I had to look it up myself to ensure I was pronouncing it correctly! It’s one of those words that you read in books all the time, but you don’t use in every day conversation. Basically, the entire city is surrounded by water, and it is a cluster of different islands. For example, I mentioned in an earlier post that our hotel was on the island of Skeppsholmen, which is just one of the many islands within the city. But in addition to the archipelago that makes up the city of Stockholm, there are hundreds of additional islands to the west of the city. These less-populated, more “country/rustic” islands make up the summer-getaway destination for city dwellers, similar to the “Up North” world for Minnesotans. (No wonder the Swedes felt so comfortable when they emigrated to Minnesota!)
The same coworker who suggested Djurgarden as a perfect running location, also told me about her friend’s experience sea kayaking in this summer getaway destination. Her suggestion sounded like a fun way to explore this part of the country while still being active- the right fit for the D-man and me! So we went ahead and booked a day trip through “Stockholm Adventures“.
Our trip started with a ferry ride from the town of Stavsnas:
There were only 2 other people on the trip- an entertaining British couple who said they were “escaping London during the Olympics!”
waiting for the ferry in Stavsnas
We started the paddle excursion with a quick tutorial on the kayaks, paddling, and the equipment.
We had to wear “skirts” to keep the water out of the kayaks, and of course life jackets were mandatory.
After the skills session, we were off!
Our guide Mathias was an athletic 22 year old, who would be spending his upcoming winter surfing in New Zealand. He was excited to tell us that he would also be taking his first trip to the USA the following May- to the town of MIAMI! We tried to explain that Miami was very different that Minneapolis, but I’m not sure he understood…
Mathias led us through many deserted islands, as well as several populated ones, such as “Sandhamm”. If you have read the Millennium trilogy, you’ll recognize this island as the one to which Mikhail Blomquist escaped from the city in the books! Mathias told us that Sandhamm is where “the rich people go to admire each other’s yachts!”
We paddled for about two hours before stopping for a lovely picnic on a deserted island.
After lunch, we took a dip in the water…or as our British friend said, we went “balls deep in the Baltic.”
The Baltic is a brackish sea- it wasn’t very salty, but it was definitely cold! After the swim, we paddled a couple more hours, but this time the wind was at our backs, and we zipped right along! My sister Emily and her husband are avid kayakers, and probably could school the D-man and I any day. However, we still felt like we held our own in our boat, and enjoyed being on the water in the fresh air for the day. It was definitely an upper body workout, as well as a bit of a workout for the core.