Tag Archives: Sweden

18 June 2019:
Gothenburg, Sweden:
Sweden’s Second City

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Gothenburg is the second city of Sweden, behind only Stockholm.

We came to the tie up at a new, very old dock: the America Cruise Terminal in the inner harbor. Its name hints of its history.

It was from here, more than 100 years ago, that the first liners departed for North America, continuing until 1975. America Cruise Terminal, Amerikaskjulet, is on the same side of the river as the city center, within walking distance of downtown.

At one time, Gothenburg was the largest trading port in the Nordic countries, and when Swedish emigration to the United States increased, Gothenburg became Sweden’s main point of departure.

The city’s early design was heavily influenced by the Dutch, Germans, and Scots, and Dutch planners and engineers. As a result, it has many features in common with other Dutch cities such as Amsterdam, Batavia (Jakarta), and New Amsterdam—today’s Manhattan in New York.

Here are some photos from today:

Handsome warehouses and merchant’s homes along the canals.
The Fiskekorka, a fish market styled after a stave church.

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

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Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

20 June 2014: Stockholm, Sweden. Goodbye and Hello

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Goodbye to old friends, leaving us here in Stockholm, and hello to new guests coming aboard today.

Stockholm is the largest city of Sweden, the capital, and the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. We begin another cruise here, back for a loop of the Baltic: Tallinn, Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. Here’s our itinerary:[whohit]-Stockholm 20Jun-[/whohit]

Silversea Map 4414

Stockholm city was founded about 1250 and has been at the country’s military, political, economic, and cultural center for almost all of that time.

Greater Stockholm spreads across fourteen islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren.

Stockholm’s core, the Old Town or Gamla Stan, was built on the central island beginning in the mid-13th century.

The city rose to prominence because of the trade with the Hanseatic League and links with Lübeck, Hamburg, Gdańsk, Visby, Reval (today’s Tallinn], and Riga.

In the past few years, the Royal Family has been busy with weddings and baby showers. But they need not worry about running out of space for the in-laws and the sisters, cousins, and aunts.

The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarchy.

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The Royal Palace in the heart of Stockholm. Photos by Corey Sandler

The palace has 609 rooms and is one of the largest royal palaces in the world still in use. Alongside is the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament.

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Out in the country is Drottningholm Palace, the primary residence of the royal family. Commoners can tour the public rooms; in my opinion the classy way to arrive is aboard a century-old steamer that runs from near City Hall. Photos by Corey Sandler

Stockholm has an extraordinary collection of museums, about one hundred of them.

The National Museum of Fine Arts is in central Stockholm across the harbor from the palace. The museum was founded in 1792, installed in its North Italian Renaissance style building in 1866.

The collection include about half a million drawings from the Middle Ages to 1900, plus porcelain items, paintings, sculptures, and modern art.

The Moderna museet, the Museum of Modern Art, on the island of Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm, opened in 1958. Its collection includes pieces by Henri Matisse, Salvador Dalí and Picasso, but not as many as there were when they were first put on display.

In 1993, life followed art. Burglars came through the roof at night, basically borrowing the technique laid out in the 1955 French movie Rififi. Six works by Picasso and two by Georges Braque were stolen. Only three of the Picassos have been recovered. On the plus side, an Henri Matisse work called “Le Jardin”, stolen in 1987 and worth about $1 million, was recovered in London and returned to Stockholm in 2013.

There’s also the Nordiska Museum, filled with cultural artifacts of Sweden.

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The main hall of the Nordiska Museum. Photo by Corey Sandler

In town in the History Museum, with a small but rich history reaching back millennia.

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The Historical Museum in Stockholm. Photo by Corey Sandler

But for my money—or yours—the must-see museum in Stockholm, and one of the great exhibitions anywhere in the world, is the Vasa Museum.

When your eyes adjust to the dimly lit hall you see before you the only nearly intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged and put on display.

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The extraordinary Vasa Museum. Photos by Corey Sandler

It is the 64-gun warship Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628, nearly four hundred years ago. It was one of the largest and most heavily armed warships of her time, decorated with hundreds of sculptures, all of them painted in vivid colors.

Apparently they should have spent just a little bit more, on design and engineering. The ship was top-heavy and did not carry enough ballast down low near her keel.

