Our Impromptu

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May 14 - July 5, 2006: Glueckstadt to Motala/Goetakanal

Here are the pictures of our Isensee/Schuettdamm visit. They are mostly family pictures which reflect our experience, the kindness and warmth with which we have been welcome.

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At Guenter and Waltraut's House in Schuettdamm/Isensee
In their Kitchen
The Dinner Table
Juergen and Johanna - playing
The Driveway Preparation...
Marion with her little Daughter
Susanne - Johanna
Taming Winnetou
Little Cowgirl at Work
At "private" Beach
The "final" good-bye
On the ferry to Glueckstadt
And alongside Impromptu as we get ready to leave

The next ten days, we stayed at Juergen's brother's new house but pretty much worked on getting Impromptu ready for our sailing trip into the Baltic, shopping both boat equipment and, on the last day, food, wine, other beverages. It was amazing to realize that though we had ordered a lot of work to be done during the winter, almost nothing was done and that with an April 1 deadline though we knew that we would never make it by then - purposely giving the yard an additional month time. Our presence of course got things moving - still, the arrangement of different legal entities under one umbrella with no one taking responsibility for the entire project, annoyed me greatly and certainly did not make Juergen too happy. Still, in the end, most of the things got done, some are still outstanding and will be shipped to us (the parts were not available in time - huh??? - after an entire winter of time to order them??? - this is just one story). Juergen polished the sides, I painted the bottom, as usual. You should see the rollers they are using here. They are at most 4 inches long and very skinny. I must say, painting with them looks very nice, but it takes for ever. It is almost impossible to find larger ones though two people, Hannes, our friend who lives in Glueckstadt, and a "boat neighbor" who was working on his boat while I was painting, had pity with me and found some slightly larger rollers for me to paint with. The yard's response to my complaint, the paint job looks so much better with these small rollers... - I must admit it is true, still, I did not want to paint till next Christmas, as someone suggested it would take me if I only painted with these rollers.

Enough of the complaints. We watched the launch of the boat, the stepping of the mast - a first for us. We even videotaped most of the event. Guenter and Waltraud were with us that day and had a good time as well watching all this happen. We also spent a couple of days with the family and certainly most evenings with Guenter and Waltraud and many of them with the larger family. We went to Michi and Uschi's house as well. Michi is Guenter and Waltraut's oldest son. They already have two grown kids. All were there to spend some time with us - it was a very nice evening and a very warm reception. Johanna keeps impressing us with her choice of words, her knowledge, and her presentation. At the proud age of barely 6 1/2 years, she sure seems very mature. She is taking riding lessons and thinks that she can already handle her own horse Winnetou, an  appalousa  pony, very beautiful but young and full of energy. On our last day, before we had to leave for Glueckstadt, she showed us how she can hold Winnetou on a line (I don't know the English term for this, sorry) and make him trot in a circle. Thank God her father, Hannes, was there to ensure that the horse was under his control as well. It was a beautiful sight, particularly since their two other horses, tall black and gorgeous Fresians, were standing by. 

Frank and Marion (Frank is the youngest son in the family) had their first baby in January this year. Marie-Josefine is a cute little girl. It was amazing to watch her grow during those weeks of our presence. On the last day, she smiled at my camera as if she already knew that this was "expected". They are all very happy about the baby, even Johanna who had superpriority in the enlarged family until Marie-Josefine was born.

Everyone had come for a last joint meal, breakfast, then they all accompanied us to Glueckstadt. This meant all had to take the ferry across the river Elbe and then they stood and waited for more than an hour before the lock at Glueckstadt was opened and we could depart. The good-bye was semi-sweet because they all know that we will be back in late August, this time, in Cuxhaven, to ready the boat for our trip either to France for the Dockwise trip to Martinique or, for our sailing trip to St. Lucia via the Canary Islands. Yes, you read correctly, we still have not decided which way to get the boat back. We know we will have to make that decision very soon (early June at the very latest). We are torn between what Juergen wants and his mother's upcoming 100th birthday which would prevent us from sailing. Of course, I still have my doubts about myself in terms of the ocean crossing though all of those who have taken the trip say that it is not that bad weatherwise, but then, with my luck.... We will keep you posted.

May 14, 2006, Sunday

Today is May 14, mother's day. We spent our first night on Impromptu this season. We motored down the Elbe to the Brunsbuettel locks - had to wait for quite a while before we were permitted to enter the lock. By that time, it was 6 p.m. (pleasure craft are permitted only to pass through the Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee Kanal) until approx. 8 p.m. It also had gotten quite a bit colder, and there are not very many places where we would stop on the way. So we decided to go through the lock and tie up to the same dock we tied up in the Fall before going to Glueckstadt. It was a nice peaceful night. We played Backgammon for the first time since last September, had a glass of wine in the cockpit - it got too cold very soon and we continued down below, had our first meal on the boat in a long time - German shrimp, remember, I tried to describe them last year, the very tiny, slightly brownish looking "Nordseekrabben" which we both love so much. Guenter and Waltraud had ensured that we would have a very generous portion thereof, just as they also had given us some of the wonderful cold cuts, bread, etc. We were very tired. The days had been very hectic, the evenings always very pleasant but long, and because the sun rises so early here in the North, we also woke up very early every morning. I mostly woke before 5 a.m. and watched the sun rise (see my photo as an example). We had a very long and peaceful rest and were awakened by the harbor master of Brunsbuettel who charged us Euro 8.70 for the night, approx. $ 11.50 or so.

This morning, we finally unpacked the two large suitcases we had taken aboard (I had unpacked our carry-ons already while the family had been waiting for our departure). We separated things that we want to take back to the US when we fly over for Andrea's wedding in August and those that should stay on Impromptu. It took us way over one hour to accomplish this and to try to put the suitcases together in such a fashion that they use up as little space as possible - it is sort of funny having two large suitcases and a carry-on on a sailboat.... well, not for too long. Thank God, we do not really need the V-berth so this is not a big problem. Still, we will be very happy when we come back just with our two carry-ons, leaving the large suit cases at home in New York.

The weather has turned much colder. Therefore, we only drove to Rendsburg rather than passing the entire canal. We spoke to our friend Sigi, remember him from last year's description? We will meet up with him tomorrow night for dinner. He will also reserve a spot for us in Schilksee, the same harbor we had stayed at last year when we visited with he and his wife Biene (really Sabine). We filled our diesel tank here in Rendsburg where the Diesel price is a "low" Euro 1.27 per litre and are staying at the same dock as last year. The harbor master claimed that he remembered us from last year. Well, there are not that many boats from the US passing through.

