Journal of a June 2006 Cruise

Cruise 2006: The Baltic
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This page last updated: 4th April 2008.
4: Nynäshamn for Stockholm

Stockholm About 9am Thursday morning we arrive off the Municipality of Nynäshamn situated around 50 kilometres from Stockholm at the southernmost point of Södertörn.

Aurora anchors among some lush tree-covered islands. The largest of these to the South are Bedaron and Norra Stegholmen.

A small lighthouse nestles on the shoreline. Behind the thickly wooded hillside is an oil refinery.

As this is a tender port and Christine is confined to the ship, I am going to Visit Stockholm on one of the organised tours.

So it is off to the landing stage in Nynäshamn. There I board the coach that will take us to Stockholm.

Most of the way the route passes through rural scenery with lots of woodland. We pass no fewer than four roadside McDonalds!

Shortly after mid-day we arrive in the centre of Stockholm opposite The Swedish Parliament Building.

The coach drops us off outside the Grand Hôtel.

Once gathered together we all make our way the few yards to board the canal boat for a cruise around some of the 14 islands on which the city is built.

As it is another warm day, it is very pleasant to be low down in the water. There is a lot to be seen but turning one's neck to look at all the sights pointed out by the guide is very tiresome. So I just concentrate on enjoying the views from one side.

A large variety of craft are anchored along the shore of Skeppsholmen.

Behind some trees we can see the dome of the Nordiska Museet. As at many of Stockholm's seventy or so museums, entry is free.

A few minutes later and we can see one of the many outbuildings belonging to Skansen. This is the world's oldest open-air museum.

Djurgården, the island which we are circumnavigating, was until the end of the 18th century a royal hunting park. Now it is the green lung of the city, a place where one can spend the day on the grass with a picnic basket, walk the dog, or visit a museum. The houses along the shore used to be weekend cabins during the 18th and 19th century. Today these homes are permanent residences.

Before hitting open water, the boat cruises down a narrow canal where ducks swim and scramble for the shore.

Beyond the canal we are in the main shipping channels for the ferries that ply between Stockholm and outer islands such as Vaxholm.

Off Blockhusudden on the SE corner is one of the world's first automatic navigation lights, manufactured by AGA in 1905 and now electrified.

We pass Thielska Galleriet, a white, green-domed mansion, designed by Ferdinand Boberg and built for bank director Ernst Thiel in 1905. It houses the art collection which he assembled and the picture gallery is open to the public.

At Fair Point is Täcka Udden, a castle-like villa built in 1866. Formerly the home of Marcus Wallenberg, it is now the property of a bank.

Manilla was built in the 1770s, named after the capital founded by Spain in the Philippines by The Spanish Minister Ignacio de Coral who enlarged the area. The Public Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind or Manillaskolan was founded here in 1819 by P.A. Borg.

Further on is Biskopsudden where the Archbishop resided in the Middle Ages. Today it is known for its marina and the old Ekorren (Squirrel) café.

The yellow palace that we see behind trees is Waldemarsudde, the home of Prince Eugen. The prince was an artist who painted the Swedish landscape and the Nordic light during the late 19th and early 20th century. A picture gallery was added in 1913. Today it is a museum where one can view both the prince's home and his art collection.

In the gardens of Waldemarsudde is an old mill.

Across the other side of the water near the Viking Terminal are cranes painted so they resemble giraffes.

As the boat turns to sail back towards our starting point, we get a good view of the Gröna Lund Tivoli.

Passing the island of Skeppsholmen we see af-Chapman, a fine three-masted sailing ship. Seemingly it entered service as the Dunboyne in 1888 and once carried passengers between Ireland and Australia. During World War II it was a Swedish Navy barracks ship. Since 1949 however it has been used as a Youth Hostel.

We sail in past the National Museum before landing back near the Grand Hôtel where our coach is waiting.

We drive past Berzelii Park, which in the hot summer of 1951, was the scene of the so called Berzelii Riots, when bored, and often drunk young people gathered in the park night after night. The continuing riots escalated and reached their peak on the night of August 26, when there was a stand off between 3000 young people and policemen called in from five different cites, including military police. Now it looks so peaceful.

Around the corner is the Dramaten, reputedly not only the best theatre for dramatic art in Stockholm, but rivalling the best in Europe.

Birger Jarlsgaten is a busy road full of shops. One of the side-streets appears to end at the bottom of a steep flight of steps.

An even busier city centre street is Kungsgatan. Bridges, strewn with flags and banners, cross from the upper storeys of department stores.

The temperature is in the high twenties; the city is heaving; beyond an underpass people are cooling themselves around a fountain in the centre of a huge traffic island.

We finally stop on Riddarholmen, next to Mälardrottningen, another old ship which is now a hotel and restaurant.

There is a view across the water to Stockholm City Hall or Stadshuset

Behind us is the magnificent steeple of Riddarholmen Church, the final resting place of the Swedish kings and Stockholm's only preserved medieval monastery church. With the one exception of Queen Christina, all succeeding rulers of Sweden from Gustav II Adolf (d. 1632) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are buried in the Riddarholmen Church.

Back on board the coach we now head out of the city up to Fjallgatan, from where there is a panoramic view across the city and the inner islands. Beneath us is berthed another cruise ship.

Our driver, however, is a worried man. The engine is overheated. However, after a few minutes of panic, the engine starts and we climb aboard.

On the road out of Stockholm we pass a number of bendiebuses. These double-jointed buses seem to be common in many parts of Europe, but are probably too long to be seen on narrow British roads. Some of them are labelled Biogasbus.

At Nynäshamn, before catching the tender back to the boat, I look in a small hut which belongs to the Nynäshamn Tourist Information. I was wanting to get a present for Christine and perhaps a souvenir. One item priced at SKr150 and another at SKr55 attract my attention. They seem a little over-priced in any case. I ask if I can have the two for SKr200 as I don't want to get any small change. They refuse my offer so I put the banknote back in my pocket. I'll convert it into Norwegian krøner later in the trip.

Photographs Journal page 5