|For more information on Sweden see
Aussies in Sweden
and on Australia Australians Abroad
onsdag, juni 30, 2004
It dawned warm and sunny with a gentle sea breeze. Almost perfect conditions for being on holiday. During the night many more boats came into the harbour and we could see that the Swedish holiday season was about to get into full swing. Everybody takes time off in July, so most popular places get very crowded. We prefer the solitude of the outer islands of the archipelago to the crowded, noisy guest harbours, but in Gotland you have little choice about where to stay so you learn to adapt.
Today, the girls left us to travel down south to the camping grounds of Tofta – a well known summer beachside party place for the young (and mostly inebriated!) where they were to spend a night and a couple of days, before meeting up with us again a little further south in the harbour of Klintehamn.
If you look at the postcard map pictured, you'll see Tofta south of Visby and Klintehamn a little further south again. We estimated that it was 25 nautical miles from Visby to Klintehamn and in the mild winds it would take us about 5 or 6 hours to sail there. We checked the pilot books to see what kind of harbour was there and hoped that there would be room. It was quite a small place, with only a few guest spots available, though we figured that we could find somewhere to tie up, even if we stayed in the commercial harbour.
After seeing the girls loaded up with tents, sleeping bags, tanning lotion and putting them safely on the bus, we paid our harbour fees and cast off for the next port. Farewell, Visby!
As we left the harbour, a big cruise liner (The Costa) was anchored outside the harbour ferrying Italian passengers to visit Visby for the day.
We set a southerly course and watched the beautiful Gotland coastline glide by. The shoreline around here is very different from the mainland. It consists of sheer limestone cliffs interspersed with beaches and farmland. The limestone "shelf" stretches out for up to a kilometre out to sea and is very shallow (less than a metre in most places) so you must keep well out and only come to shore at the dredged channels. Beyond Visby, we saw the cliffs of Högklint, which were an awesome sight.
Part of the way through the afternoon we passed by Tofta Strand where the girls were staying. In this aerial shot of the beach, you can see the shoals clearly.
This is one of the most popular camping places in Gotland and on a hot summer day, there can be more than 20,000 people staying here in the camping grounds!
It looks a lot like a regular beach in Australia - with white sand and real waves! For those of us living in Sweden, this is a rare sight indeed. Most beaches here have rocks rather than sand and the water is calm but often very deep quite a short way from shore (which may account for the large number of drownings in Sweden every summer). So this was like a little picture postcard of home.
In the late afternoon, we spotted the first marker buoy for the channel into Klintehamn and sailed along the route into the harbour. You can see a beautiful aerial shot of the harbour here. Check out the size of those wind generators! They certainly dominate the horizon and dwarf anything around them.
This is very much a working harbour, rather than just a marina and we both like it here very much. There are no pretensions, facades or people swanning around in their designer yachting gear showing off and "being seen" - just ordinary travellers and those here who work with boats. Quite a change from the frenzy of Visby hamn.
tisdag, juni 29, 2004
Another glorious sunny day, made all the more funny because friends rang us and said it was raining quite heavily in Stockholm. We tried not to sound too smug. Today the girls rented bikes and rode 13km north to see the famous limestone caves at Lummelunda and to lie on the beach and work on their suntans. We decided to stroll to the higher part of Visby and set off in the late morning. One of the first things I saw was that the guest harbour had raised an Australian flag! A lovely welcome sight so far from home.
I’d like to think it was in my honour, but Lars-Göran merely laughed at that, though he failed to come up with a better explanation.
We made our way up to Söderport and to the main tourist and commercial strip of Adelsgatan. What a contrast to the lower section we were in yesterday!
The shops were really interesting and there were a lot of beautifully made hand crafts, cafes and a lot of people out enjoying the summer weather. One shop that caught my eye had some little porcelain cows based on the Cow Parade. I immediately thought of my friend Sandy Van Veen who adores cows! She would love this shop.
From this height, you got a perfect view across the tiled rooftops of Visby down to the Baltic Sea and even one of the Gotland Ferries from Nynäshamn on its way into harbour.
It is quite a steep city and an interesting mixture of roof styles, materials and greenery, with that lovely backdrop provided by the glittering sea.
One “touristy” thing I had to do was to try the local icecream – hand made from fresh Gotland cream. I chose one with a topping of hjortron (cloudberry). It is hard to describe the heavenly taste of this berry, but delicious hardly covers it.
Walking along the inside of the north part of the walls, we caught sight of the ruins of St Lars and you could see why those towers also were used as part of the city’s defences with a commanding view like this:
From here, it is a short walk to the only one of Visby’s old churches which is still in use – St Maria. It was built by wealthy German merchants and consecrated in 1225, though much altered in the following centuries.
While it is fun for us to walk around, poor little Lambi can find the going tough with her short, 11 year old legs, so we have recently purchased a specially made rucksack to carry her around in. It is very roomy, has wonderful ventilation and a peeping hole for her to check out the surroundings. We have received a lot of comments from people passing by about how sweet she looks.
