when you think of sweden, i’ll bet you don’t really think of cruises. i didn’t, until i lived here. i did understand that swedes are sea people, forest people, nature-loving people. most people live in the big cities of sweden, but the majority of sweden is untouched, natural, wild, and beautiful, including a long, wonderful coastline. and swedes find anyway that they can to get out and enjoy nature.
stockholm, the capital of sweden, actually lies on a bunch of little islands…it is an archipelago. and it’s just a short boat ride through + around the archipelago to the open sea. the baltic sea, which separates sweden and finland/estonia.
swedes love the water. they love seafood, love the sun + the waves. love the special life that is archipelago life. in fact, if you are a lucky swede, you live in the city and have a little “stuga” (cabin) in the archipelago by the sea, or out in the woods beside a lake. this is where swedes spend their summers and weekends. of course this is a dream of mine too. i want to have a place in a small little community on an archipelago island. a place where i can write and be and relax. where i can walk everywhere + have to use my little boat to get back to the mainland.
however, in the meantime, since i don’t have one of these places, i have the opportunity to take a 22 hour cruise across the baltic to get a little taste of the sea life. this is a very, very popular way to spend a weekend here in sweden. a chance to getaway, dance, drink, party, shop (tax free!), and feel the sea breeze. (not really the simple archipelago life, but is does get you out to sea. hehe).
photo from here.
and that is exactly what i did this past weekend with 7 other family members + friends. we left uppsala, took the train down to the harbor in stockholm and boarded a huge cruise ship (pictured above!) for an overnight cruise to åland… a group of islands close to finland. we had a super, amazing blast. and i have a TON of photos to share with you!
running in uppsala… don’t want to miss our train!
made it to stockholm in 40 minutes! now: taxi ride from the train station to the harbor.
unloading + getting our 1st view of our ship!!
beautiful STOCKHOLM in the background
checked in + waiting to board. what to do? why, a group cheers to our trip, of course!
onboard + on the back deck to check out the view before leaving dock
best usie/groupie ever, i think. love these people!
alone on the back deck for a moment… soaking in this beautiful ship
we set sail + ran as high as we could so we could get a good view and wave goodbye to stockholm
back downstairs into the big lounge area for our first drinks! cheers (again!)!
when our rooms were ready, we headed to our cabins to change for dinner
our cabin: 4 beds + a huge porthole window! perfect.
dinner buffee (with all the drinks you can manage also included)
the blue hour on deck
darkness came + the party began!
a few quiet (and super windy + cold) moments on the deck in the dark. eerie and peaceful all at the same time.
i slept for 2 hours. hehe. so to wake myself up i headed out on deck in the cold and wind. it was an invigorating, inspiring, soul-filling moment. just me + the sea.
then i was joined by my love and our friend.
after breakfast + some tax free shopping, i literally sat here in this panorama bar on the top floor of the deck for the entire rest of the trip. our group gathered here, recovering, resting, and just enjoying the view.
my brother-in-law invited me to have an appletini with him. a little end of the cruise celebration about an hour before we docked.
i’ve never done anything like this before, and it was so fun. intense, exhausting, and fuuuuun! of course, i couldn’t wait to get home and just throw myself on the couch. which is exactly what my love + i did. we ordered pizza, netflixed as long as we could stay awake, and then headed to bed to sleep for 11 hours.
i think i’m all cruise-shipped out for a while, but i’d definitely do it again! it’s great fun to spend a weekend with friends + family, just letting it all go. relaxing, dancing, eating. i loved it.
but about that archipelago cabin…. one day!