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Published: August 31st 2014
Tsamaya in a Well Protected Marina
in Kalmar, Sweden with lots of other boats from a number of countries.
We are currently in Kalmar, Sweden. We arrived here on August 8th and are still here waiting for the winds to change direction. Well, Tsamaya has been in Kalmar since then, but we weren’t - I’ll explain this later! When we first got here we found out that there was a music festival going on so in the evening we wandered around town and got a chance to listen to a great band. Not sure even who they were but by the reaction of the crowd and knowing that they were on the main stage on a Friday night we figured they were popular around here. A great introduction to this town.
It has been a nice place to stop with quite a bit to do in the area, but best of all it gave us a couple of days in one place to meet up with our friends, Denise & Jean-Pierre. We have quite a few things in common and have been friends since the time of our meeting in Catskill, NY when we were both returning to our respective homes (Trumansburg and Montreal) with the purchase of our “new”sailboats. Getting to know each other for the
Kalmar Lets Everyone Know Where They Are
as seen by this sign at the entrance to the harbor.
few days we were in Catskill we found that not only did we get married on the same date, but it was in the same year! We have known each other for 7 years now. About a year ago Denise had this idea that it would be great for us to get together for our 40th
anniversary. This summer they were in France visiting family and friends, and we were in Sweden. They made the incredible effort to fly to Copenhagen, rent a car, then drive the 4 hours to Kalmar where we are. They arrived on August 9 in time for dinner and champagne on our boat. The next day, our anniversary August 10th
we spent the day together and drove out to the “Kingdom of Crystal”about an hour’s drive from Kalmar. It is known as the glassblowing region of Sweden. We started out by heading to Kosta Glasbruk which is Sweden’s oldest glassworks started in 1742. The furnaces were working even on a Sunday because it was the last day of a five-day workshop.
We have been to Corning Glass to see glassblowing there and the technique was the same, but what really struck us
Our First Night in Kalmar
we were able to listen to a great group which were part of a 3 day Music Festival.
here was the lack of safety equipment and the rules and regulations regarding walking through the factory. In fact they had children trying out glassblowing. They did the blowing through the pipe, and they also helped with the shaping of the glass! At one point the glassblower even brought the rod with the red glowing hot “glob”of molten glass up into where we were sitting and you were close enough to feel the heat from it. We were fortunate in this case to see the process of making a glass plate up close without any safety barriers between us. We don’t mean to suggest that they were reckless. In fact quite the opposite. We always felt perfectly safe, but it was clear to us the price we pay in America with living in a litigious society. These young children were having an incredible experience, one that would never be allowed in the United States because of the fear of lawsuits.
We have found on our travels that this is the case in many countries –they appear to give more credit to people to be responsible enough to know that they need to keep a safe distance. On
top of this there is not the fear or threat of a lawsuit. What a refreshing idea! In fact this is a good time to talk about one of the things we have noticed in the Scandinavian countries. People have this idea that because of the socialist structure of these countries that therefore people have less personal responsibility. In fact it’s quite the opposite. In all of these countries we noticed that in several of the supermarkets there were one armed bandits for gambling, something that would never be allowed in the United States. Smoking is restricted in public buildings but you can buy cigarettes from vending machines all over the place and you don’t see innumerable posters encouraging people not to smoke. It’s as if they recognize that adults have the choice, but the responsibility for that choice is their own and the government stays out of your way. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of regulations, but the majority of those regulations are related to ensuring that businesses live up to their responsibility to provide safe and healthy products and services. When visiting public parks you do not see fences around every corner, but a subtle
A Great Group We Listened to at the Music Fest
You could view them on stage as well as on the large screen projection.
sign at the entrance to the park warning you of any hazard. The result of this is that we have seen far less risky behavior from the public. Where in United States we have regularly seen young people climbing over and under fences to get access to dangerous areas in these countries. Where there are no fences you don’t see any of that kind of behavior or at least we have not. Very interesting!
After watching the glassblowing we went to their gallery. These were definitely more modern in design and many were not of our “taste”but you could definitely appreciate the work that went into the design and creation of these items.