From this area you can look down to the Baltic across the tiled rooves and ruins. With the greenery, it makes the city much softer than a plain stone city and the presence of modern touches like cars does not seem to distract from the beauty.
You can look down almost vertcally into the lives of people who live here. I wonder what they make of being part of the living exhibit that is Visby.
And all of this within the towered walls of limestone.
It will be sad to leave here tomorrow, but I'm sure this won't be the last time we are going to be here.
måndag, juni 28, 2004
We woke to a beautiful sunny morning. You can see Fiona in this picture, next to the two-masted wooden boat near the bottom right hand corner.
Visby guest harbour is the most expensive one in Sweden and often very crowded during the summer. It has the reputation as a "party place" and we would normally not have chosen to be in the thick of it, but decided that it was safe as it was still early in the season and the girls were very keen to be there. Bruce and Sheila spent their time under the sheltered cockpit tent, enjoying the life and activity around the harbour, while we all studied maps of Visby and planned our day out. They turned a few heads in the guest harbour. People travel with their dogs and occasionally their cats, but not their birds. One of our friends described our boat as Noah’s Ark.
While the girls opted for the beach, for us oldies, it was to be an exploration of the old city, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1995. It is a superb Hanseatic town full of Medieval houses and alleys, made all the more interesting because it is still a living, breathing town – not a static museum town. And the Gotlanders seem to know how to combine the two and make it work. We decided to tackle the lower sections of the town today and do the upper sections tomorrow.
It was really fortunate that we came in early summer when the famed roses are out in bloom. Visby is known as the “city of roses and ruins” and within the enclosing walls it has managed to preserve much of its medieval atmosphere. One sad feature is that of its original seventeen churches, only ten survive (nine of them as ruins) and only one (St Mary’s) is still used for worship.
Visby’s most notable feature is the 3.5km long circuit of town walls built of limestone in the latter part of the 13th century and strengthened about 1300. Today, they have survived and even plants grow out of them.
There are still some wonderfully preserved wooden houses, like this one off Donnerplatsen.
The museum of antiquties is housed in a lovely stone 13th century building nearby.
And there are many fine examples of the half-timbered stone buildings that so typify the Hanseatic era.
Looking down each of the narrow cobbled streets is a feast for the eyes – small houses with a profusion of climbing roses:
Behind one of the little gates, we spotted a Cafe sign which led to a secluded little rose covered courtyard.
We stopped for a coffee, served in a cute little copper pot and some home baked cakes while we studied the maps like real tourists! Luckily, as it was an outdoor cafe, Lambi was welcome, too.
Lambi enjoyed walking around the town and took every opportunity to roll in the grass like the grotty little dog she is! I’m amazed that people think she’s some kind of pure, fluffy lap dog, when in fact she likes nothing better than rolling in whatever gross stuff she can find. And the smellier, the better!
The roses are simply everywhere you turn and peeping into people’s gardens you catch a glimpse of a profusion of blooms and a heavenly scent.
Even in the narrow streets, where homes open directly onto the cobblestone pathways, they manage to squeeze in climbing roses that set off the medieval nature of the town. And always in the background the dominating towers of St Mary’s Cathederal (Santa Maria domkyrka)
Even from the main shopping strip around the market square (Stora Torget) you still catch sight of the church.
Later on we made our way to the beautiful Botanical Gardens and took a rest outside of one of the ruined churches – St Olof. This Romanesque church was built in 1200 and destroyed by the Lubeckers in 1525.
Then we made our way back to the harbour via a maze of those wonderful, tight little streets bursting with colour and fragrance. And in case you were wondering, yes, cars and pedestrians share this narrow space. And Gotlanders drive very fast!
While I prepared dinner, Lars-Göran took apart the auto-pilot and discovered that he was able to repair it, so he went along to the local chandler to “get a cheap screw” (his words, not mine!) It was such a relief that for the cost of a tiny screw we could save ourselves several thousand in replacement costs. Thank goodness he’s such a handyman!
After dinner, the girls offered to mind Lambi for an hour so we could walk along the harbour. I laughed when I saw the local youth hostel (Vandrahemmet). This should be a welcoming place, but this one sported razorwire and barred windows! Our best guess was that this was either the former local prison or madhouse that was converted to a hostel.
From the harbour, we made our way along the esplanade area to a beautiful park on the outside of the walls called Almedalen, which was the site of the old harbour in viking times. In the late evening light, the towers of the cathederal still dominate the horizon.
The park has a peaceful, relaxed feel to it as well as a great view of the city inside the walls.
If you look at the next picture, you will see on the right hand side the ruins of St Hans, just in front of the cathederal is the ruins of St Lars with St Nicolai’s ruins to the left. St Nicolai was the largest church in Visby and belonged to the Dominican monastery. It was built in 1230 and unfortunately destroyed in the 1525 invasion.
We then took a beach walk along the outside of the western part of the wall. In the evening, the sun’s dying rays were reflected on the limestone walls.
