Category Archives: 2017 Summer Cruising

DENMARK: Avernakø to Ærø

AVERNAKØ

Thursday – Friday, July 27 – 28

One more anchorage and we’d be in ice-cream delight. All set for an easy sail to another island as we left Lyø.

Yet, halfway to our destination I heard an alarm ringing from below. Checking out the VHF (our shipboard radio that receives and transmits by line-of-sight) I saw “Urgency” and “MOB” (man over board) on the screen, something that can create chills. It’s the reason we wear harnesses and clip in and out of steel rings in the cockpit and on lines that run from the cockpit to the bow.

Luckily another signal and announcement occurred thirty minutes later cancelling the alert. Good to hear.

Reaching our next anchorage, a tranquil harbor on a small island, we dinghied in for a long walk along the spine of the island

surrounded by wheat with the occasional dots of red poppies springing up amidst the gold.

After yoga-ing on the beach the next morning we continued on to our next Danish Island.

 

SKARØ

Friday – Sunday, July 28 – 30

Although a small marina offered easier access to the shore we opted for picking up one of the free, yellow moorings available for visiting boats. As long as the letters “DT” appear (versus “DS”) you can grab one. With JUANONA happily hooked up, we headed for land doing our usual standing routine to avoid getting soaked by tumbling waves.

Once ashore we walked the short distance to Skaro’s ice cream factory and sated our dairy thirst with scoops of delicious, homemade ice cream.

I confess one of the reasons I wanted to visit this shop is how this small, Danish island’s specialty could also be found on Singapore Airlines. I loved the idea of our enjoying our creamy icy treats on earth while others could do so 30,000+ feet in the air. Pretty cool (pun intended)!

With plenty of easy walking trails and a few roads we found ourselves in Skaro Kirke built in 1900. Prior to then islanders had to sail or row to the neighboring island of Drejo. I don’t know about you but if I had to row to a religious event I think I’d send a proxy.

No surprise when we entered and spotted the votive ship, something we now expect whenever we visit a Danish church.

A late, afternoon rain storm brought out a kite surfer who entertained us as he whipped the waters back and forth in front of JUANONA’s bow…

and a rainbow.

Another reason for visiting Skaro is its proxmity to Fyn Island’s major yachtie town, Svenborg.

When I asked a young woman* I had met on Lyo what the town offered, she said a lot of stores. ‘For provisioning?’ I asked. She answered ‘well, more for clothes and other items.’ I felt Max’s deep shudder until he realized a marine store would be part of that grouping.

* With so many boaters enjoying many of the same islands, we’re now starting to run into boaters we’ve seen earlier during our summer cruising. Just yesterday I spoke with a Dutch man whom I had last seen in Oslo!

A quick ferry ride dropped us off and we headed for Tourist Information where, sure enough, a marine store quickly was identified.

Armed with the usual self-guided walking map we wandered along colorful streets and squares,

climbed the steps overlooking main the town square

and visited  two churches, each with several votive ships.

What was most surprising is the difficulty in finding a mail box to post a letter. After wandering around the city for several hours during our walking tour we still hadn’t located a place to post our letter. I headed back to the Tourist Information Office where we’d been earlier only to find it closed (on a weekend during the busiest time of the year… go figure).

Finally at the marine store where I had left Max I asked the guy helping him. He explained the Danish postal service was slowly going under resulting in mail delivered every three days (!) and  the only mail box in the vicinity being at a grocery store a bit further down the road. He did say private businesses were picking up the slack, but, wow, we experienced, most likely, the future of our USPS in Denmark.

Back to Skaro where we did our usual free-wifi catch-up.

During most of this summer cruising we’ve been using Three.com SIM cards for data. Since we want to preserve them we suss out free wifi wherever we go. We generally can find it, yet it’s rarely a strong signal. But, as itinerant wanderers we’re thankful for any and all access, which is why you’ll find us perched outside marina shower blocks among other places.

ÆRØ

Sunday – Wednesday, July 30 – August 2

You know how I said we thought we’d seen the prettiest little village in Denmark? Well, we have one to top that–Aero, the island everyone has told us we must see. During our first walk-about in one of the island’s three largest villages–Ærøskøbing (the other two being Soby up north and Marstal, south) we completely concur.

if anyone is looking for a vacation spot filled with a plethora of fairytale homes, beautiful scenery (and many ways to explore the natural surroundings), an extensive maritime museum, and just lovely surroundings, this island has it.

Feeling a bit lazy about anchoring we grapped another free mooring ball and dinghied to shore.

Just a side note:  transporting oneself from boat to land by dinghy isn’t always as straightforward as one might imagine. Sometimes the shoreline doesn’t quite provide enough depth to easily motor all the way. Especially in Denmark where the water level stays shallow for a ways out. That’s when we start using the oars to either row or pole ourselves in. And, when that’s not enough, well, we become human tugboats.

Once all of us were ashore (Max, myself and the dinghy) we could enjoy the crisp bright hues of the cabanas like ones we saw in Southwold, England; and, similar to the ones in Britain, these were privately owned on leased land. A twenty-year bickering back and forth between owners and the municipality eventually ended with allowing these structures to remain but with no running water or electricity allowed.

As soon as we stepped into the Tourist Office we understood one of the reasons for Aero’s popularity:  their approach to tourism. As one local told us (we met him hitching to town one morning) a long period of economic decline meant no money for modernizing the towns. This lack of funds resulted in maintaining the old homes and shops ‘as is’. What initially was considered a disadvantage became a huge bonus when travellers want to step back in time.

Realizing its potential as a tourist destination, the island poured funds into preserving their buildings. Additionally, locals viewed visitors as guests versus invaders.  A winning combination:  tradtional Danish towns nestled in and along sandy shorelines and rolling meadows inhabited by  welcoming residents. This island is surely a gem in Denmark’s Southern Funen Archipelago.

For two and half days we explored Aero beginning with Aeroskobing, which was awarded the 2002 Europa Nostra Prize. With a provided map titled “Aeroskobing, the fairy-tale town” we found the moniker a perfect descriptor as we wandered up and down streets stopping to view…

the Torvet or town square with old pumps used until 1952…

the 1634 Kiobinghof, Duke Philip of Glucksborg’s manor, and later where King Frederik V slept  during his 1750 visit…

the 1690 Prior’s house with its door smeared with ox blood (wood preservant), which is why I’m cringing

yet Max doesn’t seem fazed…

and, the ‘Doll House’ from the 1700s noted as the most photographed house in Denmark (I guess due to its size because it needed a bit of TLC from the looks of it).

We also paid attention to all the doors decorating the buildings’ entrances:

The church is lovely, as to be expected in this town, and featured port and starboard votive ships.

And, to enhance the fairy-tale feeling as we walked around, butterflies flittered around butterfly bushes.

The next day we hopped on and off the free buses running up and down the island’s 30km length. Laughingly we realized one hour later we’d been in three different sites stopping first at Soby (that lasted for five minutes as we realized nothing much to explore), then to Bregninge.

In this village we saw an interesting billboard in front of a house. Curious we approached the sign and discovered an ad for becoming a resident of this island! You can rent this completely furnished abode for a limited time to check out how you’d like living here. Furthermore, a “settlers consultant” is on hand to help you adjust to island life. Definitely an intriguiing prospect!

We walked around for about twenty minutes, which included visiting a Jesus Garden…

Catching another bus we rode to our third on-off location:  Sobygaard, a manor house built by Duke Hans the Younger in 1580, and reconstructed in the 1990s including the drawbridge over the moat.

We toured the site pretty quickly. The most we learned about the locale came from large signs covering the historical conflict between Schleswig and Holstein. These neighboring duchies have shifted between Danish and German rule over several centuries with the final resolution coming in 1955 when both Denmark and Germany bestowed special privileges upon their German and Danish minorities respectively. Trust me, it’s confusing!