We continued our journey by going to the town of Boda and went through the Glass Factory Glass Museum. They provided the history of glassblowing in this region of Sweden and the ups and downs of the industry. They had many historic pieces on display showing how the design of glass has changed over the years. At certain periods of time owning many items made of glass was a true sign of status and wealth, giving an up rise in the
importance of glassmaking. Glassware has gone through many stages including times with the very intricate cutting of glass in to the typical “punch bowl”design of yesteryear to the very functional design of IKEA and everything in between. The influence of other countries was also seen as many learned from the French, Belgian and even the US! We stopped at a couple more glass “shops”on the way back to Kalmar, but neither couple broke the bank with any purchases, but it was fun looking. That evening we stopped in to see the Kalmar Cathedral which was built between 1660-1703 before going out for our celebration dinner which we of course started out with another bottle of champagne - you only celebrate your 40th
Fortunately Denise & Jean-Pierre didn’t need to leave until the afternoon the next day so we decided to check out the local museum, the Kalmar Lans Museum. We were very impressed with the guided tour that told us the history of the Swedish warship, Kronan, that was actually larger than the Vasa that we went to see when in Stockholm (I promise you’ll get that information in the near future!) Kronan was the height
of a 6 story building with 126 guns onboard. She was built in 1668, but in 1676 during a battle with the Danish-Dutch fleet it made a fateful turn, listed with too much sail up and then exploded sinking quickly with 800 people on board. 42 people survived to tell the story of what happened during this battle. Surprisingly between 1680-1686 60 of the bronze cannons were recovered with the use of a very primitive diving bell. The ship sank in 27 meters (88 1/2 Feet) of water making this a major accomplishment for that time. No one knows the whereabouts of any of those, but fortunately 32 more cannons have been recovered between 1980-1987. Due to the explosion much of the ship was lost, but they have recovered numerous articles from this shipwreck which has taught them more about the people and the furnishings of that time. One exceptional find was the largest gold treasure found in Sweden –260 gold coins! Many silver coins were found as well which opened up the question of why so much money was on a warship. One thought was that the wealthy captain of the ship may not have trusted anyone back on
The Kalmar Cathedral
built in the 12th C. but presently what you see is from the 16th C.
land with his wealth. The museum had an excellent display of the various finds they have made - everything from medicine found in a pharmacy chest, pieces of clothing and even a few musical instruments. It's important to note that all of this work was done by volunteer divers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time with our friends, Denise and Jean-Pierre. We even decided that we should plan to get together to celebrate our 60th
somewhere so stayed tune for that one!
After they left we did a few things that needed to be done on the boat and also visited the Kalmar Castle. This castle was very important for the defense as Kalmar is located only a few miles from what had been the border between Denmark and Sweden. These two countries had been battling for years therefore Sweden felt the need to build up its fortification at this location. In the 12th
century a stone tower was built, with the fortress and castle added in the 13th
century. What we see today is how it looked in the 16th
century. With the help of the guide we better understand the tension that had
The entrance doorway
of the Kalmar Cathedral
existed for years between the various Scandinavian countries. Kalmar Castle was important historically as the location where the Kalmar Union was signed in 1397 uniting what were then Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The main purpose of this union was to keep Germany from expanding throughout the Baltic region. The Swedish nobility were not happy with what they felt was domination by the Danes and did everything they could to break up the union. They were successful in starting to do this in 1430 which continued until the union was finally destroyed by the early 1500’s.
We decided looking at the weather we could make a couple of short “hops”but then we would get caught for a few days with some ugly looking weather. The other option would be for Tsamaya to stay in Kalmar at a very safe and secure harbor and for us to get the train or rent a car and go to Copenhagen. It was on our plan to go there with the boat. After weighing the pros and cons we decided that the road trip was the best option. Renting a car also looked like the less expensive option so on Saturday we
Many Detailed Carvings
seen in the Kalmar Cathedral
drove to Denmark! If you are wondering how we could do this so quickly, it is due to the fact that in 2000 a bridge/tunnel was built between the two countries with a length of 7.5 miles.
We had been told about an excellent Viking Museum near Copenhagen in the town of Roskilde so decided to drive there first. In looking up the details we found that they were having a Viking Festival this weekend so that would be a bonus. We made plans to get to the museum in time for the noon English speaking guided tour. The guide did an excellent job of explaining who the Vikings were and where the various groups traveled. She also tried to dispel many of the myths surrounding the Vikings including the all too famous helmet with horns which never really existed! Sorry for all of you that believed that it did. As she explained the term, Viking was more an explanation of a “job”rather than a people. To say one was a Viking stated that in fact you were a pirate. Common usage today refers to the people living in this part of the world during a very
in the Kalmar Cathedral
set period of time. There were three main areas that Vikings came from. Those from Sweden were mainly traders that traveled south through the Black Sea and on to Constantinople. The Norwegian “Viking”was known as the explorers. They traveled in a westerly direction discovering Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Those that came from Denmark were of the warrior type of Viking traveling south through England and Europe. Those that pushed in this direction even attacked Paris quite often. The powers that be in Paris eventually decided that the way to protect themselves would be to negotiate with other Vikings for protection from the Danes. In return for protection the Vikings were given land. This was an excellent arrangement that successfully protected France from the Danes. The land that was given to the Vikings was named after them, land of the North people or Normandy.