The tower you can see just beyond the people seated is called the Maiden’s Tower (Jungfruntornet). Legend has it that the daughter of a Visby goldsmith was walled up alive in this tower for betraying the town to the Danes, out of love for the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag. At regular intervals around the walls of Visby are 44 towers, standing between 15m and 20m high.
Quite a full day of walking and enjoying the sights and after the broken sleep of the day before, we were very glad to fall into bed, though the girls went out clubbing until 4am! Oh the resiliance of the young.
söndag, juni 27, 2004
We let the girls settle down to sleep and concentrated on making our way cautiously down the last bit of the Stockholm archipelago before we made open water. It was a tense time as it was dark. Not pitch black darkness as it is summer here and it never gets quite black. Don’t believe me? Well, check out this photo of a Swedish back garden taken by a friend of mine at at 2.30am.
I’ll never get used to this almost all day daylight!
Anyway, it was dark enough that we didn’t see the markers that indicate stones and islands, so we relied on a new navigation program we have loaded onto our PC called Fugawi. This in itself has spawned many a joke about “Where the Fug-are-we?”
As well as the navigation program, we followed paper charts and watched the lighthouses. It is a real leap of faith to do something like this. You can’t see a thing, so you have to trust that what the lighthouse tells you is correct, even though you know you’d feel so much better if you could see it for yourself. The ones here are set up with a light that has coloured screens over them. You have a strip of green, then clear, then red. You need to constantly refer to the lighthouse and make sure you are in the white zone – this indicates the safe passage through the rocks. If you are seeing a green light, then you need to correct your course a little more to “port” and for a red light, you need a “starboard” correction. By combining the navigation system with the lighthouse watches we made sure that we were always safe. It also helps that this stretch is our home waters and we do know the danger spots.
After a four hour stretch, we were safely out in open water and it was time for the girls to be on duty. There is nowhere to stop on the way, so it is constant sailing for 24 hours. The only way this can be successfully done is for the person steering and looking out for ships to get rest breaks. It is very tiring to be constantly on watch. We took the longer shifts as we were more used to it and could take over from each other. But we also needed rest and this is when the girls helped out for a couple of hours. We knew the prevailing winds, had the auto-pilot set for steering a 175 degree course, so the girls just had to make sure we kept on course and watch out for other boats. If there were boats or any problems they had strict orders to wake us up.
We also ate in shifts during that time. I had made a hot spicy thai fish soup that I reheated for Lars-Göran and myself to eat and I made quick cook macaroni-cheese for the girls. Not the world’s most nutritious meal, but it was warm and filling. You can see them eating here:
As we are still sailing, they had to share the space with Bruce and Sheila who are strapped safely to the table. The rest of the time, we had sandwiches, cup of soup, fruit etc. But mostly during our breaks, we slept.
Despite it being summer, it was really cold out on the water. I had many layers on in order to keep warm. I'm actually wearing thermals, a layer of warm clothes, a layer of thick, fleecy clothes, water and wind proof sailing gear, lifejacket, three pairs of socks and my ski-ing cap! Welcome to Swedish summer!
Despite the light, it is actually in the middle of the night - about 4am. The going was slow as we had no wind, fog and a swell. Not idea conditions especially as it was almost impossible to see beyond the end of the boat.
The wind was so light that we sailed the whole way with a special light-wind sail called a gennaker. For those familiar with the fine silky spinnaker, this is a similar concept, though far easier to handle and a real asset for light winds.
On the girls’ last two hour shift from 8pm to 10pm, they called up Lars-Göran to say we were off course and that the wind was changing. To our dismay, the electronic auto-pilot was kaput! That was depressing news for two reasons. Firstly, because it meant hand steering the rest of the way and secondly it meant a big bill to replace it. I took on the job of steering and left Lars-Göran to navigate and watch out for the lighthouse that indicates the entrance to Visby harbour. The lights of the town remained tantilisingly in the distance and we scanned the coast for the harbour. According to our pilot book, the Visby lighthouse should be visible 12 nautical miles out to sea, but we couldn’t even see it with 5 nautical miles to go! We just headed for the southern end of the town and kept scanning for the navigation channel. It was just after midnight when we made our way into Visby harbour and managed to find a good spot to moor and fell gratefully into bed.
lördag, juni 26, 2004
Today was a busy one. We had to load up the boat with provisions for the trip, bring down the birds and acclimatise them to the conditions and go into Stockholm for John’s birthday party (John is Lars-Göran's 23 year old son). As it was cool and the birds are used to a warm apartment, we decided to take the boat around to the boat club where we could plug the heating into the land power in order to make the boat warm and cosy – both for us when we got back and the birdies while we were away. They look quite content here:
John’s party went really well. He was happy with the gifts we gave him and it was a good chance for the whole family to get together before we all went off for various summer activities. Madde (Lars-Göran’s 20 year old daughter) was coming straight from the party to our boat, so we collected her baggage and made our way to Söder Station to meet her friend Christin and get the train to Nynäshamn. Christin wasn’t there! As she is always a bit vague, I worried that she had changed her mind, but Madde said we should go on to Nynäshamn and that Christin may be on the next train. This turned out to be the case, so I was quite relieved that she was coming, for Madde's sake. She explained that she went to the Bankomat (ATM) and withdrew 500SEK ($A100) and then the driver of the bus refused to take such a large note and would not let her on the bus! Poor girl. But it turned out well in the end. We ate a late meal, prepared the boat and set off from Nynäshamn at just after midnight for the 90 nautical mile crossing to Visby.
