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Silversea Cruises' Silver Shadow
Cruise Diva's Cruise Diary
A Swedish Sojourn

Kvarken Archipelago Shoreside Cottages

Vaasa, Finland, July 12, 2007
Known as one of the sunniest cities in Finland, unfortunately our visit was punctuated by clouds and a brief shower. We decided the best way to see the region was a cruise of the archipelago and, thankfully, the weather cooperated enough so that our tour wasn't cancelled.

As we saw from our bus, Vaasa itself is a very green city, with numerous parks and esplanades. Depending on whether residents speak Finnish or Swedish, the city is referred to as Vaasa or Vasa. This part of Finland has a large Swedish-speaking population and nearly everyone is bi-lingual.

After crossing the longest bridge in Finland, we boarded our boat for a cruise through the Kvarken Archipelago, designated a World Nature Heritage Site by virtue of its unique geology. Studded with huge boulders left behind in the last ice age, the land is rising to form islands and redefine coastal boundaries. We cruised past many examples of the young land forms and cottages along the coast. Our guide pointed out the main houses and smaller buildings enclosing the owners' saunas--it wouldn't be much of a summer home without a sauna as she explained.

Back at sea in the early afternoon, we attended Dr. Atkins' second lecture--a look at Scandinavia, the Nazis, and World War II. We're fascinated by his insights into the relationships between European governments and war.

Our cruise has three formal nights planned and tonight was the first. Captain Marco Sangiacomo hosted his welcome aboard cocktail party, which was followed by dinner, highlighted by delicious lobster tail. We changed our clocks to reflect the loss of an hour the night before so we retired early after a concert performance by Judy Carmichael, a Grammy-nominated pianist.

Turku, Finland, July 13, 2007 
Perhaps I should have taken a pass on the open air cruise yesterday as the sinus infection I felt coming on has gotten worse--now I have a persistent cough. After keeping both of us awake for most of the night, instead of going ashore, I visited the ship's infirmary. Dr. Riedel recognized my problem immediately and prescribed medication, including instructions to rest. Since I'd slept so little the previous night, I went back to bed and never did make it into Turku.

Mel caught the complimentary shuttle into town and I'll get an idea of what he saw when I look over the photos he took. Our photo-taking has become a bit challenging because it was immediately apparent that my camera was broken when I first tried to use it. Then Mel's camera malfunctioned. Fortunately, we have a spare--a small pocket Canon that is a little champ. Also fortunately, Mel found a camera store in Turku where he was able to purchase a reconditioned Nikon camera body at a bargain price and he's back in business (and in much better spirits). 

By dinnertime, I still didn't feel like going out so we ordered items from the Restaurant menu to be served in our suite. I love lasagna and was pleased to see it on the menu. Like all the pasta we've tried so far on Silver Shadow, it was excellent.

At Sea, July 14, 2007
With a good night's sleep, regaining the hour we lost, and an invigorating shower, I felt much better today. There aren't a lot of activities on the schedule that we plan to participate in, but a culinary demonstration with the Executive Chef sounds appealing and, of course, the third installment of Dr. Atkins' lecture series. 

The rhythm of several port calls followed by a sea day and then more port calls before another sea day seems just right for this unique itinerary. We plan to kick back and relax for the rest of the day before preparing for another formal night.

Back to the Swedish Sojourn Index

Back to Arrival & Embarkation in Stockholm

Back to Ornskoldsvik, & Lulea, Sweden

Forward to Oslo, Norway; Gothenburg, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Lubeck, Germany

Forward to A Day At Sea & Exploring Stockholm

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