Monday, July 3, 2023

Stockholm, Sweden - Day 1

Hello from Stockholm, Sweden!

Stockholm, Sweden waterways

Port security maybe?

As I was researching an alternative to my no-you-can’t-go tour I found there was really only one option - my good ole standby, the Hop On, Hop Off bus.

hop on hop off bus at Stockholm cruise port
There they are!

The ship added it to their excursion list a couple days ago, but as before if you book through the ship you have to leave at the time they say. I wanted to go when I wanted to go so I did it independently.

The city of Stockholm is built on 14 islands. Who knew? While the HOHO bus didn’t get us to all of them it did give a nice overview of the city. Stockholm is a tall city with beautiful buildings so folks riding on the top level of the bus got a magnificent view. I stayed down below so my sights were limited. 

So many construction cranes

When I could, I focused on individual buildings.

Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden


ABBA museum Stockholm, Sweden
Large boots on a roof? It’s the ABBA museum!

I also focused on buildings along roadways, alleyways, and waterways.

old buildings in Stockholm, Sweden


Archways were interesting…

old buildings in Stockholm, Sweden

blue archway in Stockholm, Sweden 
as were signs.
Translation: “ Very limited access for bicycles at Slussen subway, Russian Guard, Another way”
was planning on doing the whole loop and then going back and getting off the second time around but heavy rain started and changed my plans. And ended my picture taking.
We’re here overnight and since my HOHO ticket is good for 24 hours I might be able to take my second swing through the city tomorrow morning. Only time will tell - but it’ll be the weather calling the shots. See you then!

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Not Visby, Sweden

Hello from not Visby, Sweden. 

While I was at breakfast this morning the town popped into view and then it went away. Unfortunately gusty 30+ knot winds made it unsafe for the ship to dock so we turned around and left.

Our path as seen on
While I was disappointed I knew it was for the best for our safety - and my recovery. The painful after effects from yesterday’s jaunt are still with me so I figured it best to rest up for the busy and exciting month. I have several handicapped accessible excursions booked through the ship coming up in these Baltic ports. Finally I won’t have the difficult task of struggling up and down stairs on a bus because these vehicles have lifts. Awesome!


Except I got a call from the shore excursion desk this morning telling me I won’t be able to take any of my tours these next few weeks because they are meant for wheelchairs, not scooters. By their standards I’m not handicapped enough to qualify for accessible excursions. Huh? 

To say I’m disappointed and frustrated and discouraged and saddened and dejected and bordering-on-crushed would be an understatement. These were the ship tours I was most looking forward to. Tours that would take me where I wanted to go, could accommodate my scooter, and not require the painful ups and downs on steep bus steps. I know it’ll be fine because I’ll figure something out to do on my own like I’ve done everywhere else, but dang it.

To drown my sorrows I contemplated busting into my mini bar and making something with several mini bottles of vodka. 
Every cruise it multiplies. I’ve got some catching up to do.
With the clouds parting on an unexpected sea day and the sun shining on my balcony it would be the perfect day for it. Instead I just sat in the sun, listened to the waves, and breathed in fresh sea air as I sipped on a Diet Coke. (The day isn’t over so there still could be time for vodka!)

We’ll be in Stockholm, Sweden tomorrow for an overnight visit where the weather is supposed to be awful and I no longer have a tour. See you there for something I obviously don’t have planned yet.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Bornholm, Denmark

Hello from Rønne,
a town on the island of Bornholm,
in the country of Denmark. 
Bornholm, Denmark from cruise ship
View from the ship
Bornholm, Denmark from cruise ship
Here comes the afternoon rain
To get here from Southampton we had to pass under the Great Belt Bridge last night, the used-to-be second longest suspension bridge in the world. (According to Wikipedia it has now moved to #6.)
Greatbelt Bridge in Denmark
Beautiful evening for sailing under
My plan today originally included taking a bus around the island but with the unknown about whether I could take the scooter or not, I took my time leaving the ship and went into town instead. A free shuttle bus was available to take passengers to the church so I ventured my way there only to find out I couldn't go on it, either.
cruise port shuttle bus
Sorry, no place for scooter, not even underneath
Thankfully I had spent some time after breakfast watching the going ons in the port area... 
You can get an idea of how big these wind turbine blades are
by the size of the teeny tiny people in the bottom left hand corner
and spied a bus that look more compatible.
cruise ship shuttle bus
Bring on the scooter - we'll even put the ramp down for you!
It dropped passengers off at the bottom of the church. Later I found it also dropped off in town. Darn.
St Nicolas Church in Bornholm, Denmark
At this halfway point Scooter said no more and
I had to drag him up the rest of the way
Whew, that was a workout
St Nicolas in Bornholm, Denmark
With all the cobblestone and steps I didn't even see if I could venture inside. So I grabbed my map and tried to figure out where I was and how to get to town.
Not much help
Even the text didn't help much
Sign isn't going to help either. Terminal means ferry, not cruise ship.
So I just wandered, trying decide which way to go. I wound up just following people instead of trying to forge my own path.
Bornholm, Denmark Baptist Church
No matter which way I turned or who I followed, it was very extremely terribly tremendously difficult. Because of this.
And this.
And this.
And this.
And this.
Cobblestones were EVERYWHERE. 
A very brief respite before the cobblestones started again
I thought I might be at a Vietnam war protest by what Scooter was trying to tell me again and again:
Hell, No, We Won't Go!
The only thing making the adventure worthwhile was something I stumbled upon. I mean, followed a crowd to.
European Street Market sign in Bornholm, Denmark
The European Street Market travels the summer through Denmark and this just happened to be the week it was in Rønne. Lucky us! Not so lucky for me was it was held in an area of nothing but cobblestones. It was crowded with locals with their kids (and dogs) so while I ventured by every stall, I didn't get pictures of everything. Lots of free samples were being given and I was able to partake in a few. With my smeller and taster still broken, it all tasted and smelled the same - with two exceptions. I could tell the maple fudge was sweet, and the lavender sachets smelled like lavender. Maybe I have a first step in my taste and smell coming back???
Bruchetta booth at European street market at Bornholm, Denmark
So much bruschetta
booth at European Street Market in Bornholm, Denmark
Salami and sausages
Salami sample at European Street Market in Bornholm, Denmark
I don't know what kind this was but I tried it
Another stall of salami. They looked so good!
cheese booth at European Street Market in Bornholm, Denmark
Add some cheese with the salami
Throw in some bread and I could be in heaven.
I think these were sweets, though.
British Fudge Booth in Bornholm, Denmark
I can taste sweet maple. Yay!
Italian chocolate booth at the European Street Market in Bornholm, Denmark
Beautiful chocolates
Colorful nuts and fruits
French soap booth at European Street Market in Bornholm, Denmark
I couldn't smell their soaps but could smell their sachet

Today was by far the most difficult day of the trip. The constant roughness of the cobblestones not only required Scooter's motor, but my feet and legs to get him through it. By the time I got back to the ship I could hardly move. The combination of a long, hot, almost-scalding shower and ibuprofen and acetaminophen helped relax things enough where I could at least order dinner in. I'll keep my feet up for the rest of the night and hope I'll be ready for tomorrow when we'll be in Visby, Sweden. We're supposed to have some rough weather coming up, but I'll be there figuring something out anyway!

Apologies for any errors. I'm a hurtin' and can't think straight. I already found about a dozen typos I corrected and wouldn't be surprised if there were several more.