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Rendsburg Church at sunset
A field near Kiel

May 25, 2006

It is Sid's, Silvi's, and Sofia's birthday today. We talked to the adults already and are getting ready to call Sofia as well. What a coincidence for three family members to be born on the same day, just different years. We are in Stralsund, a beautifully restored harbor town in the Baltic, part of the former East Germany. We arrived yesterday after a rather interesting trip. More about this later. I will start my report in consecutive order. Otherwise, it gets too confusing.

As you know, we left Glueckstadt on May 13 and only went through the first lock in the Kiel Canal. The next day, the weather was anything but great. So we took our time to unpack all four suitcases and to re-pack whatever needs to go back to the US and packed whatever needed to stay on Impromptu. Around 11 a.m. we finally went on our way and decided already then that we would again stop in Rendsburg, the town we had stopped in on our very first canal crossing last year in August. It was very windy, rainy and freezing. We had a leisurely dinner on the boat, enjoyed the warmth of our WEBASTO heater - which meanwhile decided not to work any more. We hope to get it fixed tomorrow. Juergen just found an address here in Stralsund...

On May 15, we took the relatively short trip to Kiel - Schilksee, where we met with Sigi around 5 p.m. He invited us to his house, cooked white asparagus - we were in seventh heaven as this is more than a delicacy which only is available in a very short period of time, i.e., from around mid May to around June 20th, if I remember exactly. Hannah joined as well. We had a great evening with terrific food, wine and conversation. Sigi also showed us wonderful pictures of his 10-day hike through the Sahara - what an experience! We are intrigued to do this ourselves at some point. On Tuesday, we took it very easy. The weather was terrible, cold, windy, rainy. In the afternoon, Sigi drove us to the farm where he had bought the asparagus. We loaded up with 3 kg, bought some smoked ham, potatoes, etc. so we could have another such wonderful meal on the boat. Sigi's wife Biene came back from a trip to one of the "...stans" (Uzbekistan or so, I cannot remember. Sorry, Biene). We saw her briefly the next morning, and we left Schilksee around noontime to go to Fehmarn, our favorite harbor of Lemkenhafen. We had made a dock reservation there, confirmed in the morning. Finally, the sky decided to be kind to us. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day albeit without any wind to speak of. We called Hannes Kraef (I had mentioned him last year. He is a childhood friend of Juergen's and lives in Glueckstadt with his wife Maren) to check where they were with their boat. It turned out they were in a different harbor on the same island and were enjoying lunch in town. When we arrived, they had been waiting for us for almost two hours. We spent the evening - I cooked the asparagus. We had a great time.

White Asparagus Dinner

On May 18, it was rainy, cold and very windy. We met up with Hannes and Maren on their boat, took a walk around the beach / harbor area, had dinner in a restaurant and took the 20 minute cab ride back to Impromptu. May 19 still had the same weather and a pretty miserable forecast. We met our friends in the picturesque town of Burg (you might remember my discussion thereof from last year - over 1000 years old) and decided to buy folding bikes. Most sailors have them and all we spoke to highly recommended having them. We got a good deal and happily biked the 8 km back to Impromptu. Hannes and Maren came along, and we had dinner on the boat again. This time, they did not bike back but put their bikes into the trunk of the taxicab.

May 20, we all had enough of sitting on our boats, watching the clouds rush over us. The forecast was such that, downwind, we could expect a decent run to Warnemuende, our first visit by boat to a former East German harbor. We had briefly visited this down by car a few weeks back. So we knew that it had a gorgeous brandnew harbor facility. We even managed to dock alongside, rather than in a "box". While the wind was howling, the sun came out and we could enjoy dinner in an Italian restaurant within the harbor complex (it also has three hotels, one 5-star and 2 others), and even watched a beautiful sunset. From this vantage point we also observed the many large ferries entering the harbor which actually continues into the town of Rostock (we had visited that by car very briefly as well).

We spent a lot of time with our friends, walking through town - we needed to take a private ferry from the hotel complex into town, a barely ten minute affair, crossing this rather busy channel. Warnemuende has beautiful little shops, many restaurants. It is gorgeously restored with houses from the 1700s. View the pictures below.

On May 24, we took off early in the morning (9 a.m.) with relatively low winds. It was a slow but nice downwind ride along the coast. We had agreed to stop at the port of Barhoeft, a quaint little harbor about 45 nm away. The weather changed to strong winds, rain, but it was not bad. What was bad was that we did not check the charts properly and bumped aground a few times in a heavy swell before we reached the very narrow channel leading us to our port of destination. We turned around and went to the first entry buoy which then permitted us safe passage through the channel. Here, the charts do not have color-coded depth lines. It is imperative that one really checks the entire course for shallows. We had not done that but relied on the "line" - clearly a mistake as we had to learn the hard way. Thank God, the bottom was soft wand, so we got away with just a faint heart during each "bump".

Before we could even make it to the buoy, Hannes called in distress, his engine seemed not to work, and he feared to be running aground if we did not come fast to tow him. We told him to pull out his genoa sail a bit just to maintain steerage. We then tried to speed up as much as we could. Well, after we finally made it passed the first buoy, I started putting fenders out, pulling lines out. We then instructed Hannes to do the same. We were quickly alongside, tied the two boats together and slowly moved through the very narrow channel. We then decided not to go to Barhoeft but to Stralsund instead. While this was a longer trip, we had a better chance to find a mechanic for Hannes engine trouble and for our WEBASTO heating system problems. While we were making way, Hannes checked his engine, found a impeller and replaced it with a new one. His engine sprang back to life. We separated the boats and went the extra 7 or 8 nm to Stralsund.

Here are our photos to date:

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Rostock, city hall
Hannes/Maren tied up to Impromptu in our rescue mission (their engine had trouble)
Stralsund, market place
Town Hall Old Building
And 13th century church

June 3, 2006

A bunch of things have happened since I wrote last. Astrid and Dirk got married (yesterday). We wished we had been there. But it was our decision not to make the long trip and, instead, keep on moving. Remember, we had initially accepted their invitation to their near-Paris wedding because, last year, we were still toying with the idea of sailing into the Mediterranean. In such a case, we easily could have left the boat somewhere to drive a few (relatively speaking) miles to the wedding. Now that we are so much further North and East, this had become an almost impossible venture. Therefore, our decision not to join. We still hope that they had a great ceremony and festivities, and we of course wish them lots of happiness for the lest of their lives.

