A day of sweltering heat, time to do something! As last year, Honeybuns and I went touristing in our own city, this time on water: Under the Bridges of Stockholm with the long and low Delfin boats. We started with lunch, good and plentiful Thai dishes in one of the eateries in Kungsträdgården and then got on the boat at Strömkajen.
We leave the quay and don the headset for the audio guide. I turn to the Finnnish channel, to see what it’s like. I note that since there is a person speaking, the translation has to be good, as a Google translation would be unspeakable. (What if you did do a Google translation, that then was read by a non-native speaker? I just tested translating Swedish into Finnish and then running the results through the Speech service of my Mac. Oh dear, oh dear&hellip) As tour guides are wont, we get a stream of random factoids about Sweden and the parts of Stockholm we pass. In the breaks we get “Swedish music”: various hits arranged as cocktail jazz—just imagine “The Final Countdown” tinkled on piano. Or, rather, don’t.
The city is at its best, the sun glitters in the water, the houses glimmer in the heat. People from all over the world have come to see the fabled city—the Chinese woman speaks with an unmistakeable Småland accent. A sea breeze blowing in through the open door to the bridge cools us. Happy screams from Gröna Lund echo over the water. Cruise ships line the quays, skerry boats, sailboats, jet skis, and RIB boats fill the water…
Out of nowhere Djurgården 7 turns up on our port side and only a sharp turn saves us from colliding, the boats miss each other with perhaps a metre to spare! While we passengers already have imagined tomorrow’s headlines featuring our watery demise, the captain doesn’t seem to think that there is anything amiss, as no apology or explanation for the event is given; we proceed as if nothing had happened to Karl-Johansslussen in order to enter the Mälaren side of Stockholm.
It is a hot day, and every bit of the waterfront is filled with people tanning or paddling about in the water.
We round Reymersholme and continue through Årstaviken. All previous companies at my erstwhile working place seem to have been replaced by others, judging from the new logos on the glass façade of the building.
The tour guide prattles on about how the vikings honoured great story-tellers and another great story teller was Carl Michael Bellman. [Musical interlude] Argh! While Fred Åkerström was a famous Bellman interpreter, ”Jag ger dig min morgon” is not by Bellman, but Tom Paxton! (the original).
After having passed through Hammarbyslussen we pass
Hammarby Sjöstad, its buildings and inhabitants basking in the sun. On our way through Danvikstull the guide notes the sheer cliff face is a popular haunt for rock-climbers and indeed a woman is negotiating the cliff, her rope secured by her family. She looks around but decides not to wave at the passing boat.
Soon we have returned to our starting point and get ashore on schedule, 1 h 50 min after departure.
We feel like exploring more, so go for a walk around Skeppsholmen. One of the secret military tunnels in the rock exudes cold air and we stand at the entrance for a while cooling off.
We are still pretty thirsty and when we find Restaurang Hjerta we go in and order something to drink. This turns to be about as easy as buying cheese and it’s only late afternoon! In the end I get a glass of ice water, and not very good-tasting water at that (for free though).
We admire the ships along the quay. While they are all well-kept and well-loved, many of them clearly have not left their moorings for a long time, which is a bit sad. We follow the waterside and end up at af Chapman, where we get something decent to drink and while the afternoon calms down, we sit on the deck and philosophise on how the Red Queen’s Race manifests itself in our lives—you can never say “Yes, this is just enough work for me.”, but have to keep doing more things, just to get to keep doing the things you do.