However, I did learn that three wars in the 1800s–between Prussia and Denmark (1864) Prussia and Austria (1866), Prussia and France (1970-71)–led to the unification of all German states (except Austria) under a Prussian king with the capital being Berlin.

Of course we had to participate in pretending we lived in those times, something I think I last did in Williamsburg back in elementary school…

Before we left we climbed to the top of the hill where an 11th-century fortress with views sweeping down to the water.

Another bus ride took us to the southern town of Marstal. After eating our picnic lunch and cooling off at a local cafe (yes, finally true summer temps!)

we saw the church with its flotilla of votive ships, one being the second-largest votive ship in Denmark.

It had been found floating in the North Sea until retrieved by Marstal sailors. Oddly we had seen the largest votive ship in Denmark (in Svenborg), which also had been allegedly found bobbing around in the water. Must have been a lot of lost votive ships…

We timed our exit with listening to the two o’clock chiming of the church’s 48-bell carillon, then walked to the Maritime Museum.

A few hours of looking at ships bottled…

ships framed…

ships’ engines…

ships’ pieces such as the block (pulley) Max is reverently touching…

ship-related photographs…

ship models…

ship crews’ exotic handicrafts…

ship radios…

even, what else? but a ship playground…

I was ready to ship myself out of there but not before catching a shot of a Dane wearing a Red Sox t’shirt (his girlfriend lived in Boston for awhile).

There was one part of the museum I spent some time in, that being several rooms exhibiting Carl Rasmussen’s (1841-93) photographs (along with his box camera) and paintings.

Having spent time in Greenland, once in 1870 and again in 1893, Rasmussen documented both scenery and inhabitants. I like how he captured some of the cultural aspects of the country even if I thought his renditions of people are a little rough.

And, even a bit scary, such as another BHB (big-headed baby).

I like best some of his water paintings, especially his use of light.

That was at the beginning of our visit so you can imagine how quickly I skimmed through the rest noted above…

Our last bus left us off on the main road and we had a lyrical walk back to the shore and our dinghy.

When we returned to the anchorage we saw a familiar boat, s/v WATERAAP. Sylvia and Pascal, whom we met in the cove at Samso, had arrived! We heard they might be coming but it’s still a lovely surprise when it actually happens in the boating world. With dinner planned for the following evening we dinghied back to JUANONA and decided to rent bikes the next day.

During our ride we were reminded of Aero’s goal of being self-sufficient with sustainable energy and CO2 neutral by 2025.

Having met some vacationing Americans from Pittsburgh (and who knew of Beaver Falls where our bro-in-law hails from), we heard of a 5,000-year-old Stone Age burial mound, about three miles from Aeroskobing.

We rode along one of the well-kept bike paths and entered the cornfield where this grave was hidden.

We scrambled in (well, I did after Max said all was fine)

and stayed long enough to do the other’s selfie and admire the stones placed by Stone-Age people.

Hunger pulled us to a cafe as we reached Marstal and spotted an al-fresco lunch opportunity.

Time to return to JUANONA where we enjoyed a dinner with Sylvia and Pascal.

As you do when in the company of cruisers we exchanged information on sailing routes with both JUANONA and WATERAAP heading for the Kiel Canal the next morning.

A velvet sky put us to bed with the promise of fairy tale dreams.

IMG_4448  

Next:  Another country’s waters… Germany!

 

DENMARK: Samsø to Lyø

SAMSO

Wednesday – Saturday, July 19 – 22

As we continued our cruise south from Ebeltoft we aimed for Samso Island.  We hoped to rendezvous with our cruiser friends from Oslo, Ingunn and Snorre, who had met up with Snorre’s parents then sailed s/y EQUINOX to Germany. They emailed saying they’d be at Samso during the week with some friends joining them. Since weather plays havoc with most sailing plans, nothing was certain regarding a meet-up.

But, we did! When we entered the bay some folks began waving heartily. Not recogniznig the boat, Max and I thought ‘wow, this is a friendly island!’ only to realize it was Snorre and Ingunn. We dropped anchor then motored over where we met their friends along with their friends’ two young daughters.

Snorre used his drone to snap some photos of JUANONA from various heights,

which is why you’re looking down at the top of the mast in this one…

(Snorre’s photo)

and why there’s a great aerial view in this photo.

(Snorre’s photo)

Snorre and Ingunn’s website (http://www.sy-spinnvill.com) is proof of how well they capture cruising.

Hoping to see them later, we headed for shore where we walked to the local church,

purchased some strawberries (it seems every other house had some sort of items for sale refreshingly using the honor system),

and on the walk back made the acquaintance of two more cruisers anchored in the bay, Sophia and Pascal aboard s/y WATERAAP.

Meanwhile, Max took advantage of the relatively warmer water and little to no jellyfish to change the zincs. He donned the wetsuit our nephew Iain kindly gave him

and jumped overboard while I spotted an occasional limb flailing under the stern.

Later that evening we managed to have Snorre, Ingunn, Pascal and Sophia aboard JUANONA where we shared stories of crusing the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Too soon the party had to break up but, again, not before we expressed hopes to see everyone again.

During our time on Samso we discovered more about this island’s history by touring the Samso Museum (also the Velkomstcenter/Welcome Center) located in the inland town of Tranebjerg.

With its central location to both interior Danish waters and the Baltic Sea, Samso served as an important maritime harbor for the Vikings as well as others before and after.

A short video whizzed through two centuries while a stroll through two rooms, one with displays on the Viking era and the other with photographs of the 20th century.

I found out the area had a Bede-type scribe (Saint Bede or Bede the Venerable who lived in Northumbria, England 672/3-735 C.E.) when I read that the German canon and historial Adam of Bremen documented the earliest known written reference to this island About 1080 C.E.

We also learned about the Kanhave Canal (500m long and 12m wide) consructed in 726 C.E. across the narrowest part of the island (Kanhave translates to flat-bottomed boat canal.) The canal enabled the Vikings to move their ships from one bay into another quickly. Surprisingly, It didn’t stay operational long, as it silted up in the 9th century.

You can actually stand in the hollow of this canal, which we did the next day.

The town offers another interesting museum, a wealthy farmer’s home. A guide told us how they used to make bread twice a year in this trough (righthand corner). Must have been a bit green by the fifth month…

Some locals demonstrate homecrafts including weaving on a centuries-old loom..

Getting hungy I spotted a sign where we ate one of our favorite lunches:  Turkish doners

(although I thought I’d be getting some dessert due to the sign…).

Back on JUANONA Max had noticed a small viking boat sailing into the bay (fun!),

and later rowing into the harbor (would rethink the ‘fun’ aspect).

And, that’s how we met Karina who grew up sailing summers with her father on their Viking boat. Now they take people along for a week or so of cruising and camping where all passengers test their skills at not only sailing but also rowing.

We told her of our next few destinations and she highly recommended one we were thinking of skipping since it was a bit to the east of our course. After hearing her praise of the island’s ice cream, I immediately lobbied for the diversion; and, Skaro got back on our island-hopping list :)

TORO RED (off the island of FYN)

Saturday night July 22

Taking advantage of excellent winds from the northeast we sailed 68 miles to an anchorage on the southwest coast of the large island of Fyn. An easy anchoring due to good protection from the wind and a seemingly good mud bottom we went to sleep only to discover in the morning that we had dragged several hundred feet (!). Fortunately, no harm done but never something one feels easy about! We have almost never dragged our oversized Rocna anchor, and in retrospect We were so overconfident in the situation that we didn’t even bother to back down to “set’ the anchor. Lesson learned.

