Similar to Forrest Gump's box of chocolates philosophy on life is how I feel about museums. The chocolates look good on the outside but I don't usually care for what's on the inside. Time in most museums for me is like blindly choosing the tempting round, dark chocolate one in the box only to bite into the gross-flavored, jellied center. I'll eat it if I started it but wish I could just put it back in the box. Museums are not typically my thing. At this point I need another Viking ship museum like I need a hole in the head. But I figured there must be some reason all-the-world's museum doors stay open aside from being a good rainy day activity. I wasn't willing to give up on them yet.
Everyday in Stockholm I passed by the Vasa Museum in the harbor. With a steady stride and a fixed gaze ahead, I would walk by trying not to hurt its feelings. Then on my last day there, I broke. I had heard enough about its main attraction status that I anteed up to bypass any regret. Boy did I misjudge this place. I was wowed with my first step in the door by a massive wooden ship almost as big as a football field. This is the Vasa; an early 1600's, meticulously adorned, several hundred passenger ship that sank in the Stockholm harbor after sailing just 1500 meters. It was like the Titanic of its day. Many passengers died and the ship lied at the bottom of the harbor for over 330 years. In the 1960's the ship was resurrected with so much amazingly intact. 98% of the original ship was salvageable. Items that were buried in the silt gave life to that time period. I was actually fa-sci-na-ted. And shameful that I expected some kind of nougat and nuts center.
My museum epiphanies continued during my brief stay in Oslo with the... Mini Bottle Museum! Shockingly the only one in the world! A showcase of over 12,000 mini bottles (a fraction of the roughly 50,000 in the private collection) is available for your viewing enjoyment via kitschy display and themed rooms. Come! On! That is museum gold! A caramel middle if I've ever seen one. The mini bottle chandeliers, hot pink burlesque bathroom, and decor in the old-school parlor were the bonus cookie crunch. And although sadly the museum rooms were closed at the time I was there, the friendly bartender, Linn, who chatted and kept me company as I sat next to the cozy fireplace without another customer in the joint, snuck me into the museum so I wouldn't go home without a picture in their signature miniaturizing Absolut bottle. It was like an entire box of the most gratifying cherry cordials.
So I stay optimistic about future fun, not-your-run-of-the-mill museum visits. The Vasa Museum was a great ending to my time in Sweden. On a trip like this, you never know what you're gonna get!
The stunning 17th century Vasa ship salvaged from Stockholm's harbor
Intricate carvings all around the ship
The bar at the Mini Bottle Museum lined with... mini bottles! Kind of fun to look at them all!
How great is this chandelier?
A cozy, mini bottle decorated hangout on a chilly, rainy night
In the museum's Absolut bottle after hours!