Sea Cloud II in Stockholms majestic historic harbor.
Luxurious cabins abound aboard Sea Cloud II. Here Cabin 306.
Sea Cloud II's sails unfurled - a total of 24 in all!
The following text and images were submitted for possible online publication just prior to 9/11/2001 . . . but the world changed that day, as did our focus for the next coming months, and thus this piece only appears here . . .
What better way to see the chain of Baltic capitals then by sea . . . and even better when traveling by a traditional sailing ship – well, sort of a traditional sailing ship. The Sea Cloud II, launched earlier this year, does have three masts and hoists up to 24 sails, but it also features all the modern conveniences of diesel engines, air conditioning and ultra-ultra-luxurious fittings. This was home for 10-days for our group traveling with The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a trip entitled "Treasures of the Baltic" – Met members were also joined by those of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, and all under the able leadership of Academic Arrangements Abroad.
Ultra blue skies were the rule by day and glittering golden sunsets at night came as late 11pm or so.
The daytime routines of leisure while sailing, or exploring and touring ashore, were always punctuated by savory and fascinating lectures presented by the incomparable Olivier Bernier (a Harvard history grad; he is a step son to another incredible lecturer Rosamund Bernier Russell; and a search on Yahoo! results in 3,990 web pages and they do all seem to relate to Olivier). Olivier has the wit and breath of knowledge to bring alive the Kings and Queens of the past, and to describe the ups and downs of these amazing times – I don't remember ever being told in history class that Sweden in the 17th Century was more powerful and dominate in Europe than France!
Copenhagen's Kongens Nytorv Square.
The exhibition "Earth From Above" seen at night at the square.
But back at the beginning, prior to sailing from Copenhagen, we had the chance to explore both the city and some of the countryside. One find was Tage Andersen's botanical shop -- which has incredible style and is so popular for "lookers" that there is a sign on the door "entre 40kr" . . . meaning if you don't buy something, you still pay to take a real look (about $5 at the time).
Frederiksbourg Slot outside of Copenhagen.
Amazing angles to the grass parteres.
Old Naval Base.
We first set sail from the Danish capital past historic wharves, and modern windmills -- 22 giant ones in the Sound between Denmark and Sweden.
Early highlights of the sail included the Swedish island of Gotland with its principal town of Visby -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- with its charming houses clinging to the islands hillsides and 92 medival churches from centuries ago (many now in ruins). Continuing overnight at sea, we entered the 45-mile waterway trip inland to find the Swedish capital of Stockholm.
Visby, Island of Gotland, Sweden. Examples of some of the many churches in ruins. A total of 92 medival churches were built.