The excitement at this museum was first the finding of 5 Viking ships dating from 1070 near this location in very shallow water in 1962. Later in the 1990’s they uncovered 9 more ships. The first five are on display which include the largest Viking warship ever found at 36 meters (118 ft.) long,
Children Were Allowed To Help
with the blowing and shaping of the hot molden glass.
2 cargo ships, a fishing vessel and another smaller warship. Only about 18% of the original wood has been saved, but even with this small amount they have learned much about the building of these ships by building replicas of them and test sailing them. They know that these ships were not lost in battle, but were sunk on purpose in order to block the most important sea way in order to protect the town of Roskilde. After spending a good part of the day in the museum we then wandered around outside to see the numerous craftspeople that made up the Viking Festival. There were the typical craftspeople you would expect, blacksmiths, weavers, leather workers, and rope makers but they also had an area where they were making charcoal. Charcoal is essential for the making of iron and therefore was a highly valued commodity in the Viking community. One person also had on display various birds of prey which included hawks and owls. It was a very full day between the drive from Sweden, visiting the museum for most of the day and then driving into Copenhagen to check into our hotel, but a very pleasant one.
People Can Be Responsible
to keep a safe distance without having been told as seen in the glass factories here.
Sunday we visited the Danish National Museum which was very well done and contained so much that it was not possible for us to completely explore all the rooms in a day’s time. We spent most of our time exploring the areas covering the Middle Ages and the Bronze Age. It rained quite a bit during the day therefore it was a perfect museum day and the price of admission was free which was a nice bonus.
Monday took us to the Rosenborg Castle where the Danish Treasury containing the Crown Jewels and other valuables are held. We were very surprised that there were no restrictions on taking photos here as there was when we saw the crown jewels in Scotland. We also went through the Castle itself where some of the rooms reminded us of others that we have visited but with some differences. This castle was originally built as a summer home in 1606 in the Dutch Renaissance style, but was expanded into its present shape and size in 1624. It housed the Danish Royalty until 1710 and then used only during times of emergency after that. The furnishings that we saw here are
What Looks Like the Makings of an Orange Vase
actually made into the green plate you see at the bottom
from the 16th
to the early 19th
century. One of the most unique objects we saw was the Queen’s lathe (yes that’s right a turning lathe). After asking for clarification we found that turning ivory was a common hobby among Royalty and the Queen was no exception. It was thought that working on a lathe helped teach mathematics as well as mechanical skills, but also patience and planning abilities which are excellent qualities for the monarchy. The Queen wanted to have a lathe in her sitting room to use, but in order to do so she had it put into a beautiful piece of furniture so that when it was closed it did not look out of place in her sitting room.
The castle also had what was called “speaker”tiles in the floor. These were small holes in a few tiles in the corners of the room that would allow the sound of an orchestra playing downstairs to be heard throughout the building. Speaker boxes were also installed in a few of the rooms so that a person could speak into the “tube”in one room in order to talk to a person in another. Quite the advancements
A Few Examples of the Type of Glass Work
that have been made in the past as well as the present.
We did some wandering around the city making it to the Marble Church and then on to the area called Nyhavn which was created in 1671 famous for its sailor bars and nightlife. Now it is quite touristy but still a wonderful place to wander and see the very colorful buildings along the waterfront and a number of old sailing ships tied up in the canals. It reminded us of our visit to Amsterdam. It was raining on and off all day therefore we took time to hop on a water taxi which is part of the excellent public transportation system here. We got a chance to see more of the area which took us past the new Opera House, and the Library nicknamed the Black Diamond due to the way it looks lit up at night. We also got to see the Naval yard and the Royal Yacht and of course the Little Mermaid. We didn’t get too close to it, but did at least get a chance to see this Copenhagen icon. It was a great way to see more of the area and still stay dry. Fortunately for us in the early
We Liked this Piece
but at 36,000 Swedish Krona ($5,400) we decided not to add it to our collection!
evening the skies cleared up and we had a pleasant walk back on the longest pedestrian street here in town and to the train station where we caught the train back to our hotel.
The last day in Copenhagen we visited the Amalienborg Palace which is where the Royal Family lives. The changing of the guard takes place at this location each day at noon so we decided to take this in as well. The size and type of guard is dependent on which of the Royal family members are at home. Fortunately for us two of the Princes were in so the band also played in the ceremony. It definitely was enjoyable to watch the guards march and listen to the band; however, we have decided that no one can do pomp and ceremony as well as the Brits with their much more precise marching and far more elaborate ceremony.