Gotland is the largest island in the Baltic at 125km long and 55km wide. It lies about 90kms off the Swedish coast. It has a large number of important ancient monuments, including the famous town walls of Visby and 92 churches (with none of them being built after 1350). For many centuries, it was an important centre of Baltic trade and as a result, it frequently came under foreign rule. Today, tourism is one of its principal sources of income. And it is certainly a tourist paradise!
fredag, juni 25, 2004
Today in Sweden it is Midsommar. In Sweden, the summer solstice is a magical time. In Stockholm, twilight lasts until 11 p.m. and the day breaks again at about 2 a.m.
While the actual summer solstice was a couple of days ago, the Swedes usually celebrate on the nearest Friday afternoon/evening/night/following day. The Friday closest to June 20th is the official 'Midsommarafton' which, according to ancient rock carvings, has been the tradition for 3000 years. Midsummer Eve was originally celebrated to welcome the arrival of summer in the hope of bountiful harvests, and is celebrated with 'Midsommarstången' - a maypole bedecked with birch leaves and flowers. It involves a lot of eating, drinking, dancing around the Maypole and a lot of headaches in the morning.
The Maypole, a symbol of fertility, is usually a cross decorated with birch twigs and flowers.
In the afternoon there are usually games and competitions with the children. There are ring dances, traditional dancing and singing games as the Swedes celebrate the return of light.
The other traditions involve young girls making a midsummer chaplet (Midsommarkrans) of wildflowers to wear for the day.
You must go out and collect seven different types of flowers for this. It is important that you do this alone and in secret. It is said that if you then place this under your pillow, you will dream of your future partner.
The celebratory dinner includes assorted pickled herrings (Sill), boiled potatoes, local beer and schnapps, followed by strawberries or fresh fruit for dessert. After the meal, adults dance around the Midsommarstång, play games and continue celebrating. Since the sun never sets, the festivities continue for hours afterward, often into the following day.
Till next time.... Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga at se....
tisdag, juni 22, 2004
While we've had the car available this week, we took the time to visit some of the historic churches in the area.
Nynäshamn church, which you see featured as the background to many of our harbour shots is quite a new church, being built this century. You can see a picture and read about it here.
However, the other churches around the kommune date back to the 12th century. The first church we visited was in the nearby town of Ösmo. The oldest part of the church was built in the late 1100s and modernised during the 14th century.
It's present exterior is from the 15th century.
The inside (which we didn't see as it was closed) is adorned with lime-colour paintings from the mid 15th century by Peter Målare (Peter the Painter) and his student Albertus Pictor, the most celebrated church painter of the Middle Ages (known for humourous paintings such as a pig playing the organ). The Swedish author August Strindberg also gave trial sermons here in the 19th century.
What I loved about it was the beautiful location - right in the heart of the country. Look at the "neighbours"
It is just so peaceful here and I thought the horses added a really rural touch.
The grounds were immaculate and so lush, green and heavily purfumed by the lovely spring flowers, including one of my favourites, the peony.
And the back of the church is just as neat and pristine as the front.
We travelled a short distance and looked back across the pasture to the church. What an idyll!
The next church was at Sorunda.
It is one of the biggest churches of the province of Södermanland. The oldest parts of the stone church have their origins in the 12th century.
The church was enlarged and altered repeatedly up until the 16th century. It was very ornate inside - such a surprise for a country church.
The noble families Bååth and Fleming, owners of the large estates Fållnäs and Fituna used the church for their funerals and the families have been responsible for the rich ornamentation of the church.
I love history and I think places like these really excite me and make me feel glad that I live in a land with such an old history.
lördag, juni 19, 2004
Swenglish conversation yesterday:
Lars-Göran: "Have you seen my work vantar"?
Marie: "No. But I know where your arbets gloves are."
Two seconds of silence.
The dawning light in his eyes.
The reddening of his face.
Lars-Göran: "Just don't say ANYTHING!"
Marie: (looking innocent) "Jag?"
My contenders for Knob of the Week. This week we have two finalists and I can't pick the winner.
Contender #1: A conversation between two men dressed in football shirts that I overheard yesterday morning, in which one of them was wondering why Brazil had chosen not to play in the Euro 2004 tournament . . .
Contender #2: A guy who was standing next to a particularly impressive yacht, with the name and port being "Juliet, St Ives". (Important note: the boat was sporting a UK flag the size of a king-sized bed sheet).
Woman: "Hmm... St Ives. I wonder where that is?" (Clue.... flag....)
