Ice Bar, Old Town & Vasa

We left for our tour Ice Bar, Old Town & Vasa early today as we will only be spending about 7 hours in port.  Our first stop was the Stockholm ICEBAR at the Nordic Hotel.  We had been reading about this place in magazines for several months and were excited to finally get to visit it firsthand.  Upon entering the facility the first thing we noticed is the blue hue emitting from the ICEBAR itself.  The bar looked pretty cool, even from the outside.

We had a reservation to enter the ICEBAR at a specific time due to capacity limitations and controlled visit time.  When it was our time to enter, we were fitted with oversized cold weather ponchos before being led inside.  Entering the bar requires going through a double set of doors which provide a barrier to keep the cold air inside.  The temperature in the ICEBAR is kept close to 23 degrees Fahrenheit / -5 Celsius.

Inside the ICEBAR were a variety of chairs, tables, and of course a bar, all made of perfectly clear ice.  Even the glasses we drank out of were nothing but ice that was formed out of water from the Torne River in Northern Sweden.  It’s quite a fascinating experience and certainly one worth indulging in.  We were given a shot glass with a non-alcoholic drink originally as liquor laws prohibit dispensing prior to 11am (we entered at 10:45am).  After milling around a bit, our group slowly disbursed and we were just able to hit that 11am time-slot and get an ice glass of Absolut prior to heading back to the bus.

The next part of the excursion took us through the city of Stockholm seeing Stortorget the old public square, the old Stock Exchange, the Great Square and several other sites before exiting at the Old Town of Gamla Stan.  At this stop we were given an hour of free time to wonder about the city.  Not having researched the port for things to do, we came up with the idea ‘Let’s have Swedish Meatballs while in Sweden’.  With that notion we found the Cultur Bar & Restaurant at Österlånggatan 34. After a 20 minute wait, we were greeted with our bounty consisting of the Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, cranberries and pickles.  It was all very tasty.

After lunch we began making our way back to the bus.  It turned out to be quite a walk with a good many twists and turns.  We happened upon the Alley of Marten Trotzig Marten Trotzigs Grand where the steps narrow down to 35 inches and are considered the skinniest street in Stockholm.  In our quest to not miss our bus, we stumbled upon a Swedish blonde haired girl out with her pet poodle who aided us in making it back to our meeting place on time.

After gathering back with our tour group, we were now off to the highlight of our day, the Vasa Museum.  The Vasa Museum has on display the very well preserved Swedish warship Vasa, once considered the pride of Sweden’s navy.  The warship actually sank on its maiden voyage just 1300 meters after its launch in 1628 due to a gust of wind that caused the ship to literally tip over.  The extreme weight of the 64 bronze cannons and various other cargo items certainly added to the instability of the great ship.  After 300 hundred years in the sea, the ship was raised in 1961, with over 95% of the original ship being intact.  To see an ancient vessel of such magnitude was simply mesmerizing.  The museum had wonderful replicates of other artifacts, and great vantage points for photo opportunities.

Stockholm is about a one hour drive from the Nynashamn port.  This port used tenders to disembark and embark the ship.

Cruise Port: Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden

Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Lines

Tour Name: Ice Bar, Old Town & Vasa

Tour Operator: Tumlare / Universal Netlink

Steps logged: unknown