Day 13 – 9/8–Stockholm Sweden

So many firsts on this trip, and Sweden is another one.  Only smaller ferries can get close to Stockholm because of the absence of a deep water pier, so we docked in the port town of Nynashamn about 50 miles south of Stockholm.  I  say we docked, but I am not sure what you might call it.  Originally the itinerary called for this to be a “tender” port, which means that the ship’s lifeboats are used to ferry the passengers ashore, about 50 at a time.  This can be a lengthy process, requiring everyone to get a number and wait in the theater until your number is called – maybe an hour or more.  When returning to the ship, it is first come first serve and very long lines.  When you only have a few hours ashore, and you have an hour bus ride into the city, it becomes a real pain.

In Nynashamn, a unique solution to the problem has been implemented – they have installed the world’s first floating, self propelled, movable dock.  The ship was secured off shore, and this dock motored out to attach to the ship.  It is powered by a diesel engine inside the little house on the end.

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We went ashore, met our bus and headed into Stockholm.  The bus dropped us off in the city center, right next to the hop a bus stop, and across from the Grand Hotel, Stockholm’s only five star hotel.  When the US President was here for one day, he and his staff took the entire hotel.

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Stockholm is a city of canals and beautiful architecture.

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Rather than jump on the bus immediately we decided to explore the city center area for a while.  Crossing a bridge brought us in to the area known as Gamla Stan (Old Town) which is the first area settled in the founding of Stockholm.  Originally an island, Gamla Stan has been connected to the land to the south, and is a prime attraction for tourists with its narrow cobblestone streets and medieval buildings.  Sally on the bridge to Gamla Stan.

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The cobblestone streets.

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This street, called the “Queens” Street, runs for about a mile and half from the main part of Stockholm across a bridge and in to Gamla Stan where it dead ends.  When we crossed on the bus into town the bus driver said it takes a man 30 minutes to go from one end to the other, and it takes a woman 3 hours – shopping.  Don’t blame me, I am quoting Sven the bus driver.

 

After shopping for a while we decided to get on the hop a bus and I studied the map to see where the closest bus stop was.  I spotted it on the map, and we went to find it.  I missed it, and in trying to locate it turned the wrong direction.  We had a nice 2 mile walk while hop  a busses went flying by, but only found a bus stop after about an hour.  Sally was most kind not to comment on my navigating skills.

 

A nice little hotel bar & restaurant across from the bus stop in Gamla Stan.

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Shortly after rejoining the bus we spotted the mounted King’s guards – I suppose headed to the changing of the guard at the palace in the background.

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I am not sure I understand all of the art and sculpture we have run into in Scandinavia.

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These boats were tied up in the park across from the Palace – what can be the purpose?  Perhaps to remove seaweed or trash from the canal?

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The Parliament building is on a small island between the main part of town and Gamla Stan.

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An amusement park across the canal – this one also named Tivoli, as was the one in Copenhagen.

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Some interesting Swedish architecture.

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We had a cold beverage and some bar snacks at a sidewalk pub before catching the bus back to Nynashamn.  As much as we love cruising, one major drawback is the very small amount of time spent in each port.  We started this trip with 2 days and nights in Copenhagen before boarding the ship, and we thoroughly enjoyed the city and the time we had to explore.

Back across the floating dock and off to Copenhagen where Kristina, our daughter will be joining us for the visits to Norway, Scotland, Ireland and the crossing back to the states.  She has been in Copenhagen for a week with her friend Brooke.  Maybe I can persuade her to add to the blogs.

 

A great picture of our ship connected to the floating dock.

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