Knob (speaking very authoritatively): She's a long way from home. St Ives is in the Caribbean - one of the islands in the West Indies, near the Bahamas."
Marie (under her breath as she passed): "You Knob!"
This boat, from St Ives in CORNWALL (not to be confused with St Kitts in the Caribbean!) was amazing. We took a couple of pictures so you can get an idea of the sheer size of this thing. You can see her here:
And as another comparison, this next shot features a boat up at the end of the pier that is similar in size to ours. It looks like a dinghy next to Juliet:
I was sure she was some swank charter boat, but turned up nothing on the net. Then we got the story from the local gossip network. She is 147 feet long, cost $US30,000,000 (not a misprint, that's thirty million American dollars, folks!) and was bought three years ago by the guy that started the Rockport clothing company. It is simply his own private pleasure boat and he sails around in it with his family and a crew of six.
I wonder if they'll adopt me?
onsdag, juni 16, 2004
We finally got the results of the allergy testing for Lars-Göran on Monday. There was a slight reaction to one of the creams he was using in the early stage and a slight reaction to epoxy. But nothing to explain the violence of this outbreak. However, the specialist said that in a whopping 80% of cases, the cause is never found. He also said that it will take six months or more until his skin recovers enough to be less sensetive. So it will be a summer of wearing white cotton gloves and bathing his hands in cream. But at least we have a proper treatment schedule that seems to work. Let's hope it survives the summer sailing.
Isn't the weather report a laugh lately. I wonder what they are sniffing? They appear to be keeping all of their options open by covering the map of Sweden with suns, white clouds, black clouds, clouds that have rain coming out of them, clouds that have no rain coming out of them, clouds that block the sun, clouds that don't block the sun, arrows of wind that point in all directions at once and present you with every imaginable windspeed! And the weather here is pretty much as you'd expect for the time of the year - sunshine, then a little cooler and overcast in the evening. Go figure!
We raised the boat yesterday to wash the hull and check her over. Most people keep their boats on land in winter and do this, but why bother when you can leave the mast on and do it when the weather is warmer. Anyway, we discovered that she has developed tiny little bubbles on part of the under water hull:
This is the telltale sign of böldpest or osmosis. It can be successfully treated, but it means that we will have to haul her out, sand them off, dry the hull thoroughly over the winter and re-apply the epoxy gelcoat. A lot of work, but luckily it is still at a very early stage and we can still sail her over the summer.
Today, L-G went down and polished the fibreglass areas so she looks clean and shiny
And we repainted the waterline red, so it looks so much better than the black stripe she has had since we bought her.
söndag, juni 13, 2004
Back again like the proverbial bad penny!
I'm writing this while sitting on the boat, moored in a tiny, protected bay gazing into the glittery water. Paradise! I'll post this when we get home later tonight. We have been busy the last few days and this may continue next week as well. Part of the reason is that we have the use of the car for two weeks while Lars-Göran’s brother takes a rest from his real estate work and suns himself in Spain. And of course, the other reason is that it is ideal sailing weather.
Randall (our young American friend from Stockholm) popped down for a short visit, bearing bullar (cinnamon buns), so he was MOST welcome! He is now back from his visit to the States and in the last stages of preparing his little boat, ishallah, for his voyage of discovery to Morocco via the Mediterranean. He hopes to start in mid-July, with the 16th being the favoured date. We'll see - he still has a lot of serious work to complete before even contemplating casting off.
But he looks fit, tanned and HAPPY! That's great. I am so excited for him. He's young, enthusiastic and has strong self belief and while I think the voyage is not without inherent danger, I think that he's sensible enough and flexible enough to take it as far as he can and to know when to quit if it proves too much. He's no cowboy, so I hope he makes it, just to show those doubters (and there are a few of them) that he can handle himself.
Nynäshamn turned on the usual sunny day for him:
Lambi looks disinterested as the bullar have already been eaten. We discussed several rigging options with him as well as offer advice from both L-G and our friend Björn Stommel (who owns the local rigging firm) about how to secure the boat for ocean sailing. We also gave him some navigation instruments and books we had. We hope to pop up to Stockholm next week and take a look at ishallah and see how it is progressing.
Friday's road trip to Lisö:
We have been thinking long term about where we would like to live. There is no doubt that the Nynäshasmn area is perfect for us, but more and more we see ourselves as not living in Nynäshamn township itself, but in a small house in the surrounding area. This will give us peace and solitude which we like as well as easy access to both Nynäshamn and Stockholm for shopping etc. We have been checking out the local agents to see what is around to buy and as we had the car, we decided on Friday to check out the island of Lisö. We haven't been there before, but were curious to get a feel for it as there are often houses available there.
So on this lovely, sunny morning we made up a thermos of coffee, bought some weinerbröd and set off to explore the place. Four areas in particular were worth looking at - Sandvik, Ekbacken, Lindholm and Skärlinge. We need a place with access nearby to a harbour for a boat and a place that appeals to us. The surroundings of Nynäs are quite open and rural. And Lisö is a long, hilly, rocky peninsula to the south west of town.
