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Published: June 26th 2017
The fourth and final day of our Stockholm trip. This afternoon we begin to make our way back home. We do however, have time for one last excursion – the Royal Canal is a stretch of water that separates Djurgården Island from mainland Stockholm.
What is it with boats and us?? Everywhere we go, even when we are not officially on a cruise, we seem to end up on a boat. You would have thought that this 'rule'
shouldn't apply in the deserts of Jordan and Dubai but aren't camels also known as ‘ships of the desert'??!!
Before we left the hotel for the last time there was a small matter of checking out the fitness centre. Now before you all begin thinking I have started to dabble in the world of fantasy and fiction let me make it clear that I had no intention of working out on the latest cross trainer or pumping iron on a state-of-the-art weights machine. I'm a great believer that the human body has a finite number of heartbeats. Use up you quota and it's game over!! Why on earth would I want to waste any on exercise!!!
The door next to
our room read ‘FITNESS CENTRE'. I had to investigate because for the last 3 days I would have thought we'd hear at least the flywheels of the rowing machines or the clunking of metal-on-metal as the weight machines are taken through their paces. Nothing!! It has been so quiet during our stay. Now either the fitness centre is not used very often or everyone is so considerate and exercising really quietly!!
I opened the door to the fitness centre and what greeted me was not, as I had expected, a plethora of contraptions and paraphernalia but a flight of stairs!! In fact 4 flights of stairs down and several more up!! I looked down the stair well. These just seemed to lead to the reception area and the dining room. I suppose if you challenged this as not being a gym, the hotel would advise you if you run up and down the stairs a few times you'd soon feel the burn. (Or as we're in Sweden, shouldn't that be ‘feel the björn'!!???)
Now, how many modes of transport can one make in a single day. Lets see, shall we?? 1. WALKING:
We took the short walk
down to Nybrokajen. There were a lot of people milling around buying tickets for the various tours. Not all would be purchasing the Royal canal cruise.
According to the map, the royal canal cruise starts from Strömkajen and picks up at Nybrokajen. If we stayed here, the boat could be almost full by the time it arrived so we took the executive decision to walk the ½ kilometre or so through Stallgatan, passing the most exclusive hotel in Stockholm, the Grand Hotel to a rather large queue all waiting for the Royal Canal tour!! Just as I thought. At least we'll get a seat. 2. BOAT:
The boat was practically full. A few spare seats dotted around. We managed to get a seat on the aft deck. Each seat came with a map of the route showing specific landmarks and a set of headphones that gave a commentary in 11 languages. Of course, I get the only set of ‘phones' that's stuck on Estonian!!!
As we sailed under the bridge that leads to Skeppsholmen we turned in to the basin and Nybrokajen came in to view. However, to my dismay we didn't stop to let on passengers
to fill the few remaining seats as this would have made our decision to walk to the other quay all the worth while. No, we didn't stop because another boat was just leaving the quay. This other boat was only half full and guess what..??? it followed us all the way through the canal!! I'm stuck on this rather over crowded tug (I wish backpackers didn't bring their back packs on with them!!), listening to the Estonian version of how in 1912, the royal canal was used for most of the aquatic sports for the V Olympiad (such as the rowing, diving and water polo) and those on the other boat are living the Dolce Vita! Oh why, cruel fate, do you mock me!!!???
The cruise lasted approximately 50 minutes and by entering the Royal Canal, we left the city behind and sat back and enjoyed the leafy suburbs of Stockholm. We passed many embassies and consulates and waved at the members of the Stockholm rowing club who have their headquarters and boathouse on the banks of the canal.
Kaknästornet peered atop the trees before coming in to view. This tower is a major hub of Swedish TV,
radio and satellite. Standing at 170m high, it used to be the tallest structure in Scandinavia but has since been surpassed by several structures so now is relegated to 4 tallest.
The canal opened up and as we rounded the isle of Djurgården and headed back toward the familiar skyline of Stockholm City we were privileged to witness the full majesty of the Cunard liner ‘Queen Elizabeth'.
‘One day, Roisin!! One day!!!'
I was heard muttering to myself! 3. TRAM:
Nobelparken is a small park at the end of Strandvägen. Still using our 3 day travel card we jumped on tram number 7 that took us to the entrance of this green belt, although the shape of the park is not so much a belt but more of a buckle!!
Nobel park is what they call an ‘arboretum'.
It is a study place for trees, foliage and fauna. Here, I am told, you can find nearly every tree that grows wild in Sweden. We weren't prepared, however, to test this claim. It is a fact that I will wholly accept without prejudice and file in the darkest corner of my brain probably as I'll never have
to use it again!!
We strolled along the banks of the park even waving to the next lot of pasengers that sailed by Djurgårdsbrunnsviken on their way up the Royal canal. Roisin even stopped to have a paddle in the somewhat tepid waters of the bay.
We stumbled across a statue of what I thought was either a lady hunter with a golden bow or it was a male hunter with man boobs!! Either way the person was laying stretched, caressing a male deer with golden antlers. Maybe he or she woke up after a night out where copious amounts of alcohol was drunk wondering why he or she was handcuffed to a male deer!!! This may have been where the term ‘stag do'
came from!!! Since writing this, I have learned that the figure is the Goddess Diana and she is dormant. The sculpture is therefore, you'll be unsurprised to learn, called the ‘Dormant Diana'. 4. TRAIN
and 5. BUS:
Picking up our luggage from the Hotel, we took the Metro back to T-Centralen where we picked up the bus for the 30 minute journey to the airport. 6.PLANE:
We boarded the plane on time
but were kept waiting for nearly 1 hour as the captain apologetically explained that the previous pilot had left without signing the log. It's against IAA policy and probably against the law to leave without an up-to-date log. Looking at the cabin crew I'm not surprised. I wouldn't say the ages of the cabin crew were above average but I saw passengers giving them
wheelchair assistance!!! They didn't seem the happiest bunch either. He probably couldn't wait to get off the plane!! 7.CAR
On arriving back at Manchester about 45 minutes late, we phoned the car park and within 30 minutes we were loaded and driving the 30 miles or so back home.
So, 7 modes of transport in one day. I know it's nowhere near a world record but not bad for a balmy day in July. If we were in China or Thailand I'm sure we would have had the opportunity to add a Rickshaw or Tuk-Tuk to that list!!
Stockholm was a welcome break and we would have no hesitation to return.
So, the next trip will be on a cruise through the Panama Canal. We depart on 24th
September to San Francisco
picking up the Island Princess on 28th
September. It will probably come round quicker than you think!!!
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