A Travellerspoint blog


Nynäshamn, Sweden

Monday, 8 September 2014

View 2015-02 South America & 2014-09 Royal Princess on greynomadm's travel map.

The good weather gods deserted us this morning as we approached Nynäshamn. Some miles short of our anchorage area we were engulfed in dense fog. Because of the ship's size she had to anchor out in the bay and use her tenders to ferry people ashore. Due to the dense fog and with "your safety is our paramount priority", all schedules were delayed for just on two hours.

We were kept constantly informed on the progress and were eventually invited to rendezvous in the Theatre for our party to be assembled. Transfer to the tender and the passage to the shore-side pier was accomplished with little or no fuss. Once ashore we were collected unto a coach and were taken on a sightseeing tour of the small town and surrounding countryside. The town at one time was the headquarters and main manufacturing plant of the Erickson company. It has recently relocated to Stockholm, about an hour by bus, train or car to the North.

Our guide was dressed in traditional Viking garb and spoke flawless English. He kept up a constant flow of information. The most surprising statement concerns a Swede's "Right of Access" which allows many recreational activities on all land whether private or publicly owned. The only 'activity' that is excluded is hunting, for that you need a permit.

Part of our tour was along the path of an old Viking Road. It was open to two-way traffic but scarcely wide enough for our coach. The only time this was tested is when we were off inspecting a 1000 year-old 'rune', a form of tombstone carved in granite with a story of who was commemorated by whom and for what.

Towards the end of our tour we stopped to visit the Medieval Church of Ösmo on the outskirts of Nynäshamn, Sweden which dates back to the 12 Century, originally a Catholic church it is now Lutheran. The interior of the church is highly decorated and although white-washed when the Lutherans took over, the original decorations have been painstakingly uncovered.

Eventually the coach brought us back to the pier where we were checked aboard a tender and ferried back to our ship. We had decided to forgo the doubtful pleasure of shopping in the local shops.

Despite the inclement weather and the delayed schedule, the crew's ability to handle the 3500 passengers was most professional and impressive. There will no doubt be complaints but I haven't heard any yet. A comment from a first time cruiser on board the tender was that she hadn't found it 'relaxing', not surprising on the 'port intensive' itinerary.

By the way, I have to correct a statement made in Saturday's blog. The structure I referred to as 'flood defences' were in fact a security barrier to prevent any form of access to the Naval Base.

As I write this I notice a considerable amount of rain on the lens of the bridge 'web cam'. Seems the weather has turned completely.

Another enjoyable dinner after which we hunted down last night's photos, one of them is more than reasonable, we might have to buy it. With nothing better to do we went to the Theatre and were well entertained by Al Katz who kept up a 45 minute wisecracking barrage of one-lines and managed to have a jab at people who arrived late, people from Mississippi and also from Topeka Kansas. Certainly kept us laughing.

Sea day tomorrow but it looks like there are at least a dozen things to fill in the day. May not get them all done.

There's an image of the Medieval Church of Ösmo at http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-09-08

Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:40 Archived in Sweden Comments (2)

Gothenburg, Sweden

Monday, 1 September 2014

View 2015-02 South America & 2014-09 Royal Princess on greynomadm's travel map.

An almost clear sky as we sail into the Container Port of Gothenburg, the largest container port in Sweden and the home of the Volvo brand. Volvo's car division was sold to Ford some years ago and more recently on-sold to China. The truck and bus division is still Swedish owned.
Our shore excursion explored the Northern Archipelago, a chain of inhabited islands connected by bridges to the West of Gothenburg and accessible by a 15 minute vehicular ferry service.

Our very comfortable coach left right on time at 07:45 and we drove generally North West to cross on the ferry. These low rocky islands are almost treeless and have many lovely houses based on the original fisherman's cottages. Our Northernmost destination was the village of Öckerö where we viewed a 560-year-old church and a charming old resident explained the history - he spoke Swedish so our guide had to interpret what he was saying.

Across the street from the church is a collection of old cottages restored and furnished in the style of 200 years ago. Local ladies of the Öckerö Homestead Association provided coffee, tea and cake in the 'meeting hall'. All extremely friendly and charming and with sunshine for a change a very pleasant time.

Back on the coach we traveled South to the island of Fotö which is the Southernmost island in the archipelago. We spent some time exploring the local village before boarding the coach again for our return journey.

The 'All Aboard' time today was 13:30 and with dozens of tour buses returning at almost the same time they created somewhat of a traffic jam. There were two gang-planks in operation with two security scanners on each line but despite that the queues were extensive. We were thankful that the weather was fine and the delay not too long.

A general observation of travelers with limited mobility. They are often selfish and rude. They 'demand' the front seats in the coach - fair enough but do they have to also have to be the first off ?? By blocking the exit for just a few minutes they reduce the 5 minute photo stop to almost zero for the rest of the passengers. I mention this phenomena to our guide, she confirmed it happens more often than not and regardless of the nationality of the individual. End of observation.

From the check-in directly to the Horizon Court buffet on deck 16 for lunch. After lunch we attended the port lecture for Warnemünde, Germany and Tallinn, Estonia. Made an error in walking out of the theatre and into the 'Market Stall' where we couldn't resist buying some great 'bargains'.
we followed an enjoyable dinner with a walk down to the Vista Lounge (deck 7 Aft). Tonight's performance was a 'Pommy' comedian by the name of Jo Little. Great legs, lovely face, fabulous singing voice, jokes just so so. All in all not a bad show.

Today's image is a hint of the sunrise as we approach Gothenburg http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-09-01

Tomorrow we dock at Warnemünde, Germany. Next report from there.

Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:32 Archived in Sweden Comments (2)

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