Blog 3 Nynäsham- Oxelösund 28th May - 4th June 2015
An interesting little harbour town where the train terminates and a big part of life is fishing - there was supposed to be a major salmon fishing competition today with people from as far away as Croatia - high tech fishing rods everywhere and motor boats bristling with kit, but a Sou-Westerly had blown up a bad sea which nobody was going out in so they stayed in harbour and fished off the pontoons like children on a pier - very sensible. A lot of fish of every variety is smoked here bringing out the most exquisite woody flavours which improves even on the natural taste, we had a pile of smoked prawns for lunch today - wonderful but we need to be careful not to overindulge, however our guests took us to dinner at a restaurant on the quay this evening and that was an experience, Beautiful white fish cooked in ginger and the most surprising flavours.
There is a church here perched high on a massive mound of rock, it takes your breath just walking up the steps but it was worth it this morning as we stumbled into a concert practise session with a young baritone with the most magic voice and a really good piano accompanist rehearsing Schubert liede - absolutely entrancing. We think we've found that the concert is on Monday, if we are still here we will certainly go. In the end there was no concert - it had all been lost in translation.
The wind continued to keep blowing hard which made a ferry trip to Gotland an good proposition, leaving the boat where it was for the night. Sitting in the ferry lounge we passed three amusing hours watching the body language of a large group of 15 year old school children reacting with each other, boys strutting and girls looking and small groups huddled around leaders of the pack. The four of us had taken a most excellent chalet at a holiday resort as every hotel in Gotland was full - then the fun started again when we discovered at breakfast the next morning that a similar group of school chidlren were also staying in the resort - this time 13 year old - and the boy / girl games entertained us greatly once more.
Gotland island is extraordinary in that in the 15th - 17th century it had great wealth from Baltic trading when ships were smaller and although only 60miles by 18 miles in dimension it had something like 92 churches, many vast in size. Most are now in ruins but the huge city walls remain as do many of the tiny ancient wooden houses - a real time warp and tourist trap having many outlets for the wonderful Gotland wool fleeces which are grey and tightly curled not unlike an Astrakhan hat, and so soft and warm. It was here we found the smart blue butterwort plant with almost orchid like flowers and fleshy leaves which trap insect prey to dine on in leisure once it has closed up and softened its victim. The car we hired was also ancient, a bone shaking Passat with paper notices stuck at strategic places to help inform the driver how to make it work, we might have known what to expect when the price was so low and they did not ask that bit about checking for scratches or damage or would be bring it back please.
Our French chums arrived in Cybele, quite a large yacht and ideal for a joint birthday dinner shared between Francois and Jane which they provided but that night, champagne and all the works. Later, their cat Pirate came on board our boat at midnight, moving around on deck, Jo saw a furry black face peering at her through the portlight in the light of a full moon. He began mewing for us knowing we were on board but as we had not emerged by 3am he decided to jump off the bow back on to the pontoon and go home. Remarkable having to jump up 1.5 mtrs from the pontoon and out to sea to get onto our bow!
Finally the forecast promised less wind the next day and with two reefs in the main we set off for Oxelösund 37 miles away. Sadly, although the sun shone the whole day it turned out to be a terrible journey, the wind hardly dropped at all and for most of the eight and half hour trip the seas were large and disturbed occasionally lifting the bow high then crashing down before green water rushing along the decks, very uncomfortable but Talisman is a "dry boat" designed for heavy weather so we stayed dry and safe and finally got to the somewhat industrial fishing harbour at Oxelösund. It can be said that in its favour it is a very convenient halfway house with few other alternatives but it's industrial flavour has to be accepted in good humour, in fact the local fisherman make themselves very comfortable and even have a floating hot tub and sauna along with all the usual necessities of the working man.