With only 20 miles to our next destination it was an easy morning sail.  (Cammy, we could have stayed in Middlefart but continued on. Just thought you’d be interested in hearing that. :) )

We now were sailing in the Lille Baelt (“Little Belt”) off the west and south of Fyn Island, Denmark’s largest island. Noted as one of the loveliest areas to cruise in this country we anticipated more storybook villages, tranquil anchorages, and some crowded marinas, all of which we found during the next week…

DYVIG (on the island of ALS)

Sunday – Monday, July 23- 24

Again, a short sail took us to our next stop but not before we experienced heavy thunder, rain and lightening. I am frightened of lightning as I’ll never forget being on the beach when a young girl was struck and died back in 1968.

However, all was fine and a huge relief (to me) when it stopped.

Our next stop entailed a narrow passage rounding the tip of Als only to open up into two lovely coves.

Anchoring in the one with the two small marinas (one being in front of a lovely hotel), we thought we’d take the bus to town only to find out it’d be a long wait. No problem as we still wanted to check out the other cove, which we did by dinghy.

If we’d been here a second night JUANONA would have been floating here, although where we were was also pretty stunning.

Retracing our route out we followed a motor boat through the narrow channel then began our sail to the next island.

LYO

Monday – Thursday, July 24 – 27

I had mentioned storybook villages and our next island destination, Lyo, topped all to-date, primarily because it was such a tiny village that only traditional homes and farm buildings seemed to stand.

During our three-day stay we enjoyed lunch al fresco where I thought the menu was absolutely superb…

listened to an outdoor concert….

and, asked some locals about the thatched roofs we’d been seeing.

The owner, whose grandmother had been born on the island, said the roofs last about 30 years and were expensive due to the craftsmanship needed to construct and maintain them (the top of the roof line had recently been replaced) as well as the fire insurance (no kidding). Laughing she said and now the straw was imported from China!

She also told us why the aquamarine paint outlines the doors and windows:  to keep evil spirits out. She also mentioned when someone dies their body never, ever leaves by the front door, or any door, actually. Each house has a window without a divider so it is large enough to pass a casket through. Wow.

Like a lot of marinas we’ve visited Lyo was packed with families and friends and this one was no different.  Walking around the marina area we saw children dressed in life jackets crabbing (we still need to find out what they do with the poor crustaceans as I doubt they eat them).

The scene felt like a carnival at times with so much activity. I particularly loved the five guys on a very small boat. Where they all slept, I don’t know, but they were out enjoying the water.

With the ferry easily in reach (as it is on most islands around here) we went across to Fyn (pronounced ‘Fern’) to tour the town of Faaborg.

In Faaborg we discovered a museum that was art itself. Thanks to a Mads Rasmussen, whose money from producing tinned goods (such as butter), he and a group of local artists founded the museum in 1910 and it opened in 1915. Designed by the architect Carl Petersen, the museum is considered an example of Danish classicist architecture.

Below is the front and back of the provided map. I couldn’t upload it with the marina’s wifi so please excuse the rough look; but, I wanted you to see how the museum presents itself.

The map outlines a route for visitors while pointing out the art that isn’t necessarily hanging on the walls, such as the floor mosaics (in one of the seven, small alcove rooms the pattern is a labyrinth)

As we read about the building and its components the museum, itself,  became the piece of art I enjoyed vs. the Funen painters who helped found the museum; yet, I liked how those artists painted what they deemed was the ‘good life’:  Sharing time with family and friends, countryside visits, traveling, and eating and drinking well. Thanks to Mads these artists were able to enjoy the good life, including traveling to Italy. Nice guy to have as your patron.

And, the good life is what was painted by these artists:  Fritz Syberg, Johanned Larsen, Peger Hansen, Anna Syberg, Alhed Larsen, Christine Swane, Jens Birkholm, Poul S. Christiansen and Karl Schou. Many of them attended the painter Kristian Zahrtmann’s school in Copenhagen. But, of course, no women were allowed to study there.

And, I had to include the following. It’s another appearance of another big-headed-baby. We seem to find quite a few of these in the museums we’ve visited.

One golden-painted room serves as the archive for the museum’s collection of graphic art as well as a reference library and common room for visitors. Today it’s roped off but you still can appreciate the images by Johannes Larsen.

A special exhibit displays Japanese art and paper books and the influence it had on Johannes Larsen’ (1867-1961) woodcuts.

Another special exhibit focused on Johannes Larsen’s illustrations for Steen Steensen Blicher’s book of poetry comprised of 30 poems about birds.

Larsen was a good candidate for this work since he studied birds with the mind of a scientist. Looking at his studies of the birds it’s easy to see why his work complimented the poet’s.

The museum possesses a large collection of a local sculptor’s work, Kai Nielsen (1882-1924). He came to prominence with “The Marble Girl”,

and later was selected to sculpt the museum’s benefactor, Mads Rasmusseen,

and a piece for the town square. The latter was based on a Norse myth of the god Ynmer feeding from a cow’s udder. He called it “Ymer’s Well” and, well, it is rather startling and caused quite vehement reactions from some of the town’s citizens.

But, it still stands in the town center (a copy due to the original deteriorating over the years).

Nielsen’s work portrays strong, healthy bodies. As one painter stated, his work is best described as life. The description is an appropriate one.

The piece of resistance–for me–comes from the museum’s goal of providing a ‘place of presence’. Described as “…a temporary state of being lost in focused intensity. We forget ourselves and the purpose of what we are doing. This does not necessarily make us any wiser or better. Still, we seem to long for places that make room for presence.

Although presence is fleeting and unpredictable the experiencing of it is as an individual and, thus, can occur wherever you find yourself in that focused intensity.

The map noted some places where we might find presence, and we took advantage of it…

in the Winter Garden Room

and the garden itself.

I could live in this museum. And, yes, it does have a cafe with coffee…

We returned by ferry and were back aboard JUANONA only to realize I had dropped my wallet at the grocery store when repacking my bags to carry. FYI: (you have to be a juggler to catch the items rolling down the belt as the cashier continues checking out the next customer’s goods whose items are also rolling down on the other side of a divider; so, I usually grab and stuff then scurry over to a table/chair/floor to reorganize our groceries for carrying back to JUANONA. And, that’s when my wallet fell out and onto the floor as we hurried to catch the next ferry back..)

Fortunately, we’re in a country who prides itself on honesty; so, when we contacted the store with the help of a young Dane whose family’s boat had just docked next to ours, the store said they had it and would keep it for me to pick up the next day. Which I did and thanked them profusely!

Back to Lyr where later that day we saw some Tall Ships arrive. They were circling the island of Fyn with a planned entrance the next morning into Faaborg. And, where there are boats there is my husband :)

Tomorrow? Another island to hop onto and around :)

 

 

 

DENMARK: Aarhus

AARHUS

Monday & Tuesday, July 17 & 18

With Denmark’s second-largest city within reach via public transport, we decided to use Ebeltoft as our base. For two days we hopped the bus to and fro using the hour+ ride to check out the local landscape while deciding which sites to explore in Aarhus.

[And, just so you know we continue to botch the pronounciation of these Scandinavian places. When telling a local our destination for today they first tilt their head to one side with a puzzled expression, which only makes us try harder to state where we’re headed. Finally, after at least two to three attempts and ending with our spelling the port/town/museum, their neck straigtens, a smile appears and they say, ‘Oh, Aarhus!’. Which, by the way, is pronounced ‘Oar-hoose’, or thereabouts!]

We discovered the European Commission had selected Aarhus the 2017 European Capital of Culture (along with Pafos, Cyprus), and the city ensures visitors understand why. Special exhibits inside and out caught our attention, beginning with DOKK1, the large arts center (built 2015) housing the main library (the largest public library in Scandinavia), government service offices and a multi-purpose hall.

With the Tourist Information located here, non-locals as well as locals take the angled steps up to the huge lobby area.

Once inside you have your choice of information, books, computer stations (including 3-D printing), cafe or simply a peaceful place to sit.

