Who sleeps on airplanes? Newly arrived AQ students from Canada and the US don’t! Because the sun never really sets over the route from New York to Stockholm, or they are too excited to begin their adventure in the Baltic? Probably a little bit of both!
After being met at the airport by staff archaeologist, Sarah Linden, they arrived at a tidy M/Y Andromeda at Navishavn Marina on Djurgrden. Djurgrden is one of many islands around Stockholm. While once the Kings royal hunting ground, it now serves as a recreation and museum area, complete with a theme park, gardens, museums, and marinas.
As with all day one arrivals at ActionQuest, this one was busy. After a quick welcome and tour of their new home, the staffs’ goal was to keep the shipmates awake until 9 PM. There is no better way to overcome jet lag than to get acclimated with the day/night light cycle.
We made a picnic lunch and made a short hike to the southern edge of the island. After finding a nice shady spot under a tree along the shore, we made quick work of sandwiches and fruit. Sarah, in unconfined excitement, somehow managed a tutorial on the basics of marine archaeology. Surprisingly, the shipmates, sustained by sugar and non-airplane food, rose to the occasion and participated.
Fearing food coma, induced by the sun and heat, we walked back to Andromeda. Our next adventure was to get fitted for dry-suits with Monica at Fantasea Dive center here in Stockholm for the ensuing three days of cold-water dive training. This was made possible by the deft driving skills of Sarah, who, for the very first time, navigated the streets of Stockholm with all of her Texas swagger. Watching how excited she got as she faced her fears and conquered the wild European roads, I realized yet again how much of an adventure this is for the staff as well.
We finished the afternoon with dinner at Aifur Krog and Bar, a Viking period restaurant located in Gamla Stan. Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm located on the island of Stadsholmen. Narrow streets paved with cobblestone wind through this area settled since the 13th century. Our restaurant is on a very narrow piece that sits below the street level and made of wood. The staff is in period dress, and all of the guests sit at community tables, lain with hand-forged utensils and crockery. The low ceilings, dark wood, and smell of the all-wood construction leans a strong indication of what a typical tavern maybe. I hope our “Cook like a Viking” night is as tasty.
After fully stuffing ourselves, we strolled along the narrow streets and window shops. The shipmates found Sweden’s best-kept secret, which is…. there is literally an ice cream shop on every block. We made a pass through the Nobel Prize Museum and spent time listening to a clarinetist at the water fountain where the purported Swedish Massacre occurred in 1520.
Post sugar high, but pre-low, we drove back to the boat and called it a day. It was 9:15 PM, and heads were bobbing as the shippies headed to bed. Unfortunately, the sun was still up and would be until 10:50 PM. And even then, with waxing, it will never get completely dark.
It was a very good first day. Tomorrow we get another shipmate arriving from Mexico! Oh, and there will be diving. I hope you brought pocket warmers!