Friday, August 26, 2011

Suomi Finland Tourkele part 4: Going To Go Back There Some Day

8/2 - Baltic Sea

As almost expected, I blew out a lace this morning tying up my boots. Since I use six-foot laces overseas for exactly this reason, I was able to pull through and just discard the two-foot short end. That right boot will cut its lace again before all's said and done, and if it does so before packing out at Wacken, I'll just cut the left lace in half and relace both boots out of that one lace rather than going to the backup.

On a more concrete level, I'm repacked for Stockholm->Copenhagen; time to go topside and shoot the inbound leg.

245. The way down to steerage. You climb out of the carpeted, brightly lit decks, and down, down, down into the bowels of the craft.

Feckin robbed at the change desk. The SEK I bought were closer to Danish than their own market rate. Doesn't matter; all I need is a train ticket, and I should have enough to swing that, at least.

246. Swedish coastline through the rails.

247. More coast.

248. Another ship on our track.

About two hours to port; time to rest, then go forward for pics and down for my gear.

249. A small rocky island to the south.

250. Another and a little larger.

251. More islands to the north.

252. You wouldn't think this was salt water, would you? Trees on both flanks.

253. Cool rock formations on the north side.

254. Down into the bow.

255. Ahead along the channel. The stop at Marienhamn is probably necessary for this reason; as can be seen, the approaches to Stockholm are choked with islands, and the channel needs to be tightly scheduled to keep ships from crashing into each other.

256. Into a little bay between islands.

257. Lighthouse on a rock in the channel.

258. Another warning signal to the south.

The washing team was coming through, so I switched sides.

259. High house on the north side.

260. Swans swimming off a private pier.

261. Cable beacon.

262. Windmill idling, probably too far back from the water.

263. Old-style half-timbered house through a gap in the trees.

264. Even out on the rural coast, a full-size pitch cut out of the forest.

265. Car ferry waiting to cross over.

266. Car ferry going across behind us.

267. The trees on this island are having a hard time of it.

268. Birds at anchor.

The sun here is just brutal. I hope I'm not jinxing anything, but I'll be glad to get down to cloudy ol' S-H tomorrow.

269. Another cable post in the channel.

270. An alternate channel off to the south.

271. Between islands on the north side.

272. Another cool light rock.

273. Parasailing rig on the beach.

274. Islands and rips in the water.

275. Passing another small island.

276. Aft panorama, back to the northwest.

We're getting closer to Stockholm, probably half an hour out. It's not worth it to haul my gear up early; pics of the approach, then join the crush like everyone else.

277. The channel closes in.

278. On both sides.

279. This door obviously opens with an Elvish passphrase.

280. Fortifications dug in at the choke point.

281. Observation bunker on the far side.

282. Blockhouse and old customs dock.

283. Car ferry cutting it close.

284. Breakwaters and an older boat.

285. The channel's wide enough here to allow two lanes.

286. Silja Europa, heading the other way.

287. Viking liner crawling through the outbound channel. This is bordering on un-navigable.

288. Old worked-stone dock.

289. Ship through the trees.

290. Bunkers blasted into the cliffside.

291. Ahead towards the suburbs. There was some confusion about this, as my watch is still apparently on Helsinki time, so an hour ahead.

292. This tank farm blends in with the island, which was probably a naval base.

293. This boat was moored a little too tightly at high tide.

294. Another boat clipped to its moorings.


It was a mistake to write "time in Stockholm" down to an hour and a half of pavement-hammering hiking. I'm going to come back, maybe on a winter burndown, and see this town proper. I need to learn Swedish to do so, and a chipped ATM card will help, but it's got to get done.

295. Classical and ultramodern houses side by side.

296. This hotel's celebrating its centennial.

297. Industrial Sweden; up towards a shipyard.

298. Fishing boat and private cat going past us.

299. Statoil tanks down to what looks like a reactor containment dome.

300. Unique fountain sprays off the end of this old breakwater.

301. It's by the Swedish Yacht Club, so they can afford it.

302. Into Stockholm center.

303. Prussian-style manor house.

304. Interesting converted lightship.

305. Closer view of this church complex on Södermalm.

306. Central spires over another ferry.

307. Old decommissioned windmill.

308. Looking up a canal cut.

309. North towards the town center.

310. Coaster tracks and cranes.

311. Central Stockholm, a little closer.

312. Still coming in.

313. Castle on Kastellholmen.

314. A better view of the amusement park.

315. Swedish navy on station.

316. A stable shot into Gamla Stan.

317. Along the southern shore.

The ship was swinging its stern around hard to go up to the slip, so I went down, collected my gear, and prepared for the trip out. Because money was going to be tight -- can't use Swedish ATMs -- this was going to be no bus, all aggressive hiking.

318. Solid bluff beetling over the piers.

319. A right turn won't get you there, but it will get you to the ferry.

320. Yes, seriously. No comment offered, or even really possible.

321. Neat building by the bridge.

322. It seems to grow out of the cliff.

323. Statue at the southern end of Gamla Stan.

324. More of the south side.

325. Awesome alley in Gamla Stan.

326. Another similar, looking up at a clock tower that's getting lost in the light.

327. Church behind some earthmovers.

328. The tower that didn't appear in scene 24shot 325.

329. Everything is just awesome.

330. Classic facade.

331. Statues in Kungsträdgården.

332. Pride flag on a cathedral. Welcome to Scandinavia, where the Christians aren't such dicks about it.

333. Up a cool old street.

334. Sculpture plinth by the central subway station.

335. Along the street towards the central station.

336. In the well heading into the central subway stop.

This was, of course, before I found out -- from a map inside -- that Stockholm-C and T-Central are actually a couple blocks apart. Being experienced with poorly-connected rail systems, I did the hike, won the bet I made in the morning -- that the train would cost less than I was able to convert on the ferry -- got a bottle of water with my last dimes, an sat down by the track to write this up. I've got probably just short of 30 SEK in my pocket, just enough to get a snack on the train, but it was a close-run thing, and if the timing didn't come out exactly, I might not have been able to afford it. Everything about Sweden is cool except their cashmachine security.

After a short delay (late train, change tracks, twiddle thumbs), I'm on board for KBH, with space to unwind even after unpacking my crash bag from the main pack to get it into the overhead rail. The window's a little dusty to shoot out of, but that's ok; I should be back sooner or later.

The climb on the train north (out of Stockholm) is hardcore: ear-popping somewhere between the Peak tram and taking off in an actual airplane. The first stop's highly elevated, but it'll get less so as the terrain comes up to meet it. You don't feel the incline, especially in the tunnels, but the train's going so damn fast that you do feel the pressure differential.

This is really no my day: the cheapest sandwiches in the wagon were 38kr to my 34kr in change. Oh well; two packs of basically cheese crackers (if high-class cheese crackers that go $2 per pack) for lunch, and I still have my last beer from the ferry. Good enough to get to Denmark.

It's almost worth staying awake to see the inertia whip the inter-cabin doors open as the train goes around a curve.

I can only infer that the word that sticks out in the description of a chicken sub as "kyllig med ost og creme de salvia" is a false cognate. Otherwise, wtf?


337. The city that brought you FUBIK DILDO (now sadly effaced) in 2009 has the same question about that slogan as you did. This also is overlooking the Malmö main train station.

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