The weather was not good when we arrived on Wednesday morning. It was raining and it was cold. We were on the berth by 7.30am and briefly the sun came out. But not for long. The ship was moored starboard side on which meant that we could look down on the activity on the quay where numerous coaches were beginning to assemble.
I prefer it if our cabin is looking out over the quay. Generally I book our cabin on the starboard side because, in the main, Captains seem to prefer to moor starboard side on. Jane will tell you I’m wrong about that and uses this voyage as an example because for the first three ports we were port side on.
What I particularly enjoy about overlooking the quay happens in the early evening. We are told to be back on board at a certain time, say 5.30pm. The ship will usually be geared up to sail away 30 minutes later. The staff at the gangway will know at 5.30pm if passengers who went ashore have not returned. If it’s a coachload on a Cunard tour caught in evening traffic, then the ship will wait. But if it’s a few individuals, then their names and cabin numbers are read out across the loudspeaker system and if they are aboard and the computer has not recorded it, then no problem. It is the others who have forgotten the “All Aboard” time who create the most fun.
Sometimes you can see them ambling along without a care in the world until someone shouts out that they’re late and the ship is sailing. Panic sets in, and if they are able to do so, they run! I know I shouldn’t enjoy it, but I do.
If they are very late, they are left behind and have to find their own way to the next port. We have seen that happen.
In Stockholm the Shuttles and Hop on/off buses were appearing, as well as the tour buses. We decided to have breakfast before deciding on the mode of transport.
It was still raining. We decided to take the Hop on/off bus. If it stayed really wet we could remain on the bus. The city was busy, lots of traffic and plenty of red traffic lights. When we reached the Old Town and the Royal Palace we left the bus. The approach to the Old Town appeared steep and cobbled so we found a bar with coffee and settled down to the days sudoku.
The barman produced what appeared to be shot glasses alongside the coffees. The clear liquid in the glasses turned out to be a sweetener and not liquor. Pity – some alcohol might have rejuvenated us.
We then set off up the hill to the Old Town. It was not too difficult despite the cobbles. Quaint narrow streets and quirky shops. A wig shop which the ladies thought might appeal to me! Cheeky.
We then found the Royal Palace. Impressive but because of the large number of coaches outside indicating vast numbers of tourists in the Palace avoiding the rain, we decided not to enter but to return to the ship.
Soon after 6.00pm we set sail. During the day I had checked out previous visits to Stockholm. I had forgotten that on a cruise exactly 5 years ago in May 2018 there was a problem which resulted in the ship being turned away. If you look back in the blog, clicking on May 2018, you will see what happened.
On this visit we were asleep as the ship sailed into Stockholm in the early morning and had not appreciated the distance between the Baltic and the City of Stockholm. The journey is through narrow channels between the 50+ islands that make up the City.
On Wednesday evening we set off on the journey back to the Baltic Sea. It was very similar to those trips down the Norwegian Fiords with houses dotted about amongst the trees.
Some were clearly holiday homes but some were substantial and well established. There were jetties and boats everywhere, but very few people about. These scenes stretched for miles and 2 hours after we set off from Stockholm it was more of the same.
And then it was the open sea and time for dinner.