Given that the weather until now had been sunny and dry, we were very much looking forward to celebrating Midsummer, a Swedish (and Finnish) tradition, celebrated extensively in both countries on the Saturday falling closest to 24th June.
But our arrival at Navishamn Marina in Stockholm was damp and complicated by the challenge of having to moor ‘bows-to’ while picking up a stern buoy, which we have previously and studiously avoided, for various reasons. One, we prefer anchoring where possible; two, we try to go ‘alongside’ if we do go into a marina deep enough for us; three, we do not have a bow-thruster and Pipistrelle is heavy to manoeuvre. Another ‘first’ to chalk up then. Shore assistance magically appeared, warps were handed over, and Pipistrelle secured. However, getting off from the bow, on to the pontoon and back on again proved a stretch too far, and a neighbouring boat lent us a special bow boarding ladder, widely used throughout Scandinavia. Needless to say, we now have one of our own – photo to follow. The owners of said ladder, Cathy and Jacques from Switzerland on a yacht called Freja, promptly invited us on board for a glass of wine – we obviously looked as though we needed one! A convivial time followed on their immaculate Discovery 55, and we discovered surprising and unsurprising coincidences. Unsurprisingly, they, like we, know the original owners of Discovery Yachts in Southampton (see A Morning with Discovery Yachts). But astoundingly, they are great friends with Lars and Anna-Maria Lemby’s daughter who we had met briefly earlier in the week (see previous blog)!
Midsummer’s Eve itself dawned cold and wet, but cleared early afternoon so we took advantage of the window of opportunity and walked the short distance to the Skansen Open Air Museum, the recommended location in Stockholm to enjoy festivities.
Here, as in all towns and villages throughout the land, the famous Midsummer Pole (the English equivalent is our Maypole) decorated with flowers and leaves would be today’s main attraction. Either to dance and sing traditional songs, or just to spectate, crowds gathered round the tall pole which had been raised earlier.
Opened in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, Skansen is the largest museum of its kind in the world with houses, farm buildings, churches and towers from the whole of Sweden rebuilt on the site, a hill overlooking Stockholm.
Coming Soon … ‘Stockholm out to Impress’