Baltic cruise: Stockholm

Another day on our cruise finds us on our way into the Swedish port of Stockholm.

The day immediately got off to a fascinating start, as Stockholm is surrounded by an archipelago of tiny islands. Great fun if you have a motorboat to whizz round the sharp corners, but for a 90,000 tonne ship there are only two or three passable routes and the ship has to slow right down to only a few knots.

You can see the archipelago in the mini map below, plus the shipping routes in dotted lines – or you can see for yourself on Google Maps. We approached from Copenhagen in the South-West, circled the archipelago and ultimately homed in on Stockholm from the North-East, along the path of the shipping routes.

A map of Stockholm

I woke up early specifically to stand on deck and watch the ship carefully navigate its winding way through the archipelago. It was a little misty but absolutely beautiful, and I hope some of these photos have captured but a pinch of that beauty.

Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm archipelago

The city itself is spread across several islands, which are connected by a few bridges. It would be a long walk to visit all of the interesting islands, so we bought a day pass for the bus boats that are constantly whizzing around between the islands. This gave a unique view of the city, too.

Here we are standing by the water on Djurgården, an island which is home to an amusement park, several museums and lots of open land.

The family on Djurgarden

Later on, in Gamla stan (the old city) we witnessed the changing of the guard. It’s a grand ceremony with soldiers in full costume on horseback, accompanied by a mounted brass band.

The changing of the guard in Stockholm

We also visited Storkyrkan, the oldest church in Gamla stan. It was built in red brick rather than stone, and had all the usual features you would expect in a large church. It was also fairly dim inside so there wasn’t much scope for good photos, but this unusual stained glass window did catch my eye.

A stained glass window in Storkyrkan

It so happened that Stockholm Gay Pride festival was taking place on that day, too. We watched the parade pass – it was absolutely huge and there was a seemingly unending procession of floats, singers, dancers and actors. I took a few photos over the heads of the crowd.

Stockholm Gay Pride
Stockholm Gay Pride
Stockholm Gay Pride

Sailing out of Stockholm in the late afternoon, I saw a dockyard where the cranes were painted like giraffes. Cute.

A giraffe crane

We were also treated to our first decent sea sunset of the cruise. It was hard to capture such a breathtaking sight on a camera, but here’s my best attempt.

A sunset at sea

To be continued…

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