Andrea's visit to Stockholm
OK, it's time for a bit of catch-up. I've been busy the past few days and I haven't had time to post any updates; but now I have a few free moments, so I will use them!
Friday morning, I had a bit of time in the city before Andrea's bus arrived at the station, I took a walk from the Gamla Stan subway station up North across Riddarholmen. On the left in this photo you can see Stockholm's lovely city hall; and sticking up above the other buildings in the foreground is Riddarholmskyrkan.
From the West side of Riddarholmen, I captured this shot of the city call. Each year, the Nobel Prizes are given out at a gala ceremony in this famous building.
Here's the parliament building, with a modern addition atop a more aged building.
I caught this nice photo of Andrea at my kitchen table, as the noonday sunlight streamed through the window.
It was such an interesting picutre that we switched places and she took one of me. In the backgound, on the wall of my kitchen, is a pencil drawing Lotta made of me a few years ago.
On Saturday I showed Andrea the old city, Gamla Stan. We were fortunate enough to walk up to the palace just minutes before noon, so we were able to see the changing of the guard.
The soldiers must have been hot in their dark wool uniforms. It was a warm day — probably around 30 C.
A band played several marches. The members of the band are all volunteers and are prdominately members of the Royal Music Academy.
I play the trombone, so I had to get a photo of one of the trombonists. :)
This poor guard's sole responsibility seemed to be to ensure that tourists did not cross the black line painted on the pavement. Perhaps a red line or a rope would work better.
Andrea posed for this photo in Stortorget.
Because Andrea is German, we had to visit Tyska Kyrkan (the German Church).
Stockholm was originally founded by German merchentmen. Mass is still held in German at this church.
There is a smalll triangular “square” on Gamla Stan that I particulaly like. I just think it's peaceful and tranquil — a good place to sit and read a book.
Near one of the main streets on the island is a statue of Saint George killing the dragon. A wooden version of the same statue lies in one of the churches on the island, but I cannot remember in which one.
Some of the streets on Gamla Stan are quite narrow. Oh, and watch your head.
Here, Andrea tries to climb up the walls. I hope it wasn't the comapny that drove her too such drastic measures.
Here's one more view of the tower of the German Church.
Andrea liked this old sign, so I snapped a photo of it too.
We stopped in for a bite to eat at the little cafe in Centralbadet. We had some sort of sesame nuggets with black olives, salad and lentils. It was actually quite yummy.
On our way toward Sveavägen, we stepped into Adolf Fredriks Kyrkan. Here's the gilt organ.
Next we watched the Stockholm Pride parade for a few minutes. There were thousands of onlookers, perhaps because of the many lightly-clothed participants.
The parade was wild and fun to watch.
After returning home from the parade, we changed clothes and walked to Bockholmen restaurant, where we had a table with this view.
After the sun set, Cedergrenska Tornet stood out against the dusk sky.
On Sunday we took the subway down to Kungsträdgården and walked down to the quay, where we caught the ferry Storskär. Our plan was to remain on the ferry as far as Vaxholm, and to do some sight-seeing and shopping on the island.
We were joined on the water by hundreds of pleasurecraft of all shapes and sizes, from jet skis to caramarans to large motorboats. In the background of this photo you can see Stockholm's most famous indoor arena, Globen.
The day was absolutley perfect for a trip in the Stockholm Archipelago.
And as you can see, other people had the same idea.
Even though it was a very warm day, the wind was also blowing so it didn't feel too hot. Add to that the spray from the sea and the conditions are just excellent. I was so pleased that the weather cooperated for Andrea's visit. Stockholm must be appreciated on days such as this!
Looking back toward Stockholm.
This buoy marks the postion of an underwater cable. In other words, don't drop anchor here.
Just leaving Vaxhom. Yes, that's right: leaving. We somehow did not realize that Vaxholm was not the last port of call, so we made no hurry to get off the ship when it moored there. By the time we realized that not everyone was disembarking, it was took late. The ferry had cleared it moorings and was making way for the next island to the East.
We decided to stay on the ferry rather than to swim for the shore. It was just chance that we missed our original destination, but we made the best of it and had an even better day because of it.
It must be nice to have a dock and a sauna right next to the sea.
We opted to spend a few hours on the island of Grinda. We walked across to the opposite side of the island from where the ferry docked, and we pretty much had that bit of shoreline to ourselves the whole time we were there.
Across a small bay was a more established bathing area with many people swimming and sunbathing.
The water was cool but not cold, and the rocks on the shore were wam from the afternoon sun.
I think this is about as far into the water as Andrea ventured. She doesn't like cold water. :)
As the sun continued its inexorable arc toward the Southwest, our bathing spot fell into shadow; so we grabbed our stuff and walked a few hundred meters around the circumference of the island and back into the sunlight. There are no real waves or tides to speak of in this part of the Baltic, so I had to wait until a boat's wake happened upon the shore to capture anything resembling whitecaps.
Half an hour before the ferry back to Stockholm was due to dock, we packed up our things and walked back across the island. Some of the little depressions and valleys on the island were verdant and lush, despite the dearth of rainfall we've had this season.
It would be nice to have a boat on days like this. But I'm always reminded of the old joke that goes: “The two happiest days in a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it.”
This sloping shore was a bit closer to the dock than the place where we bathed. I'll have to remember it for next time.
Greetings from Grinda!
There was even a small sand beach on the South side of the island.
By the time we reached the dock, still twenty minutes before our ferry was to arrive, the dock was already packed with folks bound for Stockholm.
And here's a better photo of the same thing. :)
On the dock, we met up with some folks that we had chatted with on the outbound journey. They're named Markus and Caroline, and they live in Solna, very close to the rock gym where I go climbing.
The ship that took us back to Stockholm, Norrskär, the sister vessel of the ship we sailed out to Grinda. These two ships are about a hundred years old, and they're the only remaining ships in the ferry company's fleet on which passengers may sit outside. Obviously these two ferries are in service only during the Summer months.
On the trip back, we passed a large Viking Line ferry bound for Helsinki. These ferries are basically huge party boats. On can purchase a round-trip ticket for under 100 Kr., but the sales of duty-free booze onboard allows the ferry operator to make a profit.
We also passed a couple enjoying their newly-built boathouse. Very nice. I need to meet a girl who has a rich family. :)
We passed Vaxholm on the way back. Here is the fortress.
And here's a man in a boat, towing four other boats.
We also passed Djurgården on the way into Stockholm harbor. This is the Gröna Lund amusement park, including the Catapult, the roller coaster, and the freefall tower.
The evening light was perfect for taking photographs, and Andrea is such a photogenic model! What more could a photographer ask for?
When we reached the quay, the ship we had taken out to Grinda was already moored there.
Monday morning we took one more walk down to Brunnsviken. Andrea's flight back to Germany was later in the afternoon.
Naturally, I had to go for a swim. The cliff there doesn't seem so tall once you have jumped off it a few times.
At the top of the cliff was one of the folks who originally demonstrated for me that it was possible to jump off that cliff safely. Thanks!
After a while, Andrea tired of my incessant shutterbug antics; so she set about trying to confound my efforts to focus by running toward the camera!
Little did she know, this lens has predictive focussing ability — in other words, it's able to predict where a moving subject will be, and focusses on that spot instead of on the spot where it is. So rather than confounding my efforts, Andrea treated me to these fun photos. :)
Early Monday afternoon, I accompanied Andrea to the central bus station where she caught the bus to the airport. It was almost eight years ago when my friend and I saw each other the last time; I am certain we won't wait another decade for the next reunion!
Posted by Michael A. Lowry at 16:32
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