See Them All!

Our set of  Yelp Reviews – All by Charley Carlin
(And yes – I have been to all of these places and many more – Note these Little Museums are recommended by Stupid Vacations)

Titan Missile Museum

At the Titan Missile Museum

At the Titan Missile Museum

In the desert outside of Sahurita, Arizona beneath the cactus lies the only remaining Titan Missile silo in the US. Once a part of the nuclear deterrent system, as they call it. The site contains a Titan Missile in the upright position and the full control system used to govern the process of nuclear missile launch. Before you get to the tour, Continue reading

Desert View Tower

Desert View Tower

near Jacumba, CA in the far south of southern CA

I love oddities and this place qualifies. When traveling across the wide open spaces of the desert I believe it is always good to stop at overlooks, stretch a bit, and take a few pictures. Well this place is right on the verge of strange. In te almost middle of nowhere on the top of a ridge is a tower that as been constructed with local rock and a bit of who knows what else.

It will coast $4.50 to go up into the tower and I am happy to give these people some change to keep things like this going into the future. There is a collection of what some would call junk as you go up the tower, but as the host said go on up and poke around. the view from the tower stretches for a real long ways and is fun to get those pictures and see Continue reading

Telles Family Shrine

IMG_20131107_120735Shrine of the Telles Family

After leaving the Tumacacori National Historic Park near Tubac, Arizona (more about that in another post) we turned south on US Highway 19 towards Rio Rico eager to catch a cutoff tip we had received from the Park Ranger who was ever so polite, helpful and full of stories.

We caught the cutoff and reconnected to New Mexico Highway 82 towards Patagonia and then on to Benson to get back on to US Highway 10 to continue our jaunt to Anet’s sisters place in Silver City, New Mexico.

As we travel it is our habit to Continue reading