The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Kalle's Birthday Cruise

Kalle’s 60th       

The Passage up the Kattegat and the party on board the Stena Germanica

We set off from Stodo for Kiel in plenty of time, we would have hated to miss the ferry and worse still miss Kalle’s Birthday Bash.
Our very good friend Kalle had invited us to celebrate his 60th (past) Birthday in style, on board the Stena Germanica that travels from Kiel to Gothenburg passing through the Kattegat, it is an overnight ferry with a full day in Gothenburg.

The last time I was in Gothenburg was in 1991 and that was to go to the Speedway World Championship in the Ullevi Stadium, this was with my oldest and dearest friend Roy who was flying in from the UK, in those days we were young and stupid (Only thing that has changed in that direction is that we are now a lot older), and I still have the T-Shirt to prove it!
The original T-shirt from 1991
But that has nothing to do with this trip so I shall get on with it! It was a Grey day as we reached Kiel, we got parked up in the Förde Parkhaus, which is very handy as it is directly across the road from the Sweden Terminal were Stena Line is housed. We got to the booking in desk and as we were the first by about an hour, we decided that we would get our park house ticket validated as it would mean that we could get a special rate for the week end (€20,-) and go up to the bar/restaurant on the top floor called the Längengrad , Linda ordered a coffee and I ordered a beer, the waiter must have seen it in my eyes as he brought me a König Pils and a large one at that, well what a good start to the trip.

We went down to the departure lounge and sat and waited for some others that we were traveling with (83 altogether) to arrive. Little did we know that some including Kalle’s Mutti had been in the Längengrad also.

Slowly but surely the space around the reception desk started to fill with known faces, Linda being the worrying type kept going backwards and forwards, I not being the worrying type (I could see the ship tied up waiting for us) just sat and waited. 15 minutes before the time he said he would be there Kalle arrived (anyone that knows anything about Kalle’s time keeping will know what a superhuman effort that he must have put in).

Linda and Carolyn sporting their name tags

Martin waiting to pin the name tags of the correct owners

So we went up to a desk that had been commandeered for the occasion by Martina a friend of Kalle’s and who works for Stena Line and handed in our ID cards or Passports, we also got our name tags so you couldn’t forget who you were if you got lost. 
Martina and kalle doing a bit of checking.
We milled and renewed old acquaintanceships and greeted friends. There was a very large section of the Madrigal Choir on the trip, we have been to hear them on many occasions so many of them were either well known to us or we at least knew their faces (and voices). We were all given our passports etc. back along with our boarding cards.

We at last were given the O.K. to board this meant that we had to go through the pass control (Sweden has again, because of the refugee problem started to insist on border controls).  Next was baggage scans, this is when I held up the line, I had forgotten I carried a knife (a Jagdmesser) in the bottom of my rucksack, I carry this for no other reason that it is a very handy size and very sharp. 

I had unfortunately to leave it at the German side, it was put into safe keeping behind the Stena Line check in desk.
We then boarded, and got directed to our cabin, it was very handy and not only on the same deck but just three cabins along the passageway. It was a very nice cabin, we had requested a cabin with two lower bunks and so had a three birth cabin with two lower and an upper, we decided to use the two lower ones (I am getting too old to do all this clambering up and down in the middle of the night). It also had a TV, though this was used very rarely during both passages, though I did check the football and Rugby results on Saturday night.

Kalle had informed us that on arrival when we got settled in our cabins, we should then get unsettled and make our way up to the Sundeck at the stern of the ship and on Deck 11. 

We found our way up there as had also a lot of the rest of our group alas no sun but the moon (what there was of it) shone brightly. 

As the ship slipped its moorings and slid slowly into the Förde, there was no band or ticker tape but the there was pop of sekt corks as we headed out into the Baltic.