A characteristic of the area and part of its appeal to us is the number of deep bays with narrow inlets from the sea.
The landscape and wildlife here is quite varied. There are the forest covered hills, but also areas of plantation and pastureland. We came across these cows who have a spectacular view of the sea from their pasture.
We couldn't capture the view they enjoy without trespassing, but believe me, if Lars-Göran's brother was here, he'd be screaming "Location! Location! Location!" The nearby farmhouse also looks out to the bay.
And just in case you are rolling your eyes and wondering how far away is the town. Are we out in the boondocks? No, not really. You can see Nynäshamn quite clearly across the bay.
The roads are long and straight and everything was lush and green with the early summer growth and it was warm, sunny and perfect for exploring.
Along the route we saw several charming places peeping out from behind the trees.
Just behind the houses we looked at in Lindholm was a small boat harbour - a lovely little horseshoe shaped bay, a five minute walk from the houses and perfect for mooring. We sat in the sunshine having fika on the pier and discussing possibilities.
There is a small lanthandel (like a little corner store) nearby and a regular SL bus service from here to Spångbro and from there a bus continues either south to Nynäshamn via Ösmo or north to Västerhaninge. We would not need a car at all! And then you could also go by your own boat to either Nynäshamn or Södertalje as well.
We walked through the field behind the harbour looking at the lovely homes here.
My favourite house was at the opposite arc from the boat harbour. I glimpsed it from the pier and insisted that we went for a look. Well outside our means, I'd say, but what a lovely house! Just MY sort of place.
Lambi and I sat on the milk stand outside and posed for a photo as though we owned the place. I think it really suits us.
Anyone care to donate to the "This Roof Over Lambi's Head" fund? Maybe I should become an internet beggar and set up a site with some sob story about an incurable disease complete with endearing photos of Lambi and beg for donations as this location is the ONLY place in the world that can cure her....
Look at us frolicking among the wildflowers and picking buttercups in the meadow next to the house.
So what do you think? I'd say this place would cost about 4,0000,000 or so. I'll kick in the first 500,000 and I'll beg for the rest. Sounds like a plan!
Anyway, we headed northwards towards Skärlinge. First we looked at Ekbacken and Sandvik and neither place appealed at all. They both seemed dark, closed in and more than a little claustrophobic, so we know we can cross those sites off our list. However, we also really liked the area around Skärlinge. It is surrounded by open fields of rapeseed.
Even Lambi perked up and enjoyed the smells, though heavens only knows how L-G can drive with her in that position. But she can be VERY insistent.
There were also surprising little nooks and crannies, like this small, secluded pool by the side of the road.
My guess is that we will consider Skärlinge and Lindholm and see what happens. As I said, this is a longer term plan, so we have time to take it easy and look around.
While Stockholm turned on a grey day, it was nice weather here in Nynäshamn so my step-daughter Madde came down for a weekend of sailing. You can see that she and Lambi lost no time getting all warm and cosy!
As Lars-Göran's hands are really no better, we decided to stay fairly close to Nynäshamn and took her to our favourite new discovery a short sail away behind Bedarö.
It is really beautiful around here, with views of both the bare rocks of the outer archipelago
as well as the more wooded, lush area of the inner archipelago
and the wildflowers are out in profusion making it so beautiful and colourful
Lambi enjoyed toddling all over the rocks and looking at the strange dog underwater!
From here is a direct easterly view across to the mainland around Muskö
and as you can see, it's a navigator's delight to play "dodge the stones" to get access to this little slice of paradise.
And all of this is literally, just around the corner, as a view northwards from the top of the berg confirms - there is Nynäshamn in the distance
But here you can forget all of that and enjoy the sunshine and lichen covered rocks.
For a change, we tied up to a cliff so that Madde could have easy access to land if she wanted to go ashore.
This was in our own private little bay. It was so peaceful and serene!
We stayed overnight and early this morning Madde took the dinghy out rowing and looking for potential sunning places to work on her tan.
Later she, L-G and Lambi motored around and looked at the nearby islands (and in L-G's case to snoop and see who else was anchored around the place)
After a busy day sunbathing and talking about our upcoming trip with her to Gotland after Midsommar, it was time for a nap (and you can see the little furry turncoat has attached herself firmly to Madde.
When we arrived in Nynäshamn this evening, there was another huge cruise ship moored outside the harbour. This time it was the Constellation (part of the Celebrity Cruises line).
Wow that was a lot to get through!
torsdag, juni 10, 2004
We went to Stockholm yesterday for L-G's allergy testing. What a piss awful day. It was sunny in Nynäshamn but as we got closer to Stockholm the black clouds moved in and it rained all day (and night). L-G has 29 test strips across his back and he is not allowed to wash his back or stretch it at all until Monday. He goes back on Thursday for extra tests and then the verdict on Monday. So far, no sign of itching. But all I can say is OUCH!
I wonder if he'll let me rip them off? Slowly of course. *grin* What a pity he doesn't have a hairy back!
