Stockholm’s charm was on full display on this precious sunny weekend day. The city’s harbor was teeming with activity, from pleasure boats blasting techno music to dozens of intimidating military ships that assembled the day before to celebrate 500 years of the Swedish Navy. The water level of the harbor dropped a bit during the night, thanks to the departure of the massive USS Kearsage, a powerful instrument of war to send a clear message to Vladimir Putin that Sweden was off limits.

Our morning began with a short Zodiac ride to the Vasa Museum, which features the carefully harvested remains of another awe-inspiring ship, the ill-fated boondoggle that keeled over and sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. The shock of watching that powerful ship sink into the dark waters of the harbor all those years ago might have been akin to seeing the USS Kearsage suddenly tip over and drag all of its mighty cargo under the water.

We then hopped in the Zodiacs for a quick jaunt across the water. Kolonien, a Swedish band, met us and proceeded to entertain us with their fabulous blend of Nordic fiddle tunes, haunting acapella songs about climate change, and up-tempo romps that had our guests clapping furiously, and even inspired some to dance in the aisles. Kolonien charmed everyone with their exceptional performance, funny and moving stories, and irresistible melodies.

The afternoon saw our guests splitting up, some heading off on a walking tour of the lovely Gamla Stan, or old town, which is overflowing with beautiful historic buildings and meandering cobblestone streets. Another group headed to the lovely Millesgården Museum, which highlights the work of the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles and his equally accomplished wife, painter Olga Granner. The group continued their artistic explorations at Fotografiska, one of the world’s greatest photography museums, which features an astounding series of exhibitions of cutting-edge images. It was a magnificent day in Stockholm, leaving no doubt that it deserves its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful and creative cities.