What I discovered when browsing through them again was that there were more stations than I remembered, but also more water – I think the best of the latter are the ones taken while sailing out of Stockholm through the archipelago in the early evening.
In case you don’t want to go to flickr and have a look, these are my favourites:
8th June continued: This is a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon – sitting in the sun by the river in Stockholm, wondering whether to have an ice-cream or not, and if my efforts at photography can possibly capture the silver-topped ripples of the river. If it is a river – again my knowledge of geography does not stand me in good stead.
Ok, I’ve talked myself into an ice-cream.
Later that same day – now on board the ferry Silja Serenade. As my cabin is below the car decks, I will aim to spend as little time as possible inside it. There’s a special lift down to it called Zero.
Help! We’re moving…
This reminds me of sailing up the Oslo fjord years ago on a cruise ship that was later used as a troop ship in the Falklands. An endless succession of little waterside communities, their houses built as close to the water as possible, lots of boats moored at jetties. Inland it seems to be mostly forest. I don’t think the land rises as steeply here though as it does in Norway. In a way it’s sort of like the English Lake District. There are certainly some great candidates for Wild Cat Island.
Every so often a speed-boat will rush across in front of the ferry or race alongside us for a while. Either of these is potentially risky as this ferry is massive – essentially a combined hotel, holiday park and shopping mall with a keel.
8th June On I go, again feeling more rested after a good night’s sleep in Malmo. The plan for today is to travel to Stockholm – I’m writing this on the train, so at least that plan has got off to a good start – where I’ll catch the late afternoon ferry to Helsinki.
I was just about to complain that there was nowhere to get a coffee in Malmo before 7 am when I worked out from the word ‘fruhkost’ on my ticket that I would get some breakfast on the train, and sure enough I did. No, I didn’t think I spoke Swedish either! I managed to get hold of it by my usual method of following some people who looked as if they might be going for breakfast.
It’s amazing, from what I’ve seen of the countryside so far in between thinking about food and spilling a fruit drink I thought was going to be a yogurt everywhere, how Swedish it looks – lots of pine trees with odd red houses in clearing, and a few lakes. I’m not sure if I can get a picture as we’re zipping along quite fast. Also most of the lakes seem to be on the other side of the coach. Not sure if there’s a geographical reason for this.
By the way, the WiFi situation has now improved. This is partly because so far Sweden is way ahead of other places I’ve been through on this trip in providing free public WiFi, but partly because I’ve made the exciting discovery that my smartphone can make its own WiFi hotspot quite easily. There is even a menu option for it, which I hadn’t noticed before as it’s hiding right at the end where I hardly ever go. Fortunately I am on pay as you go, otherwise I would have run up data roaming charges the size of the national debt by now. As it is I am limited to quite a small amount of data every day, but it’s useful in WiFi emergencies.
7th June part two: I suppose it was all the D-day stuff that brought the war into my mind as I travelled through Belgium and northern Germany. However this day of my trip has turned out a bit shorter than expected, with the train breakdown causing a series of events that have ended up with me staying the night at a very nice hotel in Malmo instead of pressing grimly on to Stockholm. It has also resulted in me having to rebook my train from here to Stockholm and my ferry to Helsinki. I now sail direct to Helsinki instead of to Turku, which means one less train journey. This way I should only miss about an hour of the conference, which won’t be much more than I would have done if I had been so worn out that I couldn’t resist having a long line on Monday morning.
The journey from Copenhagen to here was a bit fraught as it involved going to the airport and trying to find a bus that looked as if it might be on its way to Malmo, then being dropped off the bus in a sort of outpost of Malmo and, after talking to some men in hi-vis vests who looked as if they might know something, being put on a train to Malmo Central to get to the official info desk. Having established that there were no more trains to Stockholm today, the very nice booking clerk got me on a train first thing in the morning at no extra cost, and I’ve since rebooked my ferry online.
Fortunately I could get a room at the first hotel I went I to – I hope nobody else I know ever gets stranded in Malmo, but if they do I recommend the Malmo Comfort Hotel for its very pleasant staff and fantastic grilled salmon.