We sailed out of Stockholm this evening, and I have to say it’s one of the most spectacular I’ve ever done – as memorable as Venice in its own way. We sailed past innumerable islands. Those closer to the city were populated, or at least had summer homes on them. Beautiful houses right down next to the water, with boathouses or docks and the obligatory boat. The waterways were busy, with a constant passage of water buses and larger craft. Also the sun came out! – the steady rain of the mid-afternoon gave way to a blue sky with some clouds, and as the ship departed we were able to get out onto our balcony in the sun for a while.
We thrust off the berth at 5:30, and we passed the last island and were finally out into the open sea at almost 10:30. In the last couple of hours or so the islands had been smaller and generally unpopulated, but the whole scene was beautiful and memorable. I enjoyed Stockholm city, and the archipelago just made it even better. I took a number of pictures, and I’m frustrated at not being able to post any. Unfortunately I’ve only got an iPad with me, and the photo-editing software I’ve got doesn’t even seem to be able to do image size reduction, and in practice it’s not sensible to try to upload an 18 megapixel image over a satellite link. Next Black Friday I’m buying a MacBook Air….
During the evening we had a meal in XVII. I won’t go into all the menu details except to say that Val had a steak main course and I had lamb. These were both excellent. Val’s starter was also excellent, but I didn’t enjoy mine so much (my fault – bad choice). We also had a pre-starter of a miniature cup of broccoli soup, which I enjoyed very much, and a pre-dessert of a mango smoothie, which I didn’t like at all. But as ever in these restaurants there was an awful lot of food, and Val in particular was left feeling very full – to the point that she sent back the complimentary chocolates at the end of the meal (to general chuckles, it must be said). What did I think of XVII? If I had to be honest I’d have to say that while it was very good, I probably preferred the meal in Sindhu more.
I ought also to report that we washed the steak and lamb main courses down with a bottle of Chateau Caillou, appellation Cahors Controlée – i.e. a French Malbec, and very good it was too.
Tomorrow is a sea day during which we will take it very easy before Saint-Petersburg on Saturday and Sunday.