A huge vertical gong hangs at the top of the stairs overlooking the harbor. The night before with Steve, David and Ken we heard that the gong is rung whenever parents of a newborn press an alarm at Aarhus University Hospital. And, with so many areas devoted to children it must ring many, many times.

Speaking of kids, the Dokk1 ensure they expend their energy on a bear slide

or geometric trampolines. Wish they came in adult sizes.

Before we left we explored another modern facility:  the underground parking garage using robotics to park and stow cars.

With spaces for 1,000 vehicles, the garage is the largest automatic car park in Europe. You could tell not just we were curious as a brochure, video and a helpful attendant explained how it worked. For anyone interested, check out www.dokk1-parkering.dk.

We located the Aarhus Cathedral where construction, begun in the12th century, was completed in 1350 in the Romanesque style. One hundred years later the influence of the Hanseatic towns led to a redesign using Gothic features. As the longest church in Denmark approximately 1200 worshipers can fill the pews.

Frescoes created between 1470 and 1520 adorn the walls

complimented by the stunning wrought-iron portals made by the German master smith Caspar Fincke

and, the Votive Ship UNITY from 1720. One restorer said it was built in Holland for Tsar Peter the Great as a model for his fleet of warships (models were used in lieu of drawings). This one  floated almost unharmed to shore when the ship it was being transported to Russia on floundered off the Danish coast. The UNITY is the largest votive ship in Denmark. The reason for a votive ship is to represent man’s voyage from cradle to grave.

Another treasure is the altarpiece created 1479 by master-craftsman Bernt Notke in Lubeck, Germany. It would be worth attending church during one of the religous holidays when the panels are unfolded.

Time to keep moving…

Walking towards one of the three museums we’d chosen for our two-day exploration we spotted a long row of outdoor billboards covered in magnificent photography. To showcase the flora and fauna located within this city’s environs the Natural History Museum held a contest soliciting individuals’ shots of nature found in Aarhus. From approximately 2,500 photographs judges chose 100.

As we slowly walked down the line of photos, first gazing at the images then gorging on the explanations,

both Max and I commented on how poetic and informative the writing is. For example (Colleen, this is for you :):

I could easily have spent over two hours being spellbound by this exhibit, but by now it was early afternoon and we needed to reach Den Gamle By, Aarhus’ open-air museum. Showcasing three periods of history–from before the Industrial Revolution to the 1900s via architecture, artifacts, and special exhibits, this museum requires a good amount of strolling time to absorb the sights. With the sun out and being not too-mobbed with other tourists we began our visit with an introductory exhibit on Aarhus’ history.

The years rolled back as we visited 20th-century stores, 19th-century shops and houses, and 17th/18th-century homes and tradesmen’s buildings. The museum presents an eclectic mix with the earlier periods being of most interest to us, such as:

The Mintmaster’s Mansion with its elaborately painted ceilings and walls,

furnished rooms,

and view of the outside square…

A dyer’s shop (identified by the black flag, one of the two most difficult colors to achieve with blue being the other)…

A row of workshops built in 1741 known as ‘hire shops’ rented out by wealthy merchants to small-scale craftsmen…

And, the Eilschou Almshouses, which stood opposite Hans Christian Anderson’s childhood home in Odense. Built in 177 by Peter Eilschou, this building provided free housing to middle-class widows and spinsters. Two women played the role of being such. They didn’t have a problem with my taking their photo, especially with Max in the middle :)

As we continued our touring we caught sight of another re-enactor, this time a young woman and her playful goose.

Our last stroll took us through a peaceful cottage garden

with its homemade bird-scarer twirling away.

Leaving this living history behind we returned to the 21st-century. We climbed a short hill to the Botanical Gardens where we purchased a rubber dinosaur and snake from the shop for keeping gulls at bay (supposedly) from JUANONA. Just for fun we put one in my backpack with its head poking out as we walked through the various greenhouse climates.

Unfortunately, no one noticed but, hey, it was worth a try.

By now it was time to catch the bus back to Ebeltoft where we finally found the type of citrus popsicle Max had been hankering for. A young woman kindly let us snap a shot so he could show it to the shopkeeper.

Meanwhile, I met Pineapple, a guinea pig being reunited with its owner.

For Tuesday our list had two museums, the ARoS Aahrus Art Museum and the Mosegaard Museum. We had walked by the former the day before, capturing the permanent installation mounted approximately 12 ffeet above the roof. Called “Your rainbow panorama” visitors have a 360º view of the city.

We managed to spot a window-cleaner ensuring that view sparkled.

We hoped to return to this museum but for now we needed to catch a bus to the Mosegaard located about 20 minutes from the city.

And, what a location and site.

The grass-covered building offers an inviting tableau for outdoor refreshments as well as log-rolling down its slopes.

The interior resembeles a terraced landscape featuring a mind-blowing display of early humans’ history,  from Bronze Age (1700-500 B.C.E.) to the Vikings (800-1066 C.E.).

As opposed to immediately becoming immersed in prehistoric times, the museum provides a wonderful introductory film  titled “The Journey”.

The film asks us to consider our commonalities, not our differences. The movie accomplishes this with exquisite cinematography accompanied only by music as seven life events, both major and minor, unfold before the viewer’s eyes. You actually witness the miracle of life as one enters this world and leaves it… :

  1. BIRTH:  a son being born to a Danish couple in a pool
  2. LOVE:  the day and the life of two South African brothers encased in the love of their mother and father
  3. FEAR:  the painful initiation rite for a Papua New Guinean going from boyhood to manhood
  4. LOSS:  a mother memoralizing the loss of her young daughter in Nevada
  5. FAITH:  a Catholic priest celebrating Mass in the jungle of Argentinia
  6. RATIONALITY:  the accomplishments of a polar researcher and mountaineer in Antarctica
  7. DEATH:  a son attending his father’s death and cremation in Nepal

Displays both before and after the film explain the different scenes with glimpses of nature via virtual reality.

A bonus came from reading the filmographers’ stories of how they managed to capture these seven events.


From there we took the stairs to the lower level, encountering some wonderful statues of human evolution beginning with “Lucy”, our early humanoid ancestor,

and ending up with Homo Sapiens.

We entered the Bronze Age exhibit, then the Iron Age. The latter featured the Grauballe Man, the world’s best preserved bog body (Denmark has several of these in various museums around the country). The museum highlights a specific battle from 205 C.E.–the Battle of Illerup Adal–and exhibits the discovered weaponery offered as thanks for the victory.

The last permanent exhibit covers the Vikings, which added to the information we’ve picked up from previous museum visits.

With flash not allowed the photos didn’t come out too well but we managed to document a few parts of the exhibits such as the Bronze Age socceress’ fetishes from her grave:

The museum does a wonderful job of immersing visitors in the day-to-day living of these early humans.

So much so one realizes we have more in common with them than we may have originally thought. In short, our tour through the museum circles directly back to the introductory film. A nice way to end our day’s exploring.

We ran out of time to see “The Life of the Dead”, an anthropology exhibit, and, by then our brains were mush anyhow.

But, trust me, seeing the movie “The Journey” and experiencing the outdoor roof are worth the admission to this museum.

Some fresh air

and a walk back to the bus stop began our triip back to Aarhus then Ebeltoft and JUANONA. The art museum we’ve saved for another time, most likely a road trip sometime in our future.

Next, more island hopping :)

DENMARK: Læsø to Ebeltoft

LÆSØ to GRENÅ

Monday-Thursday, July 10-13

Leaving Styrso we sailed into new waters. Max performed the rite of lowering our Swedish courtesy flag

and replacing it with the Danish one making it official.

Six hours later we arrived in Laeso, an island with stretches of sandy beach and a packed marina. And, I mean packed. We took the free bus to the other side of the island where we gorged on free wifi at a local restaurant.