Our friend Hannes' grandmother passed away. We met up with Axel and Renate who we had met in Gedser last year and who we had stayed in contact with over the winter. We also had a terrific trip to Bornholm, a most gorgeous Danish island just South of the Swedish coast and, as I read last night, further East and the most Western part of Poland, if that gives you an idea...

In sequence: We left Stralsund on Saturday, May 27 after someone actually fixed our WEBASTO heating system at 7 a.m. that morning, just to ensure that we could "catch" the 0920 bridge (the next opening would have been at 1720 only, too late to make the "run" to Lauterbach, our next destination, located on the island of Ruegen). It was rainy and not very pleasant, but we decided to make way because the weather forecast for the following two or three days was terrible, lots of rain, lots of wind (8 and 9 Beaufort with gusts of 10). We felt we had spent enough time in Stralsund, a gorgeous gown with beautiful churches, a wonderful historic market square, city hall, and a maritime museum well-worth visiting. We motored to Lauterbach and made it into the yacht harbor, getting into a "box" without any problems. It is a quaint little harbor town. The commercial harbor is partly filled with commercial fishing boats and some rescue / coast guard type boats. Lauterbach is the end station of a historic train called the "Rasender Roland" to be translated roughly into "racing Roland". We took that train the following day which brought a mix of rain and sunshine. We went to Binz, a beach town, nicely restored, with little shops, restaurants, lots of hotels and a very long boardwalk. It was too cold to walk around much, so we had some coffee, when Hannes' phone rang. His grandmother took for the worst. She had repeatedly refused to be admitted to a hospital or hospiz. Even the doctor went to visit her and confirmed what Hannes had been experiencing for the past few months. He ensured that the grandmother was taken to a hospital by ambulance after she had fallen and was not too coherent. He rented a car to drive and see her, an approx. 350 km (250 m) ride one way. Juergen accompanied him so he would not have to drive alone. He also could run some errands which he had been trying to run for a while but which was not possible wherever we had been. Maren and I took care of laundry (I tried to update the website - unsuccessfully, as you might have noticed. Juergen's computer will not let me get into the internet). Then, Maren and I played Backgammon, talked, had some supper. It was howling outside, our boats were healing in their respective boxes, and the rain was coming down in buckets. Our spouses arrived at Hannes' house around 2200, too late for Juergen to catch the 2145 ferry to Wischhafen from where he wanted to visit Guenter and Waltraud and where he wanted to spend the night while Hannes was taking care of his grandmother... The two had a quick dinner at the famous Italian restaurant in Glueckstadt before Juergen finally took the 2315 ferry. He arrived at Guenter's around midnight.

The next day, we did not hear from Hannes until around noonish. His grandmother had passed away. He took care of the necessary, met up with Juergen. The two men returned around 1800, just in time to relax for a little while before we had dinner on our boat. Since Hannes still had the rental car, we went food and wine shopping, did a little bit of sightseeing, returned the car after loading up our boats. Then we finally took the stroll we had wanted to take on Sunday, this Tuesday, May 30. It was sunny and a lot warmer (though cool in the wind and shade), and it was fun walking around this quaint town of Binz. Juergen had his hair cut, Maren and I did some shopping (I even found a bikini - don't worry, only to wear when Juergen and I are on the boat alone). We had lunch outside - though that was a little on the chilly side - at an Italian restaurant. We walked all the way back to the train station for Racing Roland (we had purchased roundtrip tickets on Sunday when we drove back to the boat by rental car). It was pleasant and fun.

On May 31st, we departed from Lauterbach and went, partly sailing, mostly motoring, to Sassnitz, our last port on the island of Ruegen. While the weather was not great, it was reasonably fine (at least there was no rain, but it was quite cold). After we tied up our boats (in boxes with no issue for us), the sun came out. We took a stroll along the docks and had dinner in a restaurant up the hill - the coast is generally steep and Ruegen is famous for its lymestone cliffs) - from which we could overlook the entire bay including the harbor and our boats as well as the town of Binz we had visited by Racing Roland just a day before, some islands in the distance. It was magnificent. We had what might have been our last dinner of white asparagus - it is not as well known in Denmark and Sweden. We stayed one more day as it again was pouring, blustery and highly unpleasant. We did computer and photo "work" - I was still not able to access the internet... and decided only late in the afternoon to take the bus to the cliffs. It was too late to do so. We ere not too disappointed because we would see some of the cliffs the next morning as we had decided to depart for the Danish island of Bornholm.

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Hannes/Maren under Sail
"Der Rasende Roland" (Racing Roland, a historic train running on the island of Ruegen (former East Germany)
Sassnitz Harbor, from a restaurant "above"

June 2nd was an almost perfect day. It was sunny and beautiful already when we woke up, and it did not turn bad, rainy, or too windy any time during the day. We had called immigration letting them know of our intended departure. Two officers came to Impromptu at 0630, checked our passports while we were getting ready for breakfast and our departure. By around 0730 / 0745 we and Hannes and Maren left our boxes and motored into this glorious day. It became so nice that we even were able to shed some of our many sweaters and long pants and donned shorts and a T-shirt (for a while). The trip was about 53 nm long, and since we tried to stay together and had to motor the entire way (it seems, there is either too little or too much wind in the Baltic at this time of year) we arrived around 1600, tied up our boats and were greeted by Renate and Axel who awaited our arrival and helped us tie up. As is typical for them, they brought us brochures and other information about the island of Bornholm and invited all of us to a welcome drink on their boat (Lucky Star). Later, we all had dinner on our boat.

Today, June 3rd, we were awakened by horrible rain, wind and very cold temperatures and decided to do laundry and later on take a bus (instead of the bikes) to Hammershus, a very impressive ruin of a castle. All six of us went. We had a great time walking through the ruins. The landscape was wonderful, reminding us of parts of the Western coast of Sweden. We also could see the rugged coast of the island from the castle. We took a 3+ km walk through the woods to the next town, tried to find a restaurant (they were either too crowded or closed) so we ended up at a fast food place, sitting outside by the harbor. We were glad when the bus arrived to take us back to Ronne, back to our boats. Axel and Renate are planning on departing for another Danish island. We hope to stay here for another day, see some more of Bornholm, before we continue on our way.

We took a bicycle tour from Ronne to the village of Hasle, about 10 km away. Most of the way took us through the woods and part along the water. We visited a smoke house where we had a wonderful lunch of smoked fish and potatoe salad. Maren and I went to the harbor. I took some pictures - surprise..., the men continued for another 5 km or so to visit two other villages. Since I am not the perfect biker and was afraid not to make the return trip if I continued also, Maren kept me company. We enjoyed ourselves sitting in the sun which was warm, to the extent we could stay out of the wind.

