Wednesday, April 7, 2010



This Google feature allows me to review statistics about visitors to the blog over the last 30 days.

We have had 3,212 visitors from 85 countries in the last month. The "Big Three" visiting countries are the United States, Sweden and Italy in that order.

I am always intrigued by the small, offbeat nations that visit this blog. This month the blog got hits from Sri Lanka, Jordan, Kuwait, Moldova, Maldives, Iran, Ghana, Malaysia, Gibraltar, Macedonia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Iceland, Estonia, Hong Kong and Pakistan among the 85 participating countries.

Tuesday after practice, while I was waiting to lock up the training facility as some stragglers were still showering, I struck up a conversation with LB/TE Filip Sundgren and Andrei Dragelescu's significant other, Trese. When wondering what to explore today, they both suggested the I go east to the port city of Karlskrona on the Baltic Sea.

Slight financial and time issues on this trek surfaced.

First, my miracle Jojo Card is only good in the region of Skåne and Karlskrona is in the neighboring region of Blekinge. I did have to pay 210 Krona for the round trip travel in Blekinge region but my Jojo Card covered the round trip fare in Skåne which amounted to 112 Krona. After 10 days of use on my 30 day Jojo Card the tally stands at 672 Krona used not counting bus trips for the 1,060 Krona cost of the card.

The other issue was the four hour round trip train ride. Not to worry, I was armed with Stieg Larsson's last book in his Millennium Trilogy, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" and got a lot of reading done.

King Karl XI

One day you are the Absolute Ruler of Sweden with a beautiful city named after you, the next day you are a target for sea gull droppings!

To better defend Sweden from naval attacks, he moved the main Swedish Naval base from Stockholm south to Karlskrona.

There were two types of vessels during this time. The traditionally large deep sea ships were part of the Naval Fleet that sailed the Baltic Sea and the smaller, more manueverable vessels made up the Archipelago Fleet that would patrol the hundreds of small islands along the Swedish coastline.

Thus, Karlskrona enjoys a rich seafaring history.

Sun Worshippers

To date there have only been two types of weather in southern Sweden. The norm is overcast, foggy and drizzly. The other, more rare weather front is bright, sunny, cloudless and SPECTACULAR!

There is no such thing here as "partly cloudy, clearing up in the late afternoon".

As these Karlskronites will attest, today was indeed SPECTACULAR!

That reminds me, I wonder how
Brian FitzGerald is doing?

Hammer Time!

Karlskrona's Skyline

The busiest place in Karlskrona

On this SPECTACULAR day, there was really only one dining choice, ICE CREAM!!!

Filip and Trese both mentioned that a visit to the Karlskrona Maritime Museum was a must. Who was I to argue?

Is this the Maritime Museum?

No, but this interesting building with smoke billowing out of an oven-like structure outside the main entrance was worth a look.

Of course, they build boats!

Wooden boats built by hand!

That oven outside the entrance is used to somehow prepare the wood that will be added to the various boats that are in different stages of production in this fascinating workshop.

Using a plane with INTENSITY!

Eve and Adam

Just outside of the Maritime Museum.

Where the hell is my duelling pistol?

An interesting "palm" tree in the Museum's entry hall.

The Three Crowns of Sweden

Big Red

There were lots of ship's mastheads like this one on display in the museum.

Did you know that a Nautical Mile, a.k.a., a knot, is 265 yards longer than a U.S. land mile" Do not confuse this with the 10 km Swedish land mile.

A Model of a 1761 Fire Ship

There are a slew of ships models here for a good reason. For centuries, the secrets of good ship building and design rested in the heads of master shipwrights. Nothing was written down so when the shipwright died, many of his ideas could die with him.

To help solve this problem, the Swedish Navy declared that shipwrights must make and send scale models of their ships to Karlskrona for further study. After studying the various designs further technological breakthroughs would hopefully soon follow.

The model above is of a Fire Ship. These were basically old boats that were near the end of their usefulness. They would then be refit into being a floating torch. The idea was to first get the fire ship to start gliding towards the slow manuevering enemy ships. As it got close, the skeleton crew lit the oil soaked ship on fire and quickly abandoned ship to get into the safety of a small boat that trailed them.

In its time, it was considered a "Weapon of Mass Destruction".

This model was not found with the other ship models in the Naval Archives, instead it had been catalogued with the munitions.

The 1790 Battle of Viborg Bay

A Fire Ship's worse case scenario.

The Swedes launched this Fire Ship at some Russian vessels but it shifted directions after being set loose and ignited three Swedish ships ablaze instead. Eventually the ammunition on board the three ships exploded killing all but a dozen of 1,000 men serving on the combined crews of these three ships.

I still have trouble tying my shoes

Suddenly I started to worry about our
ability to block and tackle on Sunday

Father Fidelis?

The Good Old Days

Adventure on the High Seas

Part of the Karlskrona Archipelago

Family Beach Time

The Kungshall Bastion

Pointed at the Baltic Sea entrance to Karlskrona, these cannons and the Archipelago made the defense of Karlskrona much easier.

Fire a Warning Volley!

A lonely duck sets off for the Baltic Sea

A port has to have a lighthouse . . .

. . . a very LARGE light house

A Statue to Beggars?

Reading coming alive?

Bill Gardner's Rotarians at it again!

Klockstapeln i Amiralitetsparken

Karlskrona's peaceful inner harbor

Am I supposed to buy one of these?

I wonder what Ian Murphy is up to today?

NO, Karlskrona was GOOD!

This edifice actually houses a very elegant health spa that is billed as "A Classic Oasis for Body and Soul".

another great adventure in southern Sweden!

Its now been 35 days since I last held Laurie, sometimes I get easily distracted thinking of her . . .

Our first kiss was on July 4, 1965

Laurie loves hearts

This T-shirt at the Maritime Museum brought me back to earth.

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