Day 7 Scandinavia – Say Sayonara Sweden!

I didn’t get up in time to take a sunrise photo today. This is in the early evening as we sailed away from Sweden. We passed thousands of islands. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the breathtaking views. Of course, as soon as my stomach growled, I bailed for dinner….

Ellie’s throat was sore and her ears plugged when she went to bed last night.  We let her sleep in to get some rest.  We don’t have any rest days until after we leave St. Petersburg.  George and I slipped away while she slept and had a sunny breakfast on the buffet veranda.  It felt so nice to wake up with coffee in the warm sun.

I was tired, so I had a veggie omelet with feta cheese for protein and added some pumpkin seeds to a fruit salad I put together. They have a cooking station and will make whatever egg concoction desired.

Ellie roused and we decided to forego another taxi adventure, and took the Hop On and Never Get To Your Destination Bus.  The Stockholm Hop On bus really is a waste of money.  It would be far quicker to walk.  Traffic is heavy and it took us 90 minutes to reach Old Town.  Mohammed the taxi driver had got us there in ten minutes.  I can’t count Mr. Eeyore, taxi driver number two, because that poor man has some issues that will take more than a GPS to fix.  Have to admit that every taxi we saw, we spontaneously called out “Good Taxi” or “Bad Taxi!”

We were in search of souvenirs and good photos of the city.  Ellie has a natural eye for taking great pictures.  My photos  pale in comparison.  After about four stores, George was done and wanted to sit and have a bite to eat.  We ended up in a 13th century cellar under a food stand.  We decided to just have something small and eat a full meal later.  We ordered a small waffle, a bagel with salmon on it and two ice teas.  Cost?  $48.  And the waffle was tough.  This was just a dinky little food stand!  The topper was it cost one Euro to use the toilet!  If it wasn’t enough to pay $48 for a snack, then have to pay a Euro to use the toilet?  We often pay, but it is never more than half a Euro.  We decided to eat when we got back to the boat before our entire budget was spent on snack food.  We discovered later that we weren’t the only people with the same notion.

The abandoned husband group outside a store. Ellie was thrilled to show her purchases, George was thrilled with bailing on our shopping trip.

After waiting for Ellie and I to do a some souvenir shopping, George was ready to call it a day.  There weren’t places for husbands to wait.  They ended up in groups, leaning against buildings.  George  took the Hop On and Make it to the Ship by Tomorrow bus and went back to the ship.

There were a lot of men not looking particularly happy.  One old gent had a t-shirt emblazoned with:

“I’m not grumpy.  I’m surrounded by People That Are Too Happy.”  In the heat, I think there were more grumpy people than happy.  Store clerks kept glumly kept repeating “No Air Conditioning in Sweden” and “It has been like this for three months!”  Even with the thick 13th century walls of the Old Town, it was still hot and muggy.

We walked on, shopped on, and waited a good 40 minutes for the stupid Hop On and Hope We Get to The Ship Before it Sails Bus.  A short 90 minutes later, we made the three mile journey to the ship.  We could have easily walked it more quickly.  After our wild taxi rides, I was reluctant to strike out walking with only a Hop On map, and could not believe the bus that was guaranteed to arrive every ten minutes wasn’t going to appear right around the corner.  There was a huge crowd of worried cruisers waiting with us.  The driver got cranky and said not everyone was going to fit, but there were more buses just ten minutes behind him.  Yeah, right.  This bus took 40 minutes and we are running out of time.  We all shoved on and defied him to put somebody off.  He wasn’t happy – but neither were we.

Back at the ship, everyone next shoved their way to the free food at the buffet.  Ellie went off with her friends and George went back to bed.  I strolled the ship and watched the ship slowly leave the harbor.  We had arrived during the night and didn’t understand the magnitude of the islands in the archipelago.  We sailed by hundreds and hundreds of islands.  Many with homes – how do these people afford the gorgeous homes out on remote islands and afford to go out for dinner?

I checked on Google and nearly all families are two income.  Rentals are almost impossible to find, 3-5 year waiting list.  Best option is to buy – but you only purchase the right to live somewhere, not the property itself!  Most people try to find a sublet circumstance and move every 6-12 months until your name comes up on the real rental list.  Different, huh?

Pooped from the heat, we hit bed early to be ready for Estonia tomorrow.  I’m hearing exciting things about Tallinn, and can’t wait to see it.  Best news is the temperatures are supposed to be cooler.  Oh my, to wear a sweater…..!

This was a small island, filled with homes. No cars. Wonder what it looks like in the winter – and if they an even get to it.  According to George’s internet research, each of these houses would be a bit under a million US dollars.  Could this be true?  What do these folks do for a living!
A seagull flew right by our balcony while I was taking pictures
Old structures with a fort above on the hill of this small island. From the sign it looked to have a restaurant and small hotel on the island. Two young girls sat on the step and we hollered back and forth to each other. They were laughing and a bunch of us on our balconies had a wonderful time chatting and waving at them. Our ship came very close to this island!
This island was postage stamp size. A big wave would wash over the house.  Not for the faint hearted.





Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way for my husband, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. Due to a major health scare, I recently retired - and love retirement! I have always LOVED to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight, went to work for them and found a new career. For me, it was a dream job. How many people can say they loved their job? I got to work together with people and help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found, even in my own backyard of Mt Hood, Oregon. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. As Medicare is now a prominent part of my life, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

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