Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweden 2010

Sweden, Oslo & Munich, June 2010
Every day is a big adventure for a tinkerer (How can I fix that tool? What can I make with that scrap of wood? Can I improve my home made table saw so that I can’t stick my fingers in the blade by accident? etc. etc.) When you have reason to travel half way round the world to Sweden, however, one’s horizons become broader. The itinerary was Munich for one week, Olso for two days and three weeks in Sweden. (Thailand stop over had been cancelled due to the Bangkok crisis. Horizons can become too broad).

Munich, Germany
Munich was a very pretty, compact city. We arrived at the very beginning of the sunny weather so the beer gardens were just setting up for the summer. There was quite a lot to see within walking distance of the main train station. The Deutches Museum transport collection was the big drawcard for me in Munich. I managed to entertain myself for an afternoon wandering around the backstreet tool shops and bought a nice little chip carving knife and a nice Solingen pocket knife.

Oslo, Norway
Oslo was a special detour in the main itinerary so that we could visit the Viking ships museum. The fact that we arrived on the night of the Eurovision song contest final, Oslo’s night of nights made it extra special. I don’t know who won, but the English fans dressed in union jacks looked less gay and happy on the Sunday morning than they did on Saturday night.

Viking ships were impressive but I was blown away by the small boats. Construction details were amazing, especially considering they were built by hand. Beaded plank edges, no inwhale, light scantlings all made for a fine delicate craft. Not what I expected from the Vikings.

Oslo harbour was a real treat for a wooden boat fans. I photographed a Colin Archer 45 footer, Stavanger, with a pair of oars! I would love some one to tell me what they were for!

We visited the Fram museum and stopped for lunch on the foreshore. Olso’s wooden boat fans were out on the water which made for an ideal lunch break wooden boat spotting.

Flen, Sweden
Flen was the main destination to visit family who lived out of town in a red painted cottage by a lake. We visited the local “Loppis” or flea market Saturday morning where I picked up some Eka pocket knives made in Eskilstuna about 45kms away and some nautical charts of the Baltic sea. From then I on I was hooked on “Loppis”. The Swedes don’t know the value of their own trash in Australia (or in my workshop at least). Also managed to pick up some carving knives in the local department store.

We were lucky enough to have accommodation on Stockholm for a week and visited the Vasa Museum, Stockholm’s Maritime museum and toured the harbour (Luck had nothing to do with it. I am encouraging my better half to launch her own website called “licensed2plan”).

The Vasa is hard to describe and even harder to photograph. The exhibition space was extremely dark and the bulk of the interesting detail was out of flash range. The size of the thing is has to be seen to be believed but the attached photo shows a 1/10th scale model next to some onlookers with the real thing in the background.

The amount of work and the workmanship is incredible. It must have been heartbreaking to put so much effort into the build and see it sink on its maiden voyage. The irony is that the King who dictated the “design” details was in Russia at the time of the launch and didn’t witness the disaster. Along with the ship there was a fantastic collection of period and reproduction tools and utensils used by the sailors and builders.

The final week of our stay was in Norrtelje. We visited the Pythagoras museum which was once a working factory where they designed and made boat engines amongst other things. Reminded me of some places I have worked over the years. We drove up the coast towards Grisslehamn where there were a number of scenic coastal towns and visited a maritime museum where and annual postal boat race the "Postrodden". The postal run delivered mail from the mainland out towards the Aland islands in unpowered open boats. We were told that if there is no wind it takes about four hours to row the postal route, one way!

Typical Swedish working sailboat (Some examples of typical Swedish workboats)

Model of Typical Swedish working sailboat

What a trip! The weather was kind the people were great and the food was smoked and salted. Does it get any better? More than anything the highlight of the trip was coming home with a load of ideas for future projects. Build double ended open boat with a schooner rig,