Ships on shores

Col­lec­tions re­call an in­trigu­ing nau­ti­cal history

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT - KA­T­RINA LOB­LEY

TITANICT BELFAST: The world’s largest Ti­tanic v visi­tor at­trac­tion, Ti­tanic Belfast, is clearly do­ing some­thing right — it was voted Europe’s lead­ing visi­tor at­trac­tion at last year’s World Travel Awards. The cen­tre, a tribute to the ill-fated ocean liner and the city that built it, is on the site where about 3000 work­ers laboured on the liner for three years. The strik­ing alu­minium-clad build­ing, de­signed to re­sem­ble four ship hulls, in­cludes replica cab­ins and in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibits. Vis­i­tors can fol­low the var­i­ous stages of Ti­tanic’s con­struc­tion by rid­ing the in­door ca­ble car. And if you want to get a feel for the ship’s ac­tual size, walk the length of the painted out­line on the ground out­side the cen­tre. Also out­side (and in­cluded in the ad­mis­sion price) is SS No­madic, the ten­der that fer­ried pas­sen­gers to Ti­tanic and the last sur­viv­ing White Star Line ves­sel. More: ti­tan­ic­belfast.com.

VASAV MU­SEUM, STOCK­HOLM: The royal flag­ship Vasa was meant to raise the bar when it came to war­ship de­sign. In­stead, the elab­o­rate float­ing fortress sank in 1628 af­ter it was launched amid great fan­fare in Stock­holm (most of those aboard sur­vived but 30 peo­ple died). Faulty de­sign put the cen­tre of grav­ity too far above the wa­ter­line, mean­ing even a light breeze could tip the ship. The cap­tain had also al­lowed Vasa to sail with its gun ports open, al­low­ing wa­ter to pour in when it did teeter over thanks to a gust of wind. Af­ter be­ing sal­vaged in 1961, Vasa, the world’s only pre­served 17th-cen­tury ship, was housed at the Wasa Shipyard be­fore re­lo­cat­ing to its own strik­ing mu­seum, com­plete with masts pok­ing sky­wards. Scan­di­navia’s most pop­u­lar mu­seum in­cludes some of the es­ti­mated 30,000 ob­jects, such as coins, but­tons and tools, that arche­ol­o­gists re­trieved from the wreck. More: vasamuseet.se.

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