We also took the chance to pick up a few things we needed - including deck shoes! Don't you love the names of the colours. I think "Sand Shag" is really me, but we ended up with "Brown Elk" for both of us. It's great to have a pair of comfortable slip on boat shoes. It was a case of desperation as L-G's old deck shoes were literally falling apart. Luckily we both have small feet, so sizing was a breeze.
I see that the Cow Parade is in Stockholm this summer. Friends sent me photos from Sydney and the Gold Coast when it was in Australia in 2002, so I'm excited to see that it will also be in Stockholm. The Cow Parade Centre is in Gallerian on Hamngatan and it will have information on where you can see the cows (which will be auctioned off for charity in September). The Aussie ones were really cool, so I want to see what Swedish artists will do. What's the bet there will be one painted like a Dalarhäst! Check out the official website at Cow Parade. I'm going to see if we can pop in next week and see them.
måndag, juni 07, 2004
we are back from sailing briefly as L-G has to have his allergy testing done today at the skin specialist's office in Södermalm. We are home for showers, checking email etc and about to head off for the appointment and taking the opportunity to meet people and have dinner with them in Stockholm.
I also wanted to post the photos of Madde's studenten (graduation) last Friday. Madde is L-G's 20 year old daughter.
I've never been to one of these before, though every summer I've seen the students parading around in their graduation caps and being driven through town on the back of trucks decorated with birch boughs. We don't make a big fuss at all about high school graduations so this was quite exciting for me.
The students are inside school all morning saying farewell to teachers, friends etc, listening to speeches etc. I gather that a fair bit of alcohol is quietly drunk as well, starting with the traditional "champagne breakfast"! They are presented with the school cap, which rather resembles a sea captain's hat. The girls traditionally wear white with the guys dressed in formal suits.
Meanwhile the families gather outside to await the graduating students. We arrived just before the "newly baked students" were to be let loose and there was quite a crowd gathered in the forecourt. We made our way over to where L-G's kids were waiting with their banners, flowers and keepsakes. It was a glorious summer day, full of sunshine, heady perfume from the flowering trees and a wonderful carnival atmosphere.
Just after midday, the students came out of the school. It was like a lake of swans approaching:
Annelie (L-G's younger daughter) filmed on our video camera and L-G took the photos from their vantage point. I was a little to the side trying to keep Lambi calm as she was beside herself with joy at the sight of all the people she loves in the world gathered in one place. Soon after, we spotted Madde with her friend Christine. In the following photo, you can see them at the left hand side of the shot - Christine is the tall girl with the blue and white halter top and Madde is next to her, wearing a white top and beige pants.
Madde saw the poster that Micke (her big brother) had organised from the photos we had picked out with Annelie a few weeks ago and made her way over to the family where she was showered with flowers and a variety of tokens were placed around her neck. There was a lot of laughter, congratulations and a lovely friendly atmosphere, spiced up with live music from a great samba band. We posed with her for a quick photo:
Just check out that look of adoration on Lambi's face. No doubt where HER true affection lies. You can see the poster here and the little tokens around her neck.
Then it was on to the float. There was a lot of singing, shouting and drinking as Madde climbed up to her spot to be driven around Stockhoolm adding to the Friday afternnon traffic chaos. I hear a lot of expats moan about these parades, but honestly were you not young once? Give the kids a break! It's not EVERY week this happens, but only once a year. I personally love to see them out enjoying themselves and always wave to them as they pass by.
She looks great in this photo, but most parents won't be surprised when I tell them that in fact she was doing her "Please, pappa, can I have some money!"
Later there was a party for the family and Madde dropped in until 9pm then she took off for a party with her friends at Hardrock Café in Sveavägen, getting home at 4am - tired but really overjoyed to have been part of it all.
torsdag, juni 03, 2004
Well. maybe just sailing in the Stockholm Archipelago.....
As you have no doubt surmised, sailing season is well and truly in the swing at the moment, so I expect to be out and about and not really online much at all until late August. I will pop in when I can, but like this time last year it will mostly be only to check emails.
The rest of the time has been taken up with preparing for Madde's studenten tomorrow. But now with the gifts wrapped, bouquet sitting in water and all transport arranged for L-G's mum we can breathe again until our early start tomorrow morning.
We ended up buying her a new mobile phone with a prepaid card (to replace the phone that was stolen in Åre last month). The phone we bought was a tiny, compact Samsung A800. Of course, now L-G wants one. He's such a gadget man! I hope she likes it.
Sailing last week - with lots of pictures!
We stayed mostly near the Nynäshamn area as we needed to go to Stockholm on Sunday for Mother's Day and on Monday we were meeting up with an Australian girl and her boyfriend at Nynäshamn. There is still plenty to see around here and the weather was lovely. And the birdlife is still busy nesting nearby:
Monday was a busy day in Nynäshamn for tourists. As well as the usual ferries we get here from Visby (Gotland), Gdansk (Poland) and Ventspils (Latvia) you can see pictured here:
We also had a visit from two huge passenger liners - the P&O Grand Princess from Hamilton, Canada and the P&O Adonia from London. These liners are not equipped with the sophisticated steering and navigation systems required by Swedish authorities in order to cruise in the Stockholm archipelago, so Nynäshamn is as far north as they are allowed.