Here are pictures of Bornholm:

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Hammershus, the ruin of an ancient castle
A Church Wedding
A fast food lunch with Maren, Hannes, Axel, Renate
A round church, typical for the island
Picnic at the smokehouse in Hasle
A meal at the smokehouse after a long bike ride
The smokehouse

June 5 arriving in Swedish waters (from Bornholm)

Pictures of Simrishamn:

House in Simrishamn
Swedish Boy
Juergen and Hannes, resting....
Swan with very young signets

Pictures of Hano:

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Entering Sweden
Hano Rocks
Hano Island

June 7, 2006

We are on our way to Karlskrona, our third Swedish port. We left the tiny island of Hano this morning after having arrived yesterday, taking a walking tour of the rather rocky and remote island (remote in the sense of population and activity, not distance from the mainland which is only a few miles. The day before, we had left Bornholm in rainy and cool conditions and motored the entire way to Simrishamn. This was our first Swedish port, very picturesque. We took a walk through town, inspected the harbor, were delighted by a swan couple with their four or five - we did not see them all - signets - very young and as small as we have never seen before - see pictures below:

Karlskrona is supposed to be the fourth largest city in Sweden, with lots of history, a beautiful harbor. It is also supposed to have internet access. Let's see whether this is true. We plan on staying there for at least two nights so we will have enough time to visit most if not all of the famous places. It will also hopefully provide us with the possibility of purchasing a Swedish cell phone so that we can reduce our exorbitant phone costs and expenses.

Pictures of Karlskrona:

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The bridge
Fried herring...

June 11, 2006

Karlskrona was a pretty little town, filled with students who were celebrating the end of their school year - noisily - all dressed the same, the men in the same type of dark suit with the same tie, the women in white summer dresses. All were wearing white hats with black rims - sort of sailor-like but not really. They started drinking champagne, beer, wine around 1000 already and did not stop until late in the night.

They drove around in large groups in open cars/hangers, etc., decorated with fresh greenery - an odd sight for us foreigners. We walked around town, visited the maritime museum - access is free to anyone who wants to visit. Not too many people did while we were there. We also had lunch in the museum cafeteria, sitting outside right next to a WWII war ship, eating fried herring, mashed potatoes, decorated with some vegetables and lingonberries (smaller version of cranberries, at least in the same family). We decided against the purchase of a Swedish cell phone as the costs to Germany and the US were very similar if not higher than those we are already paying. So what's the point???

We had internet access at the marina, to the extent I was sitting in front of the harbor master's office. Otherwise, the signal was too weak. For some reason, Juergen even managed to access the internet, except we ran out of time, thinking that all our computer problems were solved and we would easily get into the web in the next harbor. How on earth could we think that? We have not been able to get into the web with Juergen's computer and so I still have not been able to update our website. I feel pretty stupid to say the least.

We left Karlskrona two days ago - Hannes and Maren took a shortcut through a bridge that was too low for our mast, we went an approximately 9 nm longer way. For that matter, navigation was not too difficult. We were passed at high speed by three Swedish navy vessels which seemed to be off to training. The weather improved greatly, even more so compared to the forecast. The sun came out, it got nice and warm and comfortable. The wind was minimal. Hannes who we had almost caught up with as we were motoring faster than he was, decided to set his spinnaker. Of course, Juergen wanted to follow suit. What really happened, I don't want to describe but will. We spent over two hours, trying to get our gennaker up. The gennaker sock lines were tangled with the sail. It was impossible. We tried to twist and turn the sail to get the lines to move freely - to no avail. In the end, we took the sail out of the sock, ensured that the lines were totally straight and only to one side of the sail, and fed the sail back into the sock over Juergen's arm, while I was hoisting the sail in the sock - very slowly and very carefully. By that time, we were so exhausted, hot and upset that we only folded the sock carefully into the sail bag, hoping that, the next time we have very little wind and want to set the gennaker, we can do so without all this hassle and frustration.

Kalmar, our present harbor, is located on the East coast of Sweden. It is a lively little town with lots of restaurants, a few three star??? hotels, lots of shopping, lots of historic buildings, a beautiful cathedral and a very impressive castle originating from the 13th century. We visited the castle today and learned quite a bit about Sweden's history and life at court all the way to the 18th century. Maren served a very nice lunch on their boat afterwards. I had done all our laundry early in the morning and went to access the web after lunch - as I said, a frustrating and totally unsuccessful venture. Juergen is preparing the navigation to our next port of call, just about 17 nm away. It is called Borgholm and is located on the West coast of the Swedish island of Oland. We have another six to eight ports to visit before we lay up the boat for about week to fly to New York for Claudia and Ruben's wedding. We decided in Karlskrona to purchase tickets for the event. Hannes and Maren are planning on going home for about 10 days as well so that we will all rejoin in Nykoping, the harbor we plan on leaving our boats, before we continue on our passage to and through the Gota Canal.

Pictures of Kalmar:

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Kalmar: the castle
The market place

June 19, 2006

I cannot believe that I have not updated the website since Simrishamn. Let me write in sequence, otherwise I get lost in remembering all the events. We did not sail to Borgholm on the island of Oland. Instead, we went to Sandvik, also on the island of Oland. It is a very small fishing harbor with stern mooring buoys. Of course, it started breezing up as we approached the harbor. We had sailed under gennaker for quite a while and decided to pack it up before the wind would pipe up too much for us to handle - good thinking .... We entered this very tiny harbor, tiny in that there is limited water depth for our boat. The wind pushed us sideways as we had tied up the stern buoy, but we managed... Hannes and Maren followed suit. We helped them tie up their boat, took a walk to the harbor master's office to pay for the night. Maren and I went grocery shopping, and we all walked back to the boat. A bunch of other boats had meanwhile arrived, one squeezed in between our two boats - o well....