On August 10, 1628, the ship sailed less than a nautical mile and then fell over and sank.

After then, Vasa was all but forgotten.

It was not until the late 1950s that the ship was found again, in a busy shipping lane just outside the Stockholm harbor. On April 24, 1961 she was brought to the surface, her hull mostly intact.

Thousands of artifacts and the remains of at least 15 people, along with articles of clothing, weapons, cannons, tools, coins, cutlery, food and drink, and six of the ten sails.

The Vasa Museum, constructed specifically for the ship, opened in 1990. Today, it is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.

One of our favorite places in Stockholm, not all that well-known and certainly not crowded, is Hallwyl House. This is the palatial home of Count and Countess Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, constructed in 1898 as a winter home for the immensely rich couple.

Last year, Stockholm added another museum to its trove of great treasures.

I didn’t say it was a great museum…but that’s just my opinion.

Abba The Museum opened on Djurgaarden island, next to the 17th-century Vasa museum and Skansen.

For better or for worse, the four members of Abba are back together, dressed like they never left the 1970s.

It appears that the group never threw anything away: costumes, instruments, ticket stubs, and hair gel.

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Not high culture, but you might want to take a chance on it if your goal is to be a dancing queen. Mama mia! Photos by Corey Sandler

All text and photos copyright 2014 by Corey Sandler. If you would like to purchase a photo please contact me.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order a copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer  (Kindle Edition)

2 September, 2013: From Stockholm, Here We Go Again

From the Wind to the Whisper…it’s a wonderful life.

After a short break to recharge our batteries…and the ones in my cameras, cell phones, GPS, and toothbrush…we’re headed back to Europe to meet up with Silversea Silver Whisper.

We’ll come aboard in Stockholm on September 2 and then head to Tallinn for the day and on to the glorious city of Saint Petersburg. Russian politics are always complex, but in the past few months we seem to be back in the days of a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

The full quote, from the eminently quotable Winston Churchill, was this: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”

Churchill said that in 1939, when the Soviets were temporarily allied with the Nazis. Later, Russian national interest would align with the Allies.

In any case, we will be in Petersburg during the G-20 Economic Summit. And so a city that always presents  a few extra levels of complexity will probably be more difficult than usual.

The summit will mostly be taking place at Constantine Palace, which is between Saint Petersburg and Peterhof.

I expect motorcades, traffic jams, lots of extra security, and some cold stares between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama and a few others thrown together in a place they might otherwise prefer to avoid. Or perhaps they’ll keep the conversation to caviar and blinis.

After Petersburg, we will work our way out of the Baltic by way of Helsinki (cloudberries and chantarelles), then Rostock/Warnemünde (are the strawberries still in season?) and through the Kiel Canal into the North Sea. From there a stop in Amsterdam and Zeebrugge (Belgian chocolate and beer) before reaching an end in Southampton, U.K.

Voyage 4323 from Stockholm to Southampton
Voyage 4323 from Stockholm to Southampton

We will be on board Silver Whisper for all of September and October, heading across the top of the globe from Southampton to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in northern Scotland (shopping for Harris Tweeds), then Iceland and Greenland before arriving in Atlantic Canada for a series of cruises from Montreal (smoked brisket and a cream soda, hold the poutine please) to New York.

It’s a nice time to travel (actually, when is it not?) and we can hope for good weather on the transatlantic crossing and for fall foliage in Quebec and New England.

I’ll be posting from our ports of call, and I hope you’ll join me here.

Silver Wind in Zadar, Croatia
Silver Wind in Zadar, Croatia

Silver Whisper in the foreground, Silver Cloud in the background on the River Neva in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Silver Whisper in the foreground, Silver Cloud in the background on the River Neva in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Silver Cloud passes beneath the Tower Bridge in London
Silver Cloud passes beneath the Tower Bridge in London

13 July 2013 Visby, Sweden: The Island of Roses, Ruins, and Rings

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Visby is a wrinkle in the fabric of time.

It is one of those places on this planet where you can time travel, in this case back to about the year 1300.[whohit]-Visby-[/whohit]

This is a small place, with not a huge amount of things to do.