We milled and chatted and looked at the city of Kiel as the dusk turned into darkness, Kalle appeared and the Sekt corks popped as we filled our glasses, let the party begin.
Kalle then asked us to get in a line starting with those nearest to his home and then thinning out to those that lived quite a long way away, this meant a great way to get to know one another as you had to start asking each other where they lived. After a while it was all change and then you were asked to get in line as to when you actually got to know Kalle, again it meant chatting to each other and getting to know your neighbour.  

By this time we were all getting a little cold and so Kalle after another drink of his Sekt and a short speech and telling us to gather at the Restaurant at around 20:30 we went below to have another drink and a chat with old friends.

At the appointed hour we arrived and got a sticker with an “A” on it this was stuck onto your boarding pass and then you could go to our allotted section in the restaurant. Kalle had paid for our evening meal, the sumptuous Smorgasbord. This also included as much wine or beer as you wished, for the young or the weak there was also soft drinks.

I started with a plateful of prawns and crayfish, followed by a plate of smoked salmon, gravadlax, prawn cocktail and also some more crayfish. Next I had some smoked ham, smoked veal and a goodly slice or two of flank steak, with a few chips. After that I was finished, thank goodness I am not a great dessert eater as there was plenty of those.

We were then informed by those in the know that we would all gather at the area in front of the a la carte restaurant as the choirs and Kalle’s family had arrange a little surprise for him.

At the agreed time we all gathered and the choir had a practice (why they needed to practice I do not know they sounded very good as it was).

But then at the allotted time Kalle appeared

and the singing started in earnest. It was really fantastic, but over the years I have come to expect nothing but the best from the Kieler Madrigal Choir. Well done ladies and gentlemen.

Then the family had their go with a nice song to Kalle and the words were written on a scroll that was rolled out in front of them.

Next everyone sang the song again and we made our way to the bar to finish off the evening. I actually feeling the worse for wear after a long day and too many wines at diner left a bit earlier than some (Linda hung on).

Next morning we got up and had breakfast in the panorama lounge as we entered the Älvsborgsfjorden, passing through the rocky out crops and the small islands with there even smaller houses.

In front of us as we entered the Göta Älv (the stretch of water just in front of Göteborg) was the sight of the Älvsborgsbron , the bridge that welcomes visitors arriving from the sea to Göteborg, passing under it we tied up at the German terminal a little way from the bridge.

A day out in Göteborg (Gothenburg)
We had been very kindly supplied with day passes that would get us free transport on the trams, busses and ferries throughout the city, a wonderful idea.

We disembarked and three of us had agreed that we would go to the Konstmuseum (the Cities main Museum of Art), I had wanted to visit this ever since Kalle had informed us of his “Birthday Bash”, it houses the most complete and interesting collection of Nordic art in the world, not only that, but museum is housed in a building that is itself architecturally very interesting.

On arrival in the main terminal building were  group of friends of Kalle's who live in Sweden waiting to greet him with the Swedish flag and hugs and kisses.

Snow lay on the ground as the three of us (Linda, Martin and myself) walked along the overpass to the No. 3 tram stop, this would take us to the near vicinity of the Museum,
The overpass to get you from the terminal to the busses and trams

We alighted at a bridge over Val-graven
we alighted at a stop a little further on than we would have wanted to, but it was a nice morning, cold but sunny, we could see the Museum at the other end of the Kungsportsavenyen on the Göteplatsen, we walked along the wide avenue admiring the fine street sculptures, until we reached the museum.

Alas it was still closed, we had an hour to kill, Martin suggested a cup of coffee, with a bit of enquiry we found a wonderful little café up a side street, Linda was mesmerised by the chap that was making the coffee, she thought he was an artist at his trade.

We drank our coffee and then as it was 11:00 it was time to go to the museum.

It had been snowing but didn't seem to effect this chap.

In through the main doors, passing a very large Henry Moore bronze,

paid the 60SK for our tickets including the special photographic exhibition by a Finnish artist called Esko Männikkö, a very interesting and thought provoking display comprising of over 200 photographs taken from all over the world, some bizarre, some quite horrific but all very interesting.