Lots of rafting, both alongside and perpendicular to us (JUANONA is second boat back on the right; you can just make out the bow with anchor. The boats on the left are rafted seven deep);

but, we’ve found the manuvering not so bad due to the boaters’ attitudes.  They’re so nonchalant around here about having a stranger’s vessel tied up to theirs–even when they’re not aboard to say ‘it’s okay to raft with me’. We’ve learned you just leave fenders out to make it easy for another boat to come alongside and tie off, thus using JUANONA as a floating pontoon.

By being part of a flotilla we feel a part of the local boating culture.Rafting etiquette means you always cross over the bow/front of the neighbor’s boat to reach the land dock. You get use to it, and we rather enjoy it as long as they’re not loud or late partiers. Most folk are tender-footed except children who seem to have the heavier feet in spite of their lighter weights; yet, it’s fun to see so many kids on boats; and, at this marina, it’s like an exuberant summer camp for kids and adults.

We left the next morning after unpacking five other boats before we could exit.

Our next port was Grenaa, another marina further south, where we breathed a sigh of relief: virtually uncrowded with easy docking alongside with no hassle. My type of docking.

A surprise came when walking down the quay we recognized a boat we last saw in Oslo. It’s home berth lay across the pontoon from ours at the KNS marina. The owner and wife invited us aboard where I noticed some large, squishy dinosaurs stationed on their cockpit table. I thought they had a grandchild or two visiting, but, no:  they told us they use the rubber critters to keep the gulls away (the previous owner had told them about this technique). I guess gulls have good eyes. At the very least I hope it doesn’t frighten the s___ out of ‘em.

EBELTOFT

Friday-Wednesday, July 14-19

Finally, the picturesque village we’d hankered for ever since landing in Denmark, and Ebletolft fit the bill to a “T”.

Another easy landing alongside a hammerhead (the top of the “T” of a pontoon where we can dock at the end without having to go into a box berth perpendicular to the stalk of the “T”). Ahh, life is good.

Hopping off we strolled the short walk into town and along one of the old cobblestone streets during our several days of marina-living here.

Two museums beckoned us:  one, not as fulfilling but definitely worth seeing and definitely heavily promoted; the other, a delightful surpise, all the more so due to not being mentioned in most guidebooks.

The Glasmuseet Ebeltoft (Glass Museum) featured the fourth, 2017 Youth Exhibition. This competition began in 1987 and occurs every ten years. This year 57 artists from 18 countries exhibited their creations.

The artistic displays stretched my knowledge of how diverse blowing and fabricating glass items has become. We viewed a large variety of work, encompassing:

Color…

“Curve or Straightness?”

“One Hundred and Two x 0”

Texture…

(I’ll just call this ‘styrofoam’)

Fragility…

“When Kingdom was Lowered down to Earth from Heaven”

Startling simplicity…

(again, I didn’t get the title of this one but call it ‘profiles’)

and, Industrial Creativity, “My Chemical Romance”

Although I wouldn’t want to showcase most of these pieces, I appreciated the opportunity to learn from the artists. Trully, I can’t imagine the difficulty and skill and imagination needed to create these works of art.

I must say the video of breaking glass as one of the exhibited pieces seemed a bit over the top; but, hey, if a red coat propped like a scarecrow on a coat hanger can be in a top-notch museum, a movie showing a guy smashing glass can certainly be shown in a youth exhibit.

The museum so understated by all brochures is the Farvergarden Museum, something Max just happened upon thanks to some cruiser’s notes. The museum documents an old dyeworks on the location serving as such since the 1770s.

A black flag indicated we’d arrived at the correct address (A black or blue flag, the two most difficult colors to produce, hung from dyeworkers’ places throughout Denmark back then). When we ducked through the door we found ourselves in the actual dye worker’s home. The last dyer’s family living here were the Petersens, with Andreas Gotlieb (1841-1917) and his son Johan being the master dyers. Andreas ran the dyeworks until 1905 when Johan took over.

The property was sold to the government in 1974 by Johan’s heirs, two nieces. Since the nieces inherited the content of the house, the municipality collected pieces representing a 1900 home. Fortunately, the dyeworks buildings hold the original machinery and tools.

The impression of being in a dollhouse immediately began with the first room off the street:  the tiny shop where customers dropped off cloth (charged by the length) or yarns (paid for by the weight) for dyeing. Still a shop but now selling wares not dyed here.

We continued into the parlor

and the kitchen,

the pantry,

poked our heads into the bedroom,

then exited down a hallway

to the backyard where we accessed a room in the attic. Here we found the maid’s room. Even though the dyer wasn’t particularly wealthy, young girls hired themselves out and lived on the premises.

Excellent signage and displays provide detailed information on the history of dyes (a timeline begins with professional dyeworks in China 3000 B.C.E.)… samples of the raw materials (such as the indigo imported from India)… when Farvergarden began (Emanuel Randlef received the royal privilege as a dyer in 1773)… and exactly how the cloth and yarn were dyed. Understanding the dyeing process is covered in the dye works building.

A 1948 video commissioned by the government and featuring Johan Petersen demonstrates the art of indigo dyeing. We watched the screen then turned to look at the actual machinery:

The balls were used to crush the indigo. This mineral is so precious the rinse water used to wash off the metal balls is reused in the dye process.

The indigo is then added to the vat of lukewarm water along with soda, bran, red dye, and madder (a Eurasian herb used for red-purple dye). Lime is added turning the dye a yellowish-green. The dyer knows the color is ready by smell and then it sits for several days. The cloth is placed on the screens (hanging on the wall) while ensuring the liquid mixture covers the cloth/yarn completely.

The dyed cloth is yellowish-green when first removed, turning blue after hanging for some time. A final rinse in water with blue clay is done, and then pressing by the mangle below, powered by a horse mill in the next room (a cable runs underground to this room).

Before the dyeing process begins the cloth is sent to another mill to be ‘stamped’ or ‘filled’ at an outside mill to produce a wadmal (cloth that’s been pounded into a dense and thick layer). After the dyeing, again to raise the cloth fibers or nap, the material is run through the machine below, a teasel gig (love the name), which makes the cloth even denser.

And, here are the nap-raising instruments:  teasel heads! Generally imported from southwest Europe.

Drying took place outdoors in good weather or indoors in a small, heated room.

To press it using the machine below they’d layer the cloth with heated iron sheets and cardboard.

No question about it, dyeing required the mind of a chemist (creating the dye), the deft eye of an artist (ensuring the dye set properly), and the muscles of a steveadore (manhandling the tools of the trade).

The process for blue dyeing took eight days:  fulling (making it dense); dyeing; carding; cropping (trimming the woolen cloth’s nap leaving the cloth even and smooth); steaming (reinforcing the blue color and made it more water resistant); and pressing. The cropping and steaming were extra costs.

In addition to the expensive blue dye, black, brown, yellow and red were the the typical colors produced in another room.

A stable wing and extended garden beyond with a pond and grotto completed the tour.

Under the Petersen’s ownership this dyworks represented the height of modernity in 1851; but, with the Industrial Age and mass-production operations, Favergarden’s equipment was way outdated by the time it closed in 1925. Yet, thanks to the foresight of the town and its investment, we had walked back through time when dyeing was an artisan’s craft.

We continued perusing Ebeltoft’s other treasures as we exited into glorious sunshine, checking sites along the way with a self-guided Town Walk map.

Speaking of delightful, when we landed at the Ebeltoft Marina we met some locals, some speaking with a British accent. Come to find out Steve and David are Brits, only recently transplanted to Denmark for David’s job expanding the local airport’s routes.

The next day they invited us for dinner where we met Ken, Steve’s uncle who moved with them. As well as Shawn the Sheep, their robotic mower,

and, Khai, their black lab, who’s trained to get a carrot before they sit down at dinner and then leave the humans undisturbed.

