Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011 – Stockholm, Sweden – Sunny – 68F

Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden: 684 Nautical Miles

A beautiful day in the Baltic Sea…

The weather continues to be absolutely gorgeous.

Stockholm Sail In 1 (Small) Stockholm Sail In (Small)

The sail in consists of navigating the 24,000 islands of the Stockholm Archipelago.  These islands contain 50,000 summer homes that can only be reached by boat.

Stockholm, founded in 1252 as a fort to combat pirates, consists of 14 islands connected by over 50 bridges and has a population of 1.65 million people.  The city is on the east coast of the country where the Baltic Sea converges with Lake Malaren. Although a member of the European Union, Sweden has not adopted the Euro as its currency.

Our tour today - “Stockholm Beauty by Water and Land” gets underway a bit late at 9:45 PM.  Our first and only stop is at the boat dock to board our waterway tour of Stockholm.  It is interesting to note that this water tour is on the Baltic Sea because Stockholm is an island city on this body of water.  There is a series of locks that connect the Baltic to Lake Malaren but we did not pass through any of the locks systems today.

 Water Tour (Small) Water Tour1 (Small) Water Tour 2 (Small) Sailboat on Water (Small)

Besides our ship, a number of ferries are docked at our pier.  These ferries go to Finland and Estonia.  On our tour today, we came across a Japanese Cruise Ship – Asuka II – a long way from home (below).

Asuka II Cruise Ship (Small) Locks on the Baltic (Small)

One of the locks on the Baltic portion

Water Tour 3 (Small) Water Tour 4 (Small) Water Tour 5 (Small)

One of the homes (below) along the water was once the home of a Swedish Prince and his wife, a Romanov princess.  They divorced during one of the wars and now this building houses the Italian Embassy.

Home of Prince and Romanov wife (Small) Identical Boat to ours (Small)

A tour boat just like ours

 Windmill no sails (Small)

A windmill without blades

Giraffe Crane (Small)

A crane camouflaged as a giraffe

Amusement Park (Small)

An amusement park on the water

Water Tour 6 (Small)

From the boat, we were able to get a look at the Royal Palace (below).  The King and Queen and their three children do not live here but they do come here to do some work.  At the beginning of the tour, the Swedish Flag was not flying over the palace indicating that no one from the Royal Family was home.  By the end of the tour, the flag was up.

Royal Palace (Small) Water Tour 7 (Small)

Another interesting site was the Vasa Museum (below).  This is a museum constructed around the Vasa, a Flagship Warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 during the Thirty Years War.  It was salvaged and restored in the 1960s.  You can see the masts sticking out of the roof.

Another impressive building visible from the Baltic was the Nordic Museum (far below).

Wasa Museum (Small) 

Nordic Museum (Small)

The water portion of the tour was supposed to run about an hour but I think it came up a little short.  Back on the bus, we passed a statue on one of the many bridges that looked a lot like Mercury (or Norse equivalent).

Mercury maybe (Small)

We also confirmed that no matter where you travel, you will always feel at home because there is always a McDonalds nearby (below).

We also drove past the pedestrian walkway (far below).

McD everywhere (Small) Pedestrian walkway (Small)

The tour next went to Gamla Stan, the oldest part of Stockholm.  Buildings here are from the 14th through 19th Centuries.  The City Hall (Stadshuset) (below) (built in 1923) using over 8 million bricks, hosts the Nobel Prize Banquet in December.

Nobel Party Venue (Small)

We drove past the statue of Gustav Vasa (below), the founder of Sweden in 1523 (freedom from Denmark).

Statue of Founder of Stockholm (Small) 

Locks bw Baltic and L Marme (Small)

Locks connecting the Baltic and Lake Malaren

The former kings and queens of Sweden are all buried in the Riddarholms Church, which has served as the Royal Mausoleum for over 400 years (below).

Royal Church of the Burials (Small)

We drove past another statue of Gustav Vasa (below).

Gustav Statue (Small)

The old parliament building is shown below.  It is not used for this purpose now since the government has outgrown the facility – it seemed like a massive structure to me.

Old Parliament Building (Small) National Museum (Small)

The National Museum

 Church behind the Palace (Small) /

Church behind the Royal Palace

Royal Guard (Small)

Royal Palace Guard

Olympic Stadium 1912 (Small)

Stockholm Olympic Stadium (1912)

We opted not to stay in Stockholm and take the shuttle back.  After lunch, I got the best seats in the house for the sail away later this afternoon.

Best seat in the house (Small)

Transiting the entire Stockholm Archipelago takes about three hours but I got the first few minutes on film.

Stockholm Sail Away 1 (Small) Stockholm Sail Away (Small)

Headliner Showtime tonight featured Craig Halliday – Swarovski Electric Violinist – his act featured an electric violin containing 50,000 tiny Swarovski crystals.  He was good and his song selection was also good including the theme from “Ladies in Lavender” (Judy Dench and Maggie Smith movie) (with movie scenes in the background while he played).

Before the show, I captured a great sunset over the archipelago

 Stockholm Sunset 1 (Small)

Forward time change tonight so our evening was done. 

Seas still smooth…

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