We left the next day for another small fishing harbor, Byxelkrok, approximately 35 nm away, still on the island of Oland. Same story had meanwhile tied up, one in between "Amelie", Maren and Hannes' boat and Impromptu. Others had the same problems we did when we arrived. We were drifting as the one buoy really did not hold us very well. Thank God for another sailor, a Dane who we had seen in a prior harbor. He took a bow line and held the boat so that we could properly tie up to the dock. Hannes and Maren came shortly after us. They had sailed a little longer (we turned on the engine as we also needed warm water and the water heater is again broken due to the fact that we used the transformer - you might remember the story (same as last year's)... It was yet another gorgeous day, the sun was shining but the wind became increasingly stronger. As we were sitting in the cockpit, Hannes commented that we should really use a second stern buoy to tie up to. We had no way of getting there (the dinghy was still packed up - who needs a dinghy when one ties up in harbors every night?). Hannes took one of our lines, stripped into his bathing trunks and jumped in to the frigid waters, pulled our line through the buoy hook and returned it to us. Now we were more secure though both buoys were fully below water due to the pressure the wind put on our Impromptu and thus the buoys. Also Hannes' buoy was totally under water. We were wondering how secure these things really were... In the end, all was well.

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Sandvik harbor
Amelie w Spinnaker
Impromptu w Gennaker - it was an ordeal to get it flying as the lines of the sock got tangled time and again

On June 14 we left Byxelkrook around 0900 to take the roughly 45 nm trip to Visby on the island of Gotland. Visby is a Hanseatic City with lots of history dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Its actual history is older yet, namely about 10,000 years when its site was used for sacrificial ceremonies (this is where the name Visby - Vis = sacrificial site - came from). We had the most wonderful sail under main and genoa. The wind was around 18plus knots, and we were flying. Navigation was easy with only two waypoints, one from the harbor of Byxelkrok to the Northern tip of the island and then in a straight shot over to Visby. We saw a number of large ships passing the coast of Gotland on their North-South routes, just a handfull of sailboats and a bunch of large ferries that were going between Stockholm and Visby and Oskarshamn and Visby. These same ferries made entering the harbor of Visby difficult as they seemed to cover the entrance. In the end, it all was easier than it seemed from the sea, and we had no problem getting in. Tying up in Visby would almost have cost our marriage. Again, the wind was such that we had a very difficult time properly tying the stern mooring buoy to Impromptu, difficult because most of these buoys are set for much smaller boats. Thus, one such mooring buoy usually does not hold us back from the dock - certainly not in stronger winds - a la Byxelkrok - we needed two such mooring buoys. Our boat neighbor gave us good advice. Juergen was nervous and embarrassed because we had these problems so he yelled a little more than "normal" at me as "I was acting like some imbecile" - he later on apologized and we are friends again, but for a while, it sure did not look too good for our relationship.

With Hannes' help - after they tied up their boat - all was put back to "normal", we were properly fastened bow and stern and things improved. The weather continued to be gorgeous, the days seem endless as even around 2300 there is still daylight, and around 0230 it is light again - we had experienced this already in Antarctica, but it amazed us every day. It is almost a problem as we never realize that it is dinner time, or time to go to bed. So we all are staying up late and wake up very early. I sometimes feel quite sleep deprived....

We spent three full days in Visby, walking around the old town wall, enjoying nice meals in street cafes, watching tourists and locals, visiting 12th and 13th century churches, unbelievable ruins, etc. We also rented a car and drove around the island - though the landscape was interesting, there was no harbor that we felt was worth moving our boats to. Visby was it, all four of us loved the town and enjoyed the time we stayed there.

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Picture of Impromptu, sailing downwind to Gotland (photo taken by Brit)
Visby: 12th Century Church
Town Wall
View over Town and Baltic
The sticks are used for drying fish
Church on Gotland

Yesterday, June 18, 2006, we left Visby at 0700 as the trip was close to 60 nm - a little long for Maren who does not enjoy being on the seas for such a long time. Nevertheless, the weather remained wonderful though it was a little cooler than the prior days, the wind was sufficient for them to sail - it was a little weak for us so we motor-sailed the entire way. Fyrudden, our present harbor - tiny with nothing but a ship store and a restaurant that will only open on June 24 - for the midsummer festival which simultaneously depicts the beginning of the summer season, sort of like Memorial Day does for us in the US, has limited dock space and pontons for very small boats only. We were glad to arrive around 1430 and managed to get the last open dockspace. This way, we secured room for "Amelie" (Hannes and Maren's boat) also as they tie up to us in situations like that. We already had to defend Amelie's spot as a German couple on their boat were getting ready to tie up to us. We informed them of the fact that we were expecting friends to tie up to us. You might remember that, last year, people tied up to our boat without asking. Juergen claims that these Germans did ask, but I think it is ridiculous that people have a tendency to want to tie up to the largest sailboat in the harbor, though there were plenty of other boats to tie up to - even others with German flags - why us??? I still have not gotten used to this custom and most likely never will.

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Fyrudden Harbor taken from Impromptu

We had enjoyed moving into the archipelago (looks very much like the Thimbles - for those who know this island group in Connecticut - though of course, it is a much larger area and most of the granite islands are forested) though I was concerned about our navigation. So many rocks, so many tiny islands, not very many clear navigationsl signs... We had made it perfectly with Juergen's navigation though. When Hannes and Maren arrived around 1600 we shared some fruit salad and coffee as a "welcome drink" and later had dinner together, as we always do. We continue enjoying our friendship and the time we are spending together, still leaving each other sufficient private time and space. So far, it has worked really well. After dinner (meatloaf, zucchini and fried potatoes), we showed part of our Antarctica video and went to bed around 2300.

This morning, June 19, 2006, it was very foggy. We could barely see all the many little islands outside the harbor. Still, we had breakfast in the cockpit and then decided to take our bicycles for a ride to a nearby harbor some Swede had recommended to Juergen. Unfortunately, Hannes had to fix Maren's flat first. The two gentlemen helped each other out while Maren and I took care of the down below of our respective boats. Eventually we went on our way. It was rather hilly but we managed for about 8 km. We took a 2 km detour to get to a coffee shop near a camp ground. We hoped for nice scenery and a little rest. The coffee was excellent. On our way there, Maren and I had sighted a "shortcut" through the woods to get back to our harbor, Fyrudden. Our husbands followed. Well, it sure was an adventure. We bicycled through the woods, through huge meadows, then we had to partly push, partly carry our bikes over boulders, roots of huge trees, some steps up a huge rock until we decided to turn back - to try another route. While it was fun, it was hard work and exhausting. Maren even fell as the path through the woods became very steep but short - she is ok but a couple of small scrapes and bruises. Nevertheless, we were all glad to be back on our boats. The bicycles are packed up for another harbor - we still need to find transport bags - Hannes and Maren have them for their bikes - a terrific convenience. The bicycle store where we bought ours had run out, and to date, we have not managed to find them anywhere...