Another magical evening occurred filled with excellent food, including a traditional Danish cake baked by David,

wonderful conversation, and lots of laughter.

Plus, a lovely surprise awaited us the day before we left… some of Steve’s precious cheese scones sent all the way from Mullion in Cornish by his mom. Folks line up to buy her scones weekly when they’re sold to raise funds for a local non-profit. And, believe me, they’d be worth any wait!

 

Another amazing social occasion occurred the night before we left Ebeltoft. Two people asked where our home in Maine was. From there we discovered they’d sailed there in the 1990s. Then, they asked if we knew Dick and Ginger on ALCHEMY?

My god, we had just checked Marine Traffic to see where ALCHEMY was on their crossing back to the states!  (which they’re doing, by the way, via the northern route, including Iceland and Greenland…).

We invited Inge and Wolfgang aboard

only to end up on their boat, one in which they’d completed a circumnavigation 2000-05.

The next morning we waved as STELLA MARIS left to continue their summer on the water before returning to their land home in Germany.

How fortunate to have met Steve, David and Ken followed by Inge and Wolfgang. New friends in new places. We love it!

END OF SWEDISH CRUISE: Cultural Side Trip

GOTEBORG

Saturday, July 8

As the second largest city in Sweden, Goteborg offers a more relaxed atmosphere than Stockholm. The founding fathers established the city in 1621 to rid themselves of the Danes’ taxing Swedish ships. Then to protect themselves they hired Dutch engineers and workers to build a defensive canal system.

Foreign trade followed by ship building boomed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries but crashed in the 1980s. Today commerce and industry (such as Volvo) generate the income for the residents.

The Avenyn, a long boulevard, stretches to a lovely art museum, the Kontsmuseet. We joined others walking around (it was a lovely day), passing “The reincarnation”, an interesting green sculpture by the Japanese Installation artist Tetsunori Kawana.

His words describe it best:

Michael had given us directions saying all we needed to do was mention we wanted to go to the Poisiden. No wonder as this statue stood arrogantly gazing down the Avenue as it guarded the museum’s doors behind hit.

The museum offered art ranging from the Old Masters (1450-1750) including works by Lucas Cranach the Younger and special exhibit on Rembrant (whose techniques were documented in an informative video)

to contemporary sculpture with a twirling fashionista modeled in styrofoam and covered in plaster. Bizaare and a bit mesmerizing to watch.

Of course, what’s modern art without something, well, some thing such as this piece by Lenke Rothman (1929-2008) called “Dedication. To El Greco and his Benefactors in the 1500s”.

You figure it out. I moved on.

We also saw some well-known French Impressionists (Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, for instance).

But, my attention focused on the Nordic artists. Different rooms featured either a period of art or a solo artist. Some were familiar after seeing them in other museums:

Erik Werenskiold (1855-1938)
His later paintings here seemed rougher, such as “Ray of Sunlight” (1891)

than ones I’d seen previously until I spotted this one, “On the Plain” (1883)

which is a sister painting to one I saw and loved in Oslo.

Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
We’ve actually stood where he painted this gentleman in Kragero.

 

 

I was exposed to other art thanks to a collection of Pontus and Gothilda Furstenberg who have a gallery dedicated to artists at the turn of the century in 1900:

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) who worked in a variety of media, painting daily-life scenes

and light-hearted ones.

He even painted this gallery in 1885. It was easy to recognize some of the work hanging both in his picture and in the actual room.

Richard Bergh (1858-1919)
I loved the romantic atmosphere in his “Nordic Summer Evening” (1899-1900),

and his “Girl picking flowers” (1884)

Bruno Liljefors (1860-1939)
Look at the detail in this painting of a birds (1888). This artist represents the Opponents’ Movement, members of the Artist’s Union who opposed the Royal Academy of Art in Stockholm. Luckily for them, Pontus Furstenberg supported them.

Ernest Josephson (1851-1906)
His portrait of “Nennie al Geijerstam” (1885) perfectly captures someone who appears relaxed and resigned to have her likeness immortalized in oil. Can’t you just see her saying “What? Again?!” ?

Alfred Wahlberg (1834-1906)
Since we’d recently docked in this harbor the title caught my eye:  “Moonlight, Fjallbacka” (1881)

As did his “A May Day, Nice” (1878).

 

Peder Severin Kroyer (1851-1909)
Speaking of catching my eye, this artist’s “Hip, Hip, hurrah! Artists’ Pary, Skagen” (another town we almost visited this summer) (1888) features the painter himself an other artists/friends– standing, starting from the left: Martha Johansen, her husband Viggo Johansen, Christian Krohg, the parinter himself P.S. Kroyer, Degn Brondum, Michael Ancher, Oscar Bjorck and Thorvald Niss; Sitting, Helene Christiansen and Anna Ancher with her little daughter.

Viggo Johansen (1851-1935)
His “At Sunset” (1895) captures a stillness in spite of what must have been filled with a lot of quacking when he painted it.

Johan Krouthen (1858-1932)
I love the radiance in this “Haystacks, Summer Scene from Skagen” (1884).

 

Gustaf Fjaestad (1868-1948)
My photo doesn’t do this justice but it certainly brought winter into summer with his “Snow” (1900).

 

One room spoke of Matisse’s strong influence of Swedish painters, two of them being:

Isaac Grunewald (1889-1946)
“Jules Pascin, Artist” (1921)

and his wife Sigrid Hjerten (1885-1948)
“Figures on the Beach” (1917) whose depiction is exactly how I’d want to be captured if painted in my bathing suit…

 

More rooms and more artists continued to draw my eyes.

 

Some I liked…

Alf Lindberg (1905-1990)
“Death of the Dryads” (1965)

Some, not so much…  Yet, any background information helps understand a painter’s work such as:

Ake Goransson (1902-42) was a hairdresser by training but pursued art studies as well. In the early ‘30s he isolated himself and his mom in a small, one-room flat and proceded to paint still lifes, interiors (no kidding), and street scenes viewed from his window. He was admitted to a hospital in 1937, and his mother burnt thousands of his drawings yet kept some paintings hidden in the kitchen sofa. They were discovered in the 1940s.

“Cat in the Basket” (1930-32)
Not necessarily something I’d hang on my wall but a pretty unique way to nurture one’s art…

 

In the 1930s the Gothenburg colorists became known for, what else, their bright colors. Ragnar Sandberg’s (1902-1972) work below demonstrates this:

“Card Players” (1938)

and his “Self Portrait” (1937)

 

 

Ivar Arosenius (1878-1909), an artist who also created a storybook illustrator and whose work was honored by hanging in a room of its own:

“Self Portrait” (1908)
He appears rather intense…

But his watercolor of “Self Portrait with Poultry and Pigs” places him in a friendlier scene but doesn’t appease his broodiness.

And, his “The Knight and the Six Maidens at the Table” (1905) takes one to an entirely playful world. Although, I have to say, his boxum ‘maidens’ would look just as comfortable sitting at a Hugh Hefner or Donald Trump feast…

Moving onto a much more innocent-looking scene:   August Malmstrom’s (1829-1901) “The Little Girl’s Birthday” made me want to create a similar surprise birthday morning.

Sofie Ribbing’s (1835-1894) “Boys drawing” (1864) produces a a pin-drop quietude. I found myself almost tiptoeing past so as not to disturb their concentration.

And, of course, I couldn’t go past some marble figures without taking photos of two of them:

Per Hasselberg’s (1850-1894) “Grandfather”; no explanation needed.

and Monika Larsen Dennis’ (1963- ) shows what Auguste Rodin’s statue “The Kiss” could be if the man and woman just left their impressions.

 

After two hours we left for another part of the city, the Haga, where the Dutch workers (mentioned at the beginning of this post) lived. Now it’s a happening place, thrumming on this beautiful summer day with strollers, shoppers, and al fresco diners.

