Warnemunde to Stockholm: 474 Nautical Miles
Local Information: About 22 percent of Sweden’s population lives in the Stockholm Metropolitan Area with about 900,000 people living in the city of Stockholm. Stockholm is situated on 14 islands spanned by over 50 bridges. The city is located where Lake Malaren meats the Baltic Sea (there is a lock to equalize water levels).
A strange day in Stockholm…
I knew something was amiss when I heard the bow thrusters engage about 3:45 AM, followed by the dropping of the anchors a few minutes later. I knew we weren’t due in Stockholm until about 7 AM. Outside, there was just the Baltic with an island or two visible. The ship started moving again about 6:00 AM.
Rough Seas – We are not in Stockholm
After getting some breakfast among the bewildered passengers, we checked with ShorEx about today’s tours but they were busy and couldn’t tell us anything.
The Captain came on the PA systems and indicated that high winds prevented the Constellation from navigating the Stockholm Archipelago and that the ship was being diverted to the nearby resort town of Nynashamn. This would require the use of the ship’s tenders to get to the shore. The tour buses had been summoned from Stockholm and would start tours from Nynashamn.
I picked up my tour group - “Stockholm Highlights and Sigtuna” – in the Celebrity Theater and we tendered to shore. The ride was about 10 minutes and the seas were relatively calm.
Tendering to Shore
Our tour guide, Cedric (who spoke perfect English and spent some time in Ohio), indicated that we would not be able to go to Sigtuna (out of the way) but that it would take us about 30 minutes to get to Stockholm. Our tour would now include visits to the City Hall, the Vasa Museum, and the Palace. The ride to Stockholm gave us a chance to see the countryside.
Soon, were treated to a great view of Stockholm.
On our way to the City Hall, we drove through the island of Sondermalm.
Shops on Sondermalm Island
This island, a favorite with the fun crowd, is where the main characters in the Millennium Trilogy, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, live and have their adventures.
On our way to the City Hall, we passed by the Nobel Explosives Laboratory
This lab is where Alfred Nobel and his scientists worked out the formula for dynamite – some of their experiments proved fatal, with one explosion killing Alfred’s brother, Emil.
The City Hall is a favorite stop when touring Stockholm – this is where the Nobel Prize Award Ball is held. We got our first glimpse of the building from across one of the canals. The tower containing the Swedish National Symbol, “The Three Crowns”, at its apex, is clearly visible.
The bus parked a block away from the City Hall and we walked through the grounds to the entrance.
Above: City Hall Grounds
The Blue Hall is the site of the Nobel Prize Dinner and Ball. It is called the Blue Hall because it was originally going to contain blue tiles covering the walls. This design was never used. The pipe organ in the Blue Hall is the largest in Scandinavia.
The Blue Hall
Up the stairs from the Blue Hall we entered the Golden Hall, a room containing more than 18 million tiles. The mosaics describe events in Swedish History.
The Golden Hall
The Ericsson Globe is the largest hemispheric structure in the world and is also the Sun in a massive solar system model found in Sweden. The planets are scattered throughout the country.
Leaving the City Hall, the tour headed to the Vasa Museum. On the way, I spot a familiar eatery and license plate.
We also get a nice view of Lake Malaren (below).
Stockholm Opera House
The Vasa Museum is easy to spot with the masts of the Vasa Warship protruding from the roof.
The Vasa Warship finished in 1628 only sailed about 2 km before a strong wind flipped the ship on its side. The ship, built to exceed the specifications of the ship being built by the Danish King, had too many decks and too many cannons to maintain stability. It sat in the water about 300 years before being recovered, dried out with ethylene glycol, and placed in the museum. It was a case of “The Big Ship that Couldn’t”.
The Vasa Warship
I found some Wi-Fi in the museum and was able to catch up on e-mails.
The tour next took us to the Palace Complex in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) where we had about an hour free time. That would have been nice except for the cold wind that dropped the air temperatures. My goal was to stay out of the wind as much as possible.
The Stockholm Cathedral – the site of Royal Events (coronations, weddings, and funerals) dates back to 1279. The Obelisk – from 1788 – honors the Merchant Class of Stockholm, who supported the Monarchy in the war with Russia.
Stockholm Cathedral and Obelisk
The Royal Palace, completed in 1754, was undergoing some type of repair in the front entrance. I took a picture of the inner walls of the palace.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Family does not live there anymore because they wanted their children to have a more normal life.
I missed the Changing of the Guards but Ellen captured the event on her tour.
Changing of the Guards
Walking down from the Palace Square toward the harbor, I noted the statue of King Gustav III (lots of Gustavs).
King Gustav III Statue
In the time remaining, I walked into the Central Square of the Old Town. There I found the Swedish Academy Building – where the Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded.
An elaborate fountain can be found in the center of the square. This is actually a well.
Down one of the side streets of Gamla Stan, I found a statue of St. George slaying the Dragon.
The Well (top); St. George and the Dragon
The group assembled at the Obelisk and soon the bus was on its way back to the ship. Cedric did a very nice things on the way back – he stopped narrating and put on a CD of ABBA’s greatest hits. I can’t think of a more relaxing end to a hectic day.
I was able to get a picture of the Constellation at anchor in the distance.
Celebrity Constellation at Anchor
All the tours returned to the port at about the same time so the queue for the tenders was pretty long. The tender ride back was smooth.
Tendering back to the ship
After dinner in the San Marco Dining Room, the rest of the evening was spent relaxing from the long day in Stockholm.
Pedometer : 3112 steps; 1.47 miles; 170 calories; 0:34