Saturday, July 14, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere

I had the best of intentions of blogging about the rest of our Sweden trip on a daily basis, but for the past three days, we have been entirely too busy to even squeeze in a few minutes at the computer. In order to keep my remaining posts about the trip manageable to read, I'll split them up by day.

On Wednesday, Roxi's conference activities only lasted a couple of hours in the early morning, so we spent the day riding on boats and touring island fortresses. It all started with our trip to Nya Alvsborg Fortress a few miles out in the harbor. Unfortunately, the weather didn't completely cooperate throughout the early part of our trip. That didn't stop us from getting to see the harbor during the thirty minute boat ride. The fortress was very cool, but the intermittent rain kept us running for cover. The time we did spend outside netted some great views of the fortress and surrounding waters of the harbor. On a clear warm day, one you could easily spend several hours at the fortress enjoying the sun and lush grass areas. Unfortunately, the afore mentioned rain and cold breeze prompted us to conclude our trip visit after about ninety minutes. It ended up working out for the best because we had another trip planned for the afternoon and evening.

The conference had organized a trip and dinner for the evening. It all started at four o'clock with short bus trip back to the harbor where we boarded a larger boat with about 300 other conference attendees. Our destination was the town of Marstrand about 29 miles away by car, but a two and a half hour scenic boat trip.

As the trip started, the rain began to fall which made the initial travel uncomfortable for those of us who were in the outside uncovered deck of the boat. The interior seating areas were full so we crowded into hallways until the rain stopped. It wasn't long before the skies did clear and we were able to truly appreciate the cruise we were taking. I was amazed at the look of the western Swedish coastline. The entire coast is dotted with thousands of rocky islands of various sizes. Some were rather large and included villages while others looked hardly large enough to stand on. As we made the long trip, Roxi and I moved about the several open air decks to see the beautiful scenery.

At about the two hour mark, the main engines of the boat were shut off as we approached a very narrow straight through two rocky islands. We idled through the straight noticing the goats on one of the islands climbing among the rocks to eat the grasses growing between them. After making our pass through the straight, the engines started up again and we made the final part of the journey to Marstrand.

As we approached, it was quite obvious that this was more of a village than a town. There aren't even any cars on the island. There is however a very large fortress looming over the town. Carlsten Fortress sits on the highest point on the island and was built to protect the then border between Sweden and Denmark. Upon our arrival to the island, we were lead up a cobblestone road into the fortress. We were directed up a long stone spiral staircase to a large banquet room where we would be having our viking dinner.

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