But it is a very interesting place to experience.

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A tall ship in the modern harbor

Visby is on Gotland, the largest island in the Baltic Sea, about 3,140 square kilometers or 1,200 square miles in size.

The two-mile-long Ringmuren (Ring Wall) encircles the city and the ruins of its ancient church.

The wall, about 11 meters or 36 feet tall, was completed in 1288.

There were originally 51 towers of various designs; 27 of them remain.

The purpose of the walls was primarily not to protect from enemy attacks, but rather to isolate the local residents from the city’s foreign traders.

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Roses

At Almadalen Park and elsewhere around Visby, all around are the town’s namesake flowers: Visby Roses.

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Churches at Every Turn

Gotland has a notable collection of medieval churches; there are some 92 still in use, and ten of them are in Visby itself.

The treasure is the Visby Cathedral, the Church of St. Mary’s, which served German merchants during the city’s commercial heyday.

Dedicated to Saint Mary, it was first constructed in the 12th century, and rebuilt a century later.

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Party Times

Today, Visby is one of the more popular vacation destinations for Scandinavians in the summer.

Each year, Visby is the scene of Almedalen Week (Almedalsveckan), an important retreat for everyone involved in Swedish politics. In August, at the peak of the tourist season, they hold Medieval Week. Many of the locals dress in costumes and events include jousting tournaments, theater, music, and souvenir stalls.

On our visit today, though, we arrived betweern the politicians and the jousters. I believe those are two different groups of people, but I’m not fully certain.

All text and photos Copyright 2013 by Corey Sandler. If you would like a photo, please contact me.

 

12 July 2013 Stockholm, Sweden: Royals, Near-Royals, and Royalties

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Stockholm is one of the gems of the Baltic, very much worth a visit, especially on a spectacular Scandinavian summer day.[whohit]-Stockholm-[/whohit]

Stockholm was founded about 1250 and has been at the country’s military, political, economic, and cultural center for almost all of that time.

Greater Stockholm spreads across fourteen islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren.

We have been to Stockholm many times. If you’re new in town, there are more than a few wondrous major attractions. At the top of my list is the Vasa Museum. You come in from the bright Swedish summer day through a pair of dark glass doors which close behind you. There is another set of dark doors ahead of you.

You exit that buffer zone and enter into a dimly lit hall that holds a nearly intact 17th century ship. It is the 64-gun warship Vasa.

They spared almost no expense in building the Vasa, equipping her with the latest technology and outfitting her in great style. Vasa was completed in 1628, and set sail on her maiden voyage. She did not get far.

Within a mile, the ship rolled over and sank in the harbor.

For all of the money spent on her construction, they should have spent just a few more kroner on engineering. The ship was top heavy.

The cold water and silt of the harbor preserved her. When Vasa was rediscovered in the 1960s, the Swedes employed modern technology to raise the ship and preserve it in one of the finest museums of its type anywhere in the world.

The Swedish Royal Family has been busy with two weddings and a baby shower in the past few years. But I don’t think they have to worry about running out of space for the in-laws and the sisters, cousins, and aunts.

The Stockholm Palace (Stockholms slott) is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch.

The palace has 609 rooms and is one of the largest royal palaces in the world still in use.

It is located on Stadsholmen (“city island”), in Gamla Stan (the old town).

King Carl XVI Gustaf and the other members of the Swedish Royal Family have offices here, and there are formal rooms for state occasions.

You can visit the Royal Palace in town, or one of the many, many others in the country. There’s Drottningholm, the current private residence of the royal family. And Rosersberg out in the suburbs. An often-overlooked palace—very close to town—is Rosendal, a pleasure palace built in the 1820s for the imported French marshal who was brought in to head the Swedish royalty.

You can stroll the streets for shopping or dining, or just to absorb the warmth that seems to infuse the personality of most locals; I have a theory that they are soaking up the sun and storing away its warmth in preparation for the not-so-sunny and much colder winter to come.

But, as I said, we have been here many times before. On this port call we set about to visit some of the lesser-visited jewels of Stockholm.

