Sunday, May 27, 2012

SWEDEN: Cruising from palace to palace (part 1)

Gamla stan aftStockholm is built on an archipelago, a much larger one than that hidden under Venice’s island-filling streetscape, but you’re still aware of bridges and boats being at least around the corner wherever you go. The old town Gamla Stan sits on the relatively small island of Stadtsholmen, with two tiny satellite islets so close to it that you would be forgiven for thinking they weren’t separate at all.

Gamla Stan - with RiddarholmenOn my first visit here years ago I was introduced to Kenneth B, sharing an interest in things canine and moomine, and we’ve stayed in touch since then. Today he arranged for us all to go out boating through Stockholm’s waterways in a restored wooden boat owned by one of his friends.
Jörgen arrives (background Stadshuset, City Hall)

We were picked up on the western shore of Riddarholmen (The Knight’s Isle) in front of the Wrangel Palace just after 5pm by Jörgen. Because of the gap between boat and dock, it was a little difficult to persuade Munson to make the leap so I ended up picking him up (52kg according to a weigh-in last week) and dropping him gently onto the boat.  Once on board he was fine but settled down amidships in the most stable part of the vessel. Unlike Bondi who rode many ferries on Puget Sound before sampling smaller vessels, Munson hasn’t had a chance to try out his sea legs on anything smaller than a cross-Channel ferry.

Munson Mike
Langholmen Canal

One of the first places we were taken was the Langholmen Canal, rather narrowed by dozens of lovely old wooden boats.
A- Wrangel Palace on Riddenholme B - Drottningholm Palace Munson surveys the harbour

Our most distant point was Drottningholm Palace where the Swedish royal family lives, about 11 kilometres from our launch place at Gamla Stan.
Drottningholm Palace
Munson's nautical bliss Gustav ignores the palace
Kenneth & Gustav dine on the palace 'lawn'

The weather really couldn’t have been much better, warm enough to do out in nothing more than a light shirt, and a little breeze to liven up the outing. Kenneth had brought a small shopping trolley full of food for us, and then kept surprising us with more treats. We had brought our beer and wine, but I got a shock as I took a hearty swig of “water” to find that it was actually Finnish schnapps.Drottningholm Palace under late afternoon sun Marskens Snaps
While Munson had been enjoying the breeze and the interesting smells that played over the water, it was when the food was served that he really gained an interest in the proceedings. No surprise there.

Munson - food bliss

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