Saturday June 27, 2009

Today’s port-of-call is another of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Stockholm encompasses several peninsulas and 14 islands, interlinked by canals and bridges, with parks, fine squares, an impressive Royal Palace, and a superbly preserved medieval Old Town with narrow twisting cobbled streets,

The sun was shining brilliantly (again!) as we headed off on a waterbus tour. And, I’ve gotta tell you: this Swedish waterfront with its spectacular buildings, steeples, architecture, colours and boats is a sight-for-sore-eyes.

We then dropped in on a stunning museum that houses the 17th century Swedish warship, Vasa. This one-time pride of the country’s navy (which took several years to build and only 25 minutes to sink!) was salvaged much more recently from the muddy bottom of the harbour – and brilliantly restored.

Another sight-for-sore-eyes? You bet …

But wait – there’s more!

Following yet another four-course gourmet feast in the Prinsendam’s La Fontaine Restaurant … and another classy song-and-dance show in the Queen’s Lounge … a bunch of us Kiwis headed out on deck to enjoy some spectacular views as our ship made its way back out through the Stockholm archipelago. Three hours is what it took, cruising past countless thousands of rocky islands and outcrops, weaving through narrow passages, in a sea that was as still as glass, under a sky that was still brightly lit at 9:30pm.

More sights-for-sore-eyes? Most definitely! But, of course, we’ve had little else on this fantastic Baltic adventure …

PEOPLE NEWS: No awards today – just a birthday, for Tony, who received a silly little toy goose from us, and a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ (plus a cake) from the restaurant staff.

TOMORROW: We spend the morning in a red-roofed island town that’s one of Sweden’s most beloved resorts. We’re over halfway now, folks, so keep watching …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) under the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And don’t worry: we’ll make sure they get these messages.