A Wheel Over Stockholm

We began by taking the Metro to the developing suburb of Globen where a set of arenas and shopping malls is sprouting like mushrooms. The biggest of the mushrooms is said to be the largest spherical building in the world; it is an arena used for ice hockey, basketball, and concerts. And on the outside is a most unusual piece of engineering called Skyview.

It looks like a half-completed Ferris wheel. The glass cars are not hung from the frame of a wheel; instead they ride on a track on the outside of the building. It is a most impressive piece of engineering. The view: well, it’s pretty enough.

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Skyview

Another Royal Vessel

Next we headed for The Maritime Museum, another gem not often visited. It contains ship’s models and artifacts, as well as the entire stern and part of the opulent captain’s quarters of yet another significant ship from Swedish history: the Royal Schooner Amphion, completed in 1778 and in service until 1885.

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The Royal Schooner Amphion at the Maritime Museum

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A figurehead and ship’s model at the Maritime Museum

A Private Palace

On our list for a visit was the Hallwyl Museum, a magnificent palace in the heart of Stockholm. I call it a palace, because few other words would suffice. However, this was the private residence of the von Hallwyl family. The patriarch was a baron of a different type: a lumber baron.

This treasure is nearly in the center of Stockholm, not far from the Dramatiska Teatrn, the ornate gilded theater near the end of the main harbor.

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The Hallwyl Museum

The spectacular dining room and private rooms would more than suit a royal. Most of the furnishings were given by the family for the museum.

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Inside Hallwyl

In a special exhibition, we saw some of the clothing of the time: men’s formal wear as laid out by a proper valet. (Downton Abbey’s Bates would approve.) And in another room, a display of ladies’ “unmentionables” which looked to me more like protective armor than underwear.

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Ladies’ unmentionables, and men’s mentionables at Hallwyl 

They’re Back…

The Swedes have a pretty fierce history of military scuffles: with Denmark-Norway, Napoleon, and the various trading unions of the Baltic.

But in modern times, one of the fiercest powers was a group of four musicians who played catchy tunes and wore a lot of Spandex.

In May of 2013, Stockholm was invaded by ABBA: The Museum.

Stockholm Sweden Jul12 2013-6032

A recreation of one of the places where some Abba songs were written, or so they say

It is located on Djurgaarden island, next to the 17th-century Vasa museum and the Skansen outdoor museum.

For better or for worse, the four members of Abba are back together, dressed like the 1970s never ended.And they’re still collecting royalties.

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Costumes of the Abba people

In one room, computer-generated holograms are projected on a stage with an extra microphone, and for no extra charge you, too, can lip-sync to an Abba song and dance with strange, jerky motions.

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You, too, can lip-sync and twitch on stage

In fact ABBA has never sounded better…that is to say, modern technology may make them sound better than they ever did…or perhaps the passage of time heals all wounds.

Sorry, but they just don’t ring my chimes.

But the museum was packed and the visitors seemed to greatly enjoying the music.

Mama mia!

All photos copyright 2013 by Corey Sandler. If you would like a copy of any photo please contact me.

 

18 June 2013 Helsingborg, Sweden: Lighter and Brighter than Hamlet

As our voyage on Silversea Silver Cloud nears an end, we made a call at Helsingborg, Sweden, at the north end of the Øresund Strai between this country and Denmark.

Tonight we arrive in Copenhagen. To those guests leaving us here, Janice and I wish you safe travels. For the rest of you–and new friends coming aboard–we look forward to the next leg: up the coast of Norway to the top and then on to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk in Russia.

Here in Helsingborg, it was a beautiful sunny and clear day, as light as a feather. It was clear enough to see across the strait to Elsinore Castle, the setting for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. That great play is a masterpiece of murder, revenge, incest, and other themes no at all light on the mind.

But we enjoyed the sun, feasted on fresh strawberries and lemonade, and girded ourselves for the voyage to the attic of Russia next week.

As a reminder, if you want copies of any of my photographs, please click on the tab marked Order a Photo, or send me an e-mail at    corey[at]sandlerbooks.com    (Substitute an @ for [at] please.)

And please don’t hesitate to keep in touch. We look forward to sailing with you again.

COREY and JANICE

Helsingborg Sweden 18Jun2013-4610 Helsingborg Sweden 18Jun2013-4614 Helsingborg Sweden 18Jun2013-4619