Now I thought those ferries I've seen plying the waters of the Baltic for Viking Lines and Silja Lines were big, but they are mere rowboats compared to the collosal size of these monsters.
It was a wonderful sight and a great boost to the region to have so many tourists ferried ashore from the liners. While some took the opportunity to pop into Stockholm for the day, many others relaxed and sunned themselves and browsed around our little town. It was a friendly, vibrant, busy atmosphere and ideal to show my friend Robyn and her guy Andreas just what a wonderful place Nynäshamn is. Robyn and I have been emailing for quite a while and she came down to bring me a thankyou gift for all of the advice and help I gave her when she first arrived in Sweden.
It's always nice to meet up with people that you have only known via email and we had an enjoyable afternoon in the harbour area and on the boat. Lambi was quite taken with her, so she must be nice. One area I helped Robyn with was her visa. The Swedish firm she worked for told her to just arrive without a visa - she didn't need one! How crazy is that? I told her to check with the Swedish Embassy in Australia as I was sure she needed a work permit before coming here. And yes, I was right. Imagine if she arrived without it. When the personnel manager at Siemens apologised for the mix-up, her reasoning was "I just can't believe that Australia is not part of the EU". WTF? How much further away fromthe EU can you get? *grin*
When they left, we set sail that same evening and headed to the group of islands just in front of Nynäshamn. Past the little stugas on the shore
and on to our own little private bay.
As you can see, some of us enjoyed a run ashore:
What a wonderful sight to wake up to!
The water here is pure and crystal clear. You can see to the bottom several feet down:
As you sail past islands you get to peep through the cracks and see the traditional falun-red cottages dotted along the shore:
We then decided to head north to the islands of Rånö, Ålö and Nåttarö. This is a very old, historic area that was once held by the Russians in the 18th century. In fact quite a lot of the settlements in this area were destroyed by invading Russian fleets during the numerous Baltic sea wars. But it is all peaceful and quiet along the sund now.
The narrow passage between Rånö and Ålö has steep cliffs either side and lots of lush vegetation that was so green and fragrant with the air filled with the songs of the forest birds, the funny grunting noises of the eider ducks and the sight of several shy cranes nesting in the long reeds. What a paradise!
We moored in Ryssviken where the islands meet Utö and went ashore walking in the woods and enjoying the late evening. For those of you in Australia, this picture was taken close to midnight! And as you can see, it's barely dusk:
The following day we headed out east to open water and made our way south again to Nåttarö and one of our favourite anchoring bays, Östermarsfladen:
In summer, there are usually 100 or more boats at a time tied up to the pier, cliffs or anchored in this beautiful bay. But as you see, we were there by ourselves and it was great to be able to enjoy the solitude and the views uninterrupted. I never tire of the beauty of this place, no matter how many times I come here. In the distance you can see the mainland area and the islands in between:
Again, the water is clear, blue and breathtaking and Fiona looks happy moored at the small pier. It's rather nice to have this mobile home available all of the time. We can shift when we like and take advantage of the best views, sunshine and go where our mood takes us.
But it's not all hard work. Sometimes, there is a chance to snooze and enjoy the sunshine
And while it's nice to be home for a day or two, some of us are itching to get out there all over again!
This month's postsKlintehamn (onsdag, juni 30, 2004)
Exploring Visby (tisdag, juni 29, 2004)
Visby Vibes (måndag, juni 28, 2004)
Where the Fug-are-we? (söndag, juni 27, 2004)
We set sail (lördag, juni 26, 2004)
Midsommar (fredag, juni 25, 2004)
Take me to the chapel (tisdag, juni 22, 2004)
Knob of the week (lördag, juni 19, 2004)
A pox on you, epoxy! (onsdag, juni 16, 2004)
On the road again (söndag, juni 13, 2004)
Strike a pose... (torsdag, juni 10, 2004)
Madde studentutspringet (måndag, juni 07, 2004)
Sailing on the Seven Seas (torsdag, juni 03, 2004)
november 2003 december 2003 januari 2004 februari 2004 mars 2004 april 2004 maj 2004 juni 2004 juli 2004 augusti 2004 september 2004 oktober 2004 november 2004 december 2004 januari 2005 februari 2005 mars 2005 april 2005 maj 2005 juni 2005 juli 2005 augusti 2005 september 2005 oktober 2005 november 2005 december 2005 januari 2006 februari 2006 mars 2006 april 2006 maj 2006 juni 2006 juli 2006 augusti 2006 september 2006 oktober 2006 november 2006 december 2006 januari 2007 mars 2007 maj 2007 juni 2007 juli 2007 augusti 2007 september 2007 oktober 2007 november 2007 december 2007 februari 2008 mars 2008 april 2008 maj 2008 juli 2008 september 2008 november 2008 december 2008 januari 2009