The Amalienborg Palace is made up of 4 identical buildings which were built in the 18th
century in the Danish Rococco style. In one of the buildings they have a museum set up which shows you some of the rooms of the previous
kings as they had been when they were alive. This showed them more as family people with numerous family photos displayed, pipe collections and where they sat and read or wrote. It gave a much more human feel to the Danish royalty. One of the most interesting facts that we picked up was how interconnected the royal family was with royalty of many other nations. Queen Louise and King Christian X became known as “Europe’s Parents-in-Law”. Four of their six children ascended to a European throne. One became King of Denmark who married the Princess of Sweden and Norway, another son became King of Greece marrying the Russian Grand Dutchess, Princess Alexandra became Queen of England marrying Edward VII and another daughter became Empress of Russia after marrying Czar Alexander III. The youngest son remained in Denmark but married a French Princess. Not leaving out the last daughter she became Dutchess of Cumberland and lived in Austria. The Queen felt the family was very important and would have family gatherings bringing everyone together back in Denmark. Fortunately many of them returned and they have photos and paintings of the “family”with all the royalty in attendance from the various European countries
at a “simple’family gathering. .
We had bought a 72 hour ticket for the public transportation system while in Copenhagen. This gave us the ability to take any of the trains, buses, metros (subways) or water taxis in the city. Even though this is an easy city to walk around our hotel was located out toward the airport so we used the train each day to get into the city. On a few of the days we had quite hard downpours so we did take advantage of the metro in town as well.
On our drive back to Kalmar, Sweden we decided to swing down to Kaseberga to see the Ale Stenar (stone boat). It was very windy and cold down by the coast, but we hiked up the hill to see what this was about as we had heard of it from friends of ours. It is Sweden’s largest preserved stone ship which was believed to be from between 500-1000 AD. They had excellent explanations of the astronomical relationship with the stones and how it would appear during the various phases of the sun. It was quite different from our visit to Stonehenge
There Was An Exhibit of Glass from Turkey
We look forward to going there ourselves to see these in person and not on display in a glass museum
which was very controlled. Here you were able to walk right up to the stones and enter into the center of the stone ship. It definitely makes you marvel at how these stone ships were established and how much relied on the knowledge of geometry and their observations of the sun.
Driving back we went through a very heavily forested area of the country with numerous lakes and ponds. The southern portion of the country that we drove through has large farms with fields of crops, numerous herds of cattle and sheep. The highway system is very good and made for a very pleasant journey. We were surprised by a few of the road signs on our travels; we saw warnings for moose and wild boar besides the normal deer and cattle crossings. We didn't spot any of the more unusual wildlife, but did get a glimpse of a few deer in the fields.
We had to have the rental car back by 6PM and as usual you need to fill the tank with gas (or in this case diesel). We found this was easier said than done! Most of the gas stations here
A Dress Made of Glass?
Fortunately this was a piece of artwork & not one to wear!
are automated without any attendants at all. You can only use a credit card with a pin number and chip –even cash is not accepted! We do not have a credit card that uses a pin number so we stopped at numerous stations to find that we were out of luck. The end result was we had to pay Hertz to fill the tank for us - we will definitely be checking on being sure we get a pin for our credit card in the future. We never thought this would be such a difficult task. In talking to the people at Hertz I asked about kids that start to drive –how do they deal with it. I was told that kids at the age of 13 could get credit cards here, but all of their transactions show up on the parent’s cell phone so they know what is being spent. I was also told that now you can charge items without even approving them at various restaurants and businesses. I still like the idea that there is some type of approval of a charge on my card, but it appears that is not the norm here in Denmark or
An Outline of the Gronan
next to the museum building showing it was 6 stories tall
Sweden. The irony is that when we do use our credit card here we are always asked for another means of identification. We typically show our driver’s license and they always enter our birthdates into their system for security clearance –interesting system!
Well, we are now back in Kalmar and still will be sitting here for a few more days waiting for weather. Fortunately it does appear that we will get a break in the weather soon and will be able to move again. We are now in the process of heading back to Amsterdam where we will keep the boat for the winter.
Footnote: We finally got a change in the weather and left Kalmar on August 24th
with numerous other boats that were also waiting for an opening to move. Will keep you updated on our future travels as well as fill you in on the large missing gap between the last entry of Tallinn and Kalmar as there was lots of interesting places that we visited including Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Stockholm along with numerous other stops on the way.
We have been in and out of areas
Congratulations to Jean Pierre & Denise
on our common anniversary date celebrating 40 years!
with wi-fi good enough to post this blog entry so we are now posting this from our current location as of August 30th
of Rendsburg located in the Kiel Canal on our way out of the Baltic! Hope everyone back in the US is having a great Labor Day weekend! It is suppose to rain hard tomorrow so will probably stay here another day so will give me time to work on another blog entry - we will see how that works out!
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