Which reminded us of wanting to get back to Syrso to continue our Swedish summer weekend :)

END OF SWEDEN CRUISE

STYRSØ

Friday-Monday, July 7-10

 

Since we first began cruising June 6, 2014, our time on (and off) JUANONA has connected us with some amazing people, and our time on Styrso, an island off of Goteborg, added another touch of awesomeness to our summer.

The Swedish island of Styrso became a beacon for our 2017 summer after meeting Styrso-ian Michael aboard Oslo-ians Thomas and Camilla’s boat s/v EQUINOX. They were prepping for EQUINOX’s first offshore passage, from Farsund to Scotland, resulting in our sharing information that night prior to seeing them off the next morning.

During our time together Michael mentioned he owned a cafe on an island close to Goteborg and for us to stop by if we’re in the area.

Seven weeks later we’re in the area :)  And, the fun began.

Styrso, a short ferry ride from Goteborg (Sweden’s largest city after Stockholm), serves as the perfect example of a traditional Swedish summer retreat. As one friend said toward the end of our stay many Swedes have grown up summering in a cottage filled with family and friends during the long days and short nights. This island with its mix of houses clustered around key points of the shore, boat-filled docks, a few necessity shops and some eateries, buzzing motorized carts (in lieu of cars),

and easy strolling seems the epitome of a Swedish summer place.

And, for anyone interested in soaking up the sun while imbibing excellent food and sipping delightful drinks you must spend at least one full day at the Öbergska Café. Sitting in the sunshine warmth under a bright blue sky listening to the mumuring and sparks of laughter from other guests’ enjoyment lulls one into such a sense of summery contentment you don’t want to leave. Your body just goes ‘ahhhhh’. Need I say more? :)

By the time we untied JUANONA’s lines for our Monday morning departure we felt we had found a second home.

Landing on Friday afternoon we scouted out the little village of Bratten, arranged to meet Michael later that evening, and returned to JUANONA.

While straightening up the boat we noticed some folks standing on the dock looking at her. We began talking, then invited them below, which is how we met Ralf & Eva and Jonas & Vivica. Before we knew it they had invited us for coffee at Ralf and Eva’s home on the NE tip of the island.

Finding our way (and only getting a bit lost) we made it to their house, one they’ve been renovating over the past ten years into an airy and light-filled space (the last ‘to-do’ project being a ceramic studio for Eva). We spent a wonderful hour getting to know these friendly Swedes.

I’m fascinated by how people spend their lives. It’s not so much what they ‘do’ but rather why and how they’ve chosen a particular path. Eva, as a therapist, enjoys the art of ceramics (and the coffee cups we used prove she not only enjoys it but makes lovely items); Ralf, being a judge, mentioned how he travels to explore other countries’ legal processes; Jonas and Vivica raise Icelandic horses in addition to his involvement in the solar industry and her work as a landscape architect-turned-graphic designer.

Vivica and Jonas were visiting that weekend as their 15-year-old son along with Eva and Ralf’s was attending a sea camp on a nearby island. The island is a military one that required permission to visit, which they were going to do the next day.

Aromatic coffee, a delicious brownie cake topped with red-ripened strawberries accompanied by clouds of whipped cream, and non-stop conversation immersed us into an hour that passed way too quickly. How wonderful is that? Pretty great, we think.

Walking back we happened to meet Federico and Noelia, two young Argentinians. Both are artists exploring this part of the world. We saw them later down on the dock while waiting for the ferry and invited them aboard. With their ride back to the mainland coming soon we only had time to snap a photo featuring the gift of a sticker he had designed, one we’ll be posting on JUANONA. Warm and adventurous souls, the type of folks we seem to be meeting wherever we sail.

By then it was time for a delicious dinner of salmon and potato salad at the Obergska cafe where we met up with Michael. He introduced us to Adrian, the chef, and Darren, part of the core team Michael has assembled at the cafe.

Back to JUANONA Michael, Max and I sent a toasting photo to Thomas and Camilla on s/v EQUINOX. A short phone call connected us to their boat, recently landed in Morocco on their way to the Canaries. Because of meeting the three of them mid-May, JUANONA with Michael aboard now sat happily docked in Styrso seven weeks later.

Our first evening set the standard for gatherings, which we loved. Conversations and festive spirits kept us reveling into the morning, beginning that Friday night…

continuing on Saturday with Olaf, gin maestro, joining us before catching the ferry to Goteborg.

After another excellent dinner, Michael and Adrian came back to JUANONA for a gut-laughter-filled evening lasting until 3:00 am Sunday morning. Being with young folk makes us feel a heck of a lot younger than we are!

But, just so you don’t think all of our time on Styrso was spent with celebrating, we did manage to take the ferry to Goteborg. You can see the sites by checking out our CULTURAL SIDE TRIP ( http://wp.me/p4H8u2-3qs). (Warning:  lots of art.)

This was followed by our enjoing another delicious breakfast (brunch by the time we got going)

and later meeting Michael’s mother Carina, his sister Isabelle and Felicia, Isabelle’s friend along with Oliver, Michael and Isabelle’s puppy. We basked in the sun and just veged, perfect considering our late night.

As time came to close the cafe Michael introduced us to more of his friends, Kim and Magnus, with Magnus coming down to see JUANONA. Of course, that’s when the combination padlock to the main hatch got stuck; but, a run up to the cafe for a can of coke, which worked after we dribbled a bunch into the lock, we went below.

Before too long Kim joined us followed by Michael and two more of his friends, Cecilia and Fredrik.

Magnus announced he’d brought a bottle of champagne for the weeend and said it was the perfect occasion to pop the cork. He left to retrieve a bottle and we all “Skaled!” life and friendship.

By 11:30 pm time for all to leave but not before Cecilia and Fredrik had invited us for breakfast.

Our Monday morning began with another lovely breakfast, this time with Cecilia and Fredrik at their cottage.

The house is beautiful, and, once again, what many of us Americans think of Scandinavian design with a sense of spaciousness and coziness. No surprise considering Cecilia renovates flats herself, and I mean truly does all the work less plumbing and electricity.

As we’re finding when we’re with friends, both old and recently met, we had to tear ourselves away. With summer vacations starting in earnest we try to reach any marina before 2:00p as boats come flooding in soon after. With 20+ miles to go we headed back to JUANONA.

Michael joined us for a last farewell while provisioning us with special Swedish delicacies and instructions on how to enjoy them.

With Cecilia and Fredrik joining Michael we waved our farewells.

The only consolation of leaving those we had met this dreamlike weekend is the hope that reunions are in our future.

And, it’s all because of our friend Michael who let us into his joy-filled life and his circle of family and friends. Once again, we’re reminded of the line by Dr. Seuss, “the places we go, the people we meet”…

 

SWEDEN: West Coast – Skärhamn to Åstol

Tuesday-Thursday, July 4-6

SKÄRHAMN

Having been in Gullholmen and its sister village Hermano for six wonderful days the time had come to continue our cruise further south. Another easy, 12-mile day motoring and sailing (when possible) as we wound our way through the Bohuslan islands.

In one of the narrow channels a beautiful, crisp white motor boat passed us heading north. When I see vessels like that I imagine how wonderful sipping a lime-tinged drink on the bridge would be as you gaze over the anchorage as the sun sets. A big contented sigh… I looked at Max and enviously said ‘that’d be a nice boat to have cocktails on…’

I head down below to pick up an iPad and hear “calling American Yacht JUANONA” over the VHF radio on Channel 16 (when cruising most coastal waters boats are required to have this on, especially since May-Days, i.e., calls for help, come over this channel).

Well, it was the first time on our trip I’d heard an unknown boat request our attention, and I picked up to answer.