We then wandered through the normal galleries, these are situated on 6 levels and are well sorted, besides the contemporary Nordic art there is a fair smattering of old masters of the Renaissance and of course the more modern art periods of the19th and 20th century  to include Rembrandt, Picasso, Matisse, not to forget an olive grove by Vincent van Gogh.

Linda's favourite

We spent a nice three hours wandering and looking, meeting again at the lower floor to collect our clothes and bags and head off toward the tram.

We had decided to meet up with two others from the birthday group, our friends Carolyn and Heike, we were on the way to another  place not to be missed when visiting Göteborg, that is the Feskekorka (fish church).

This is the premiere fish market for the resale of fish to the general public, it is built in the shape of a church and never mind a church I think this was a temple to fish.

The temple
Cutting a slice from a nice side of Salmon

Cleaning a nice Perch
He doesn't look too happy about his lot

Dublin Bay Prawns or Norway Loster
A pint or two of shrimps!

And a few East Atlantic lobsters

It also houses 2 restaurants, one of which we selected and ordered a meal, the three girls a fish soup (they said it was over salted), Martin a mixed fish dish and I the shellfish platter. First came some wonderful malty rye bread served with a very nice green olive tapenade.
Our little party, the chap in the middle is not part of it but a Basque on holiday!

Then the main orders, I cannot speak for the rest but my shellfish platter was very nice indeed, may be not the best I have had (the ones in Honfleur are somewhat better). But it consisted of a couple of nice juicy oysters, a pile of pink atlantic prawns, 4 large succulent langoustines (Dublin Bay Prawns) and half a crab. Served with a bowl of Aioli, a bowl of mayonnaise mixed with sour cream and a bowl of sweet dill mustard. It was pity that they had run out of bread as I would have loved to have been able to dip it into those wonderful sauces, but alas we had come right at the end of the day, most of the stalls had already closed when we left that hallowed church of fish. I shall certainly return next time I am in Götenborg.

After a short discussion and a search we decided to catch the ferry back to the ship, this was a great end to our day out in the city, the ferry bounces back and forth across the harbour before at last ending up beneath the Älvsborgsbron just as the sun was setting, a perfect end to a perfect trip ashore. I find that the view of a City is best seen from the water and in the case of Gothenburg this is certainly true.

Three Göteborg Damen?

The Stena Denmark Terminal

The Naval Base

A Square Rigger

A floating Parkhouse

The flitzer to Denmark

Sunlight hitting the centre of Götenborg

The Stena Germanica waiting for us (and a few more)

Another view back to the City
The river ferry putting us on shore 

The sun slowly sinking
And sinking

Setting the sky on fire
The last of the sun for today

Back on board it was decided after a clean-up and change of clothes we would meet at the self-service restaurant  beside the panorama lounge, here they have a limited selection, but at very reasonable prices. I had steamed salmon with plain potatoes, very tasty.

We then adjourned to the Bar had a few beers, took part in a quiz and then listened to a bit of music, we chatted with some of the other guests and when the DJ announced that it was time for Karaoke, I decided it was time to leave and go to my cabin to watch the sport results.

Next morning after we packed our cases and had breakfast in the same panorama lounge, we watched as the Stena Germanica was entering the Kieler Förde, we chatted and mingled  and then it was time to disembark after a wonderful weekend. I was reunited my knife from the Stena information counter so the world was in order again.

The Youngest of our group! Little Jakob.
Kalle had informed us all that after to disembarking that we should all gather in the main reception area of the terminal. Here a group photograph was taken (many times) and then after the final farewells it was time to head for home.

THe Colour Line reversing up the Förde?
Our Friend Kalle saying his goodbyes to us all

And The Oldest of our party Kalle's mother!

The Group of Kalle's friends that went on HIS CRUISE!

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