Maren and Juergen are playing Backgammon. Hannes is enjoying the scenery. I am updating the website, except for pictures. For those, I need to be able to e-mail them to Juergen. When in NY in about 2plus weeks, I will bring a memory stick with me so that, in the future, the picture transfer can be managed more appropriately. I will also bring my external hard drive not to run out of back-up space on my computer again.

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Backgammon game

June 20, 2006

This morning, the weather looked a lot more promising, though the clouds were still somewhat threatening. We left Fyrudden after a lot of navigation work (both Maren and I. Hannes has a chart plotter and does not have to do anything but just follow the line on the plotter). We mostly followed Hannes and Maren through the archipelago of rocks and islands, all forested, with just a house here and there - very picturesque, except the light was too dull and the photos all look rather dull as well. At some point, it began to rain so that we decided to just go to Arkosund, a very small area with tiny harbors. We managed to tie up bow-to with the help of a Swedish woman of the next boat. Hannes and Maren tied up next to us, and so we finally could dry out and share a meal. We mostly share the major meal be it lunch or dinner. Hannes and Maren don't like to eat too late, thus, we often eat at very late lunch hours or very early dinner hours. It seems to be good for us as we don't gain too much weight despite the full meals, the desserts (in the form of German candy, licorice, and Swiss chocolates and lots of wine).

I took a little walk around the rocky islands - there are beautiful walkways built to enjoy the scenery. Juergen wanted to rest his hip which had flared up with all the bicycling/walking and pushing our bikes in Fyrudden and with climbing the bow ladder to get on and off the boat. Hannes and Maren went shopping. She wanted to prepare dinner for that night - and what a dinner she prepared!!! It was delic....

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...at sunset (photo by Hannes)
Impromptu sailing in the archipelago (pictures taken by Hannes)
Mem: Entrance to the Goeta Kanal
One of the many locks we took in the first few days
Impromptu in lock
(the last 3 photos taken by Hannes)
Impromptu under 22m bridge

June 21, 2006

We left after a nice breakfast and sailed most of the way through the archipelago up to Mem, a tiny place, the beginning of the Goeta canal. The canal is 210 nm long and reaches from Mem on the East Coast of mainland Sweden to Gothenberg on the West Coast. It has 37 locks that will take us 92 m up from sea level, the balance will take us back down. The "upward" locks are more difficult to deal with because of the enormous pressure with which the water is rushed into the locks (see picture above). These locks also require special rigging of lines (bow and stern) over turning blocks - please read below. I jumped off the boat shortly before these locks, bow line in hand, ran uphill to where I could fasten it. Juergen then had to tighten the bow line, then throw the stern line, also on a turning block up to me so that I could again fasten it while he then had to tighten it as the water was rising. It was hard work and very tense most of the time though we did get better at it after a while. Maren helped a lot as she took care of Amelie's lines and then often ran over to help me. The "downward" locks are supposed to be easier as no one has to jump off the boat and each of us just holds one of the two lines as the boat slowly "sinks" within the locks. We will see as we progress...

We checked in, paid our dues (Swedish Krona 5,700) which not only include all the locks and passage of the canal, all the docking (up to 5 days in each harbor, showers and free use of laundromat and discounts in certain restaurants and shops). In the end, this is not even too outrageous. It had begun to rain and was getting worse by the minute. Maren and I went to the first lock so I could get a glimpse. They were to enter first, we to follow. It was rather difficult to get off the pier as the wind was pushing us against it, and there were other boats in the way. In the end, we managed. Our line set up - bow line had to be on a turning block and lead up (to tie up) and go all the way to the cockpit from where Juergen was to shorten it as the water level came up, stern line, over a turning block, leading up and also into the cockpit for Juergen to handle - was not perfect as we did not have the proper blocks. This was corrected in the first town we stopped over in the Goeta canal, i.e., Soderkoping. We went through two locks, then a stretch of canal, very narrow with meadows lying below us, another lock, and we tied up, bow-to, with stern mooring ball. Initially, Hannes and Maren had tied up elsewhere, but before evening, they decided to move Amelie right next to us. This way, we all had access to shore power - which was about 70 meters away from us and even further from their initial space - and an easier way of visiting and talking.

We exchanged our soaked clothes for dry ones and went into the restaurant right across from our boat - we had a terrific lunch and a good time watching the rain fall as we were sitting dry.

For pictures of Linkoping and the Midsummer festival - see below

June 22, 2006

The weather had still not improved though the sun came out occasionally. We had lunch in the same restaurant - the food and the Capuccino were too good... while Maren and I were doing loads of laundry - and suffered in the overheated laundry room. The rain became so terrible that we moved location within the restaurant from outside, under an awning, to upstairs under a firm roof, walls and a window. It was some spectacle as everyone fled from the diluge. We decided to stay until June 24 because the Swedes celebrated midsummer on Friday, June 23rd, and we wanted to be part of the scene. Hannes and Maren took a walk while we played Backgammon. Later, we visited the incredible church again from the 13th century, with a clock tower made of wood, adjacent to the church. Inside the church, there were beautiful ornate paintings and a gorgeous sailboat model, typical for Nordic churches near the sea. We walked around town and just enjoyed the scenery.

June 23rd, 2006

The weather was mixed but the rain seemed to have subsided. Around 1230, we went toward the festivities and observed how they built and decorated what we would call a May pole, except the Swedes do so for midsummer. The women were decorating two large wreaths with fresh greens and lots of flower petals, girls and women and even a couple of dogs were wearing flower wreaths on their heads - see pictures. There was singing, music performed by a small military band wearing uniforms from 1886, and then people in traditional costumes (those that had built the "May pole") paraded onto the stage making music with harmonicas, a violin, an accordeon, etc. They were all wearing folklore costumes. One of them talked with me for quite some time - he is on one of the pictures... A group of young women and men sang a few songs - we had observed them practicing on the market square the day before. Little kids were dressed up and wore lots of flowers in / on their heads - all very beautiful.