Whoa, another surprise:  turned out it was Nina, a good friend of Steve who’s our good friend back home! He had put us in contact two years ago when he heard we might be in Denmark during our time on JUANONA.

And, she’d just happen to have seen our boat name as she and her partner, Peter, were cruising north that day, and it somehow jogged her memory from an email from two years prior.

AND, they were on that big, beautiful powerboat!

We continued the conversation after switching to another channel (16 is only for quick exchange of  information and emergencies) and then emailed later that day. Based on schedules we weren’t sure the two boats could meet but at least we’d made contact, delightfully so.

We ended up anchoring in a cove across the channel from Skjarnhamn, a town on the island of Tjorn. Taking the dinghy across we docked and did our usual scouting about while provisioning.

This town, like a lot along this coastline, has a rich tradition of fishing such as herring and ling (member of the cod family). The locals caught the ling north of the Shetland Islands during summer, returning to prep it for Fall drying on racks,

similar to what we saw two summers ago in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. And, the best part (for some)? They soak it in lye in December for delicious (uh-huh) eating once cured.

Yummy…

One of the most interesting facts we discovered pertains to a 17th century woman called Margareta Huitfeldt. A land owner, one of the biggest in Scandinavia at that time, she became an economic force in Bohulslan where most of her property lay. A legend ties her to the accusation and execution of one of Sweden’s best-known witch-hunt victims in 1672. Evidently because Margareta didn’t like her. Obviously a person one doesn’t want to upset, i.e., p___ off.

But, she donated to popular causes, such as paying for 30 students to attend school in Goteborg every year, so who cares about a witch hunt? Every year on July 20 she’s celebrated. Nothing like a little money to ease one’s way into the good graces of a populace. Some things never change.

With morning yoga-ing on the beach completed along with a short climb to the top of the rocks

we dinghied back to Skjarhamn to visit a museum, the Nordiska Akvarellmuseet (Nordic Watercolor Museum), Having read about it the night before, we decided to check it out prior to leaving for our next destination.  We’re glad we did.

This museum is lovely. The featured solo exhibit was on Arne Isacsson (1917-2010), a beloved Swedish artist whose abstract watercolors ignited other artists’ interest in this medium.

Although considered a classical watercolorist he continued to explore various techniques and documented them in textbooks. The museum provides videos demonstrating several of his methods of which we saw the results:

one being tilting the entire page to create lines as the water droplets flow down;

and another involving paper pressed onto wet paint resulting in a three-dimensional texture.

In addition to his art, his legacy lives on both as a teacher (his use of analogies made him a favorite) and in his founding of the Gerlesborg School of Fine Art located in Gerlesborg, Bohuslan with a branch in Stockholm.

Another area of the museum showcases eight of their permanent collection of contemporary watercolorists. Some quite bizarre but all interesting to see such as:

Julie Nord’s black ink creatures…

Lars Lerin’s open building blocks…

and Martin Jacobsen’s intense woods.

 

If we had more time before moving on, I could definitely have stayed and continued wandering around, then ending up in the outdoor cafe enjoying a cup of java…

But, on to our next harbor.

 

ÅSTOL

Eight miles south of Skjarhamn sits a tiny island pokadotted with cottages, a few shops, several cafes, a ferry stop, and enough room to cram boats up and down its slim harbor.

We enjoyed a quick walk around (took all of five minutes) with a stop for lunch at what we discovered later was a religious cafe (wifi password was ‘jesus’). Fortunately, no lightning bolts struck us on our way in or out.

With free laundry I proceded to catch up on the dirty clothes before leaving the next morning for another anchorage just a mile further on.

 

SOLHOLMEN

We left for an anchorage on the island of Marstrand in order to see the town (also called Marstrand). According to THE LONELY PLANET GUIDE this town is considered “the weekend destination for yachting types.” Not that we really felt like the ‘yachting types’ but there’s a great fort to explore. We anchored in a large bay, then dinghied to shore and walked to the main road for a visit.

Determined that getting lost would NOT be part of our adventure we snapped landmarks along the way

ending up on the main road where we discovered a bus route to town. We hopped on (the driver wouldn’t take any money as it was such a short ride) and landed amidst a festive atmosphere created by the 2017 international GKSS Match Cup Sweden race. Yup, I guess it’s a yachtie type of town.

We watched two races (you can spot Max in white hat and light blue fleece behind the “H” of “MATCH”). My lacking complete comprehension of what I was viewing didn’t preclude enjoying the crowd’s excitement as we listened to the announcer’s enthusiastic play-by-play of the races,

including covering the following episode:

Just up the hill from the races stands the imposing Carlstens Fastning, the 1660s fortress constructed by the Swedish King Carl X.

The fort became necessary to protect newly acquired territory when the Swedish king beat the Danish King Frederik II (who also ruled Norway). A treaty was signed (the Treaty of Roskilde) in 1658. The terms required Frederik to cede Danish land in Sweden and some in Norway (such as Bohuslan, the area where we were sailing) to Sweden. To protect his new holdings and this valuable ice-free harbor, Carl X erected a stone fortress with a commanding view of the surrounding islands.

It also served as a prison, one where an inmate inhabited either a dismal cell…

or an ‘okay’ one.

One of the better cells held Sweden’s famous thief, Lasse-Maja (1785-1845). This guy would dress like a woman, seduce rich men, then steal from them, hence the name:  a combination of a man’s and woman’s. He also was a bit of a Robin Hood due to giving some of his loot to friends in need. He was sentenced to life when caught at age 26 but later pardoned in 1839 by the King Carl XIV Johan. Because he could cook he served as a chef in the officers’ mess. Which is probably why he inhabited one of the better abodes, in fact the one where Max is standing.

Oh, and he escaped once in 1823 dressed as, you guessed it, a woman… but was caught and returned. Got to love him.

Unable to find workers, the officials turned to the prison population. Matter of fact, being assigned to the construction crew became part of Sweden’s penal code. The unfortunate inmates who performed hard labor didn’t fare well, but they did manage to expand the fort over the years until 1854. That year the Swedes feared war was on the horizon; thus, the higher-ups thought better of ’employing’ the large number of prisoners and many were relocated to other fortresses.

Construction continued until the fort reached its current shape in 1860. It remained as part of Sweden’s military property until the early 1990s. Now it serves both as a tourist spot and hotel (I suggest asking for the officers’ quarters).

We wandered through imposing gates,

admired iron-pocked doors,

and climbed the tower for the view. With such good visibility we spotted the narrow passage a bit to the right in the far distance, our course for the next day.

and returned to the entrance via a secret tunnel (one used by the soldiers to quickly change positions during attacks), where we spotted a photo opportunity. Max commented I appeared to be enjoying myself too much. I could say the same for him…

We managed to catch a completely full, and I mean full-to-bursting-smooshed-against-the-windshield-bus.

Like on our trip to town, the driver didn’t take any payment, just smiled and waved us on.

One reason we wanted to make sure we got back by early evening is our meet-up with Nina and Peter. They had emailed alerting us to their heading back to Denmark. We responded saying there was plenty of room in our anchorage and hoped our schedules would mesh.

And, they did. And, we had another wonderful evening getting acquainted and enjoying their new abode, MISSOURI. They had just purchased and moved onto her three months ago as their permanent home, based in Copenhagen.

And what a home! Including an engine room you could walk in….

I won’t go into the drool-factor of their lovely boat but, trust me, if you dream of a five-star hotel, you’d be happy aboard MISSOURI. Especially with Nina and Peter as one’s hosts.

We had the lime-tinged drinks on the bridge that I had mused about

followed by dinner and a scrumptious cake baked by Peter.

But, the best part of the evening was feeling we had made two new friends. Meeting such wonderful folks is the true luxury of our lives.

 

Wishing for more time but knowing we each needed to go our separate ways, we left early the next morning for another meet-up, one we’d been hoping to do since we first met in Norway…