THE old and the new, two things I'd like to see in the new place I visit. I get these at the local church for the old, the older the better, and a modern art museum. Maritime museums are just not my thing, but for this instance, I had to make an exception (like breaking the no-meat diet for the meatballs. Score 2 for Sweden!)

If there is one stop one shouldn't miss in the Stockholm it should be the Vasa Museum, aka the Vasamuseet, on the island of Djugarden where the locals' favorite recreation areas and tourist destination are. The island is said to attract over 10 million visitors per year, half of which come to visit the museums and amusement park, and the Vasa Museum's share of the lot would be more than a million annually.

The star of the 1990-inaugurated museum is a 17th Viking ship, Vasa, exhibited under the mast-like copper roof looking like a fully rigged ship, the height of which is exactly like of the Vasa's.

The 64-gun warship was located off the Stockholm harbor in the 1950s after it sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Salvaged with a largely intact hull in 1961, the Vasa was temporarily housed in the Wasavarvet (The Wasa Shipyard) then moved to its permanent home in Stockholm in 1988. Since its recovery it became one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions.

Close your eyes and imagine you feel the beating of the waves against the ship's hull. It must have an amazing adventure for these seafarers.

In all its grandeur, the Vasa can be viewed from all six levels of the museum, from the keel to the stern. The ship has been refitted with its missing parts and damaged sections replaced, which was retained untreated to contrast with the finish of the original material darkened by three centuries under water.

Along the different floors of Vasamuseet are exhibits with information to the ship's history and construction.

You may be a fan of the Abba (a museum was built in their honor in the same area), but must check this place out. It will broaden your knowledge as to how the Vikings lorded the high seas before their descendants in the modern era conquered the airwaves. Can you feel the beat from the tambourine?

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