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A 12th century church
Flower decorations on animals
...and people for the Midsummer Festival
Winding the Swedish colors with a separate wooden steeple around the Midsummer Pole
Soderkoping from above (photo by Hannes)

June 24, 2006

It was time for us to leave. Around 0830, we tried to depart, but the water in the canal was so low that we were stuck in the mud. So was Amelie. Eventually, Juergen got us free and we moved a little further in the canal to the dock for the railroad bridge. Juergen took his bike to ride back to Soderkoping, just about 1/2 mile, to see whether Amelie had gotten off. They were on their way, and so we all managed to get to the railroad bridge which opened shortly thereafter. Other boats had followed so that we were four boats, ready for the first lock. We arranged to go as follows, a relatively small boat first, onto the starboard side of the lock, Amelie first on the port side, then we with Impromptu on the starboard side, and a very narrow boat next to us on the port side. Believe me, there was not much room between our two boats and the lock walls. However, we all were well-fendered. Each lock meant for me to jump off the boat with the bow line in my hand and taking the line up the hill to cover the 3+ meters of difference that the water level in the lock was to be heightened by. The bow line was then fastened over a metal hook, covered with a metal ring. Then I had to run back to catch the stern line which Juergen had to throw up to me. That line, too, was then fastened on the metal hook and protected with a metal ring. Juergen had to tighten the lines as the water was rising to remain in place within the dock and not squash the boat next to him or to fall back into the back door of our lock. It all was a little challenging. Once the water level was sufficiently high, the first two boats exited, then we loosened the bow line, then the stern line, I had to jump back on board as Juergen was slowly moving. The locks are very narrow, so are some of the bridge areas and old locks that are no longer functional. One has to be very careful to move right through the middle, as one otherwise might scrape the granite walls that you see everywhere, the same stone the archipelago is made of.

In all, we did 11 locks yesterday, three on the first day when entering the canal in Mem. After getting to Norsholm, we decided to move a little further. It was another "sort of" lock, not really a water height difference, but a "door" which was opened and then closed after Amelie, Impromptu and one other boat. Then, there was a railroad bridge which can take a long time to open. It said 1616, and it was around 1605, so the wait did not seem too long. Three very short trains passed, then the bridge opened, and we all went through. In the lock, there was no way to jump off, the water height difference is so minimal that ropes are strung to hold on to, rather than using our own lines until we could move out - a rather different approach. Once we went through the railroad bridge, we passed a red buoy and went into lake Roxen - another 14.5 nm trip, with a few buoys to keep us off the rocks, beautifully forested landscape, very few houses, a couple of farms and farm land, and more forests to look at, more rocky islands to see, and lots of birds killing trues, we think because of their guano. We arrived in "lower Berg", Berg nedre, around 1830 and tied up, bow to, with stern mooring ball - with no wind, no big issue at all. We had dinner together, as usual, this time polenta with mushrooms, and went to bed around 2200 as we were all tired from the strain of the locks.

June 25, 2006

We woke up around 0730 and had breakfast in the cockpit on a beautifully sunny morning. We did not expect to check into the locks until around 1000 or so, but around 0855 there was a lot of commotion, boats were getting ready, Amelie was moving out of its position. We quickly got ready as well as Hannes told us that he had arranged the sequence of entering with two other boats. Two motor boats which had been tied up in Berg nedre decided not to take the "steps", the seven locks that would bring us another 18 meters further up to about 50 meters above sea level. It all worked fairly well, except that our lines were not perfectly positioned. I just had not expected all this to happen so fast. In the end, we managed all seven locks - in three locks, the last three, the lock attendant took our stern line while I handled the bow line, and so all went fairly well. We tied up in the upper part of Berg, "Berg oevre", bow to, with the usual stern mooring ball. We even have electricity now and could charge cameras, computers, toothbrushes, etc. - what luxury.

In the early afternoon, the boat arrived that had been ahead of us in the locks all day yesterday. It was Per, Ingrid and son Ole (37) - boat name: Ecola. They live near Uppsala, a university town just North of Stockholm. Ole had helped us greatly yesterday, particularly when I did not manage to jump off. We wanted to thank them and, therefore, invited them for a drink. They came and we had a great conversation. Per and Ingrid had lived in New York in the early sixties and still love the city. We exchanged lots of travel experiences, sailing experiences. In all, it was a very nice three hours. They will continue to Borensberg tomorrow, while we intend to stay here for yet another day.

June 26, 2006

It is Waltraut's birthday. We will call her today, just as we called Luise and, this time, Silvi, yesterday. We also had spoken with Christa who reported miserable weather and not much else.

We bicycled to Linkoping [pronounced: Linshoeping], a town with lots of history (3,000 years or more) and a very high dome steeple (100 m), its initial building dating back to the 1200s - very simple inside but very impressive. We noticed a few times we visited churches that people were playing the organ - making it an even more festive visit... We drove and walked around town, had lunch on the market square. It began to rain lightly, and I was not looking forward to the approx. 12 km back, mostly up hill. So I pleaded for a taxi which is easy to do with our small folding bikes. Maren was game and accompanied me while Hannes and Juergen decided to bicycle back. They arrived about 45 minutes after us - we were impressed.

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Bicycling Berg to Linkoping (photo by Hannes)
The Cathedral: originally construction began in the 12th century. The Church was much smaller then but "grew" over time as Importance of Church and Rulers increased

June 27, 2006

As it had been pouring the previous afternoon and all night, we made our departure from Berg contingent upon that morning's weather. Well, it was not exactly stellar but it was not pouring, and so we decided to leave our "dock space" at 0800 and to tie up right by the locks (4 doubles at the onset) so that we would be the first being "taken up" at 0900. We had expected lots of boats to want to move on that morning as many had arrived the afternoon before, but it seemed that most - if not all others - were deterred by the weather, and so we were in the lucky position of being only our two boats in the locks. It all worked much smoother and faster that way, and, all in all we made 15 locks that day and I don't know how many bridges AND two aqueducts - it sure was weird seeing the street cutting UNDER us - we were wondering how the drivers in the cars and trucks felt seeing two sailboats move ABOVE them... One of the locks was not electric but had to be "manhandled", actually woman-handled as I was the lucky person on our side of the lock to turn to close the lock behind us and to open it again in front of us after the boats had been raised to the proper level. There is no picture to show you here (as I could not take my own photo) but Juergen did video-tape the event.

We crossed two lakes that day as well and arrived in the capital of the Goeta Kanal, Motala, pooped and hungry but glad that we had gotten this far in just one day. We are 88.4m above sea level at this stage - one more lock to go (but that one is approximately 4m). From there on, it will be "down hill".

We checked with the harbor master whether we could leave our boats here for our return to Germany and the US, respectively. He agreed, subject to a minimal charge, for those days we exceed the five day limit.

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Pictures of Motala: Impromptu at her initial "dock"
Part of the Canal Mechanism ("Kurbelwelle" in German)
Our last Bicycle Tour in Motala ended on this Sculpture...
Motor Museum - a treasure for anyone who likes old cars, motorbikes, radios, cameras - beautifully maintained, beautifully displayed and definitely worth visiting - we spent quite some time in this museum and actually can think of many among you who would do the same

July 2nd, 2006

We spent the first day just wandering around, relaxing, sleeping, eating, and chatting. I tried to update the website and only managed once I sat in front of the canal office where the antenna is located. Otherwise, the signal was too weak for me to do anything. It was not fun sitting crouched down and with the sun glaring at me, but I was nevertheless happy finally to be able to share with all of you whatever had been happening until then. We also visited the Motor Museum (see above) - a real treasure, this building is stuffed with a large number of well-maintained cars from inception to today, cameras, radios, motor bikes, mopeds (some) and lots of other things including gas station columns.

On the third day, we decided to bicycle to Vadstena, a town about 15 km away - Juergen thought it was only 6 and manageable for me. I was more than furious because we realized all of this only once we had been on our way for about 4 or 5 km, i.e., I had the choice of returning to the boat or continuing. Well, I continued and of course everyone else also. The uncomfortable part was that huge trucks zoomed by us - just there no bicycle path... Still we all made it in good time and decided to stop bicycling for the time being and to have lunch. We had wonderful food sitting under a sun umbrella on a square in the midst of this midieval town - unbelievable. We visited the church of Sta. Birgitta, yes she must have been some sort of saint like person - the church was very impressive, and people were rehearsing for a Shakespeare play outdoors for that weekend - see pictures.

We also visited Vadstena castle - dating back to the 13th century. While it was highly impressive from the outside and people were able to "dock" their boats right around the castle, it was totally empty inside, and we all were quite disappointed about that.

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Vadstena Castle with Yachtharbor
St. Brigitta
Many women (even one or two men) were sitting in the shade of trees or in the streets, making laces of all sorts ("Kloeppeln" in German)

On the fourth day at Motala, we bicycled along the Goeta canal, watched people struggle through the five-step locks while we were licking our icecream cones... then biked back, relaxed on our boats, shared dinner as usual.

The day before we departed by rental car we bicycled along Lake Vaettern, bicycling through the woods, over meadows and some special bicycle paths - all in perfect weather (hot, sunny, very light breeze). Of course, we had our typical Hannes coffee breaks (with Capuccino for Hannes and Juergen, Latte for Maren, Espresso or mineral water for me) on each and every day we were "on land" and found a place to sit and observe people.

July 3rd, 2006

Our rental car was delivered at 0800 - i.e., on-time. We had moved our boat to a better spot for our 10 day or so absence the night before. We loaded our luggage, waited for Maren and Hannes to get ready, and were on our way just about 0845. It was a nice car ride to Nykoeping where we stopped for a tour of the harbor and the town, for a brief and early lunch and then took Maren and Hannes to the Nykoeping airport from where they were flying back home. We then continued for another two and a half hours as the airport we needed to go to was about 40 km North of Stockholm - we had not been aware of that. It was very hard to find the hotel the travel agency in Karlskrona had booked for us - eventually we managed and were more than upset when we saw the room we were supposed to be in for three nights. We demanded our money back and wanted to check into another hotel when the owner overheard our complaint and showed us two other rooms that were totally modern, reasonably attractive, with a decent bedroom, a very nice bathroom, and internet access. He even drove with us to the rental car office to return our car and to take us back to the hotel - all was well again, and we settled in, took care of e-mails and other things and got ready for July 4th, our first day of sightseeing in Stockholm itself.

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Sculpture in Nykoeping

The hotel van took us to the airport from where we took the high-speed train to Stockholm (18 minutes of high comfort) at a cost - for "pensioners" at 200 Swedish Krona or roughly $ 30 round-trip - a rather terrific deal. We took one of those hop-on-hop-off buses to get a better feel for this incredibly beautiful city. We stopped at the Vasa museum first. The Vasa was a warship in Sweden in the early 1600s. It sank for then unknown reasons - it is assumed that the ballast was insufficient for the tall rig it carried - in the Stockholm harbor. This ship was recovered after 333 years under water and mudd, in very good condition, with many of the original carvings, equipment, loads and bodies onboard. It was lifted around 1972 after an approximately 10 year process. After it was cleaned and put back together - some parts had fallen into each other, it was moved into this museum. Only very few boards had to be replaced. In order to identify those and contrast them to the originals, the new ones were kept smooth-surfaced while the old ones were uneven and coarse - photographing was very difficult as they are keeping the museum light very low. I apologize for the lack of quality of these photos. We spent a few hours in the museum's 7 floors and also watched a movie that depicted the history of the Vasa - highly recommendable!

We decided on a very late lunch / very early dinner in town, sitting in the sun on a beautiful square in the old town (gamle stan) and had to observe a demonstration against President Bush, Guantanamo prison, Israel, pro-Hamas, pro-Chavez and whatever else these people had dreamed up - it was amazing to to watch. Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately, we could not understand anything of the Swedish speeches, except we realized the support or disagreement with the respective individuals or their politics. We took the train back around 1900.

Of course, we watched the soccer match between Germany and Italy - what an exciting game - what disappointment for all those Germans who had hoped for a World Cup 1st place.

July 5, 2006

After a few phone calls (our generator needs repair - we fried the panel, our hot water heater needs repair - who knows if and when that happens, our bicycle has some issues - we are trying to deal with those and get them corrected while we are in the US) we again took the high-speed train to Stockholm and immediately went to the castle which is still today the royal family's residence. We toured some of the living quarters that are generally left as a museum but are on occasion used for special events - we were asking ourselves whether we would like to stay in any of those rooms and decided that even our present luxury hotel is better than those lavish but outdated rooms. We visited the Treasury, the exhibit of the Antiquities of the King and the royal family's own "Chapel", a rather large church located within the castle compound. We also saw the parliament room which is still being used on special occasions. Other than that, all "normal" activities have been moved to other governmental buildings.

We enjoyed a very nice seafood platter, sitting in a side street cafe in the gamle stan and then walked to the harbor, enjoying its activities, watched ships and boats coming and going, had our meanwhile "usual" coffee break, wandered around a bit more, visited yet another church as it looked so beautiful from the outside, even visited a department store - unbelievably beautiful, very much comparable to Bloomies and Saks Fifth Avenue and still different - see some of their exhibits...

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Stockholm: High-speed Arlanda Station
Street Scenes
Kosta Boda Sculpture - yes it is glass!!!
The Royal Palace
The Vasa
Our Lunch today (7/5/06)

Now, we are saying good-bye until we return from Claudia and Ruben's wedding on Saturday and visiting with friends and family.