Day four Gota Kanal
May 2nd, 2011
Today we had somewhat of an adventure because the Diana got stuck in a lock where there was some maintenance being done on the lock. Somehow a large piece of plastic got caught in the propeller so we were delayed for several hours while a diver went down to unwrap the plastic from the propeller. Once the plastic was removed we were on our way once again across a lake. The Diana went through more locks and we came to a “step lock” where there were about five locks in a row, all stepping down to another lake. We were allowed again to disembark the Diana and watch as the boat made it’s way from one lock to another until finally reaching the lake. These are great moments to take pictures of our boat doing what it was built to do, which is to navigate from Gothenborg to Stockholm on this classic journey across Sweden. Today we passed more historic homes along the canal and ventured out into yet another lake. It began to get more and more cold as we progressed. I need to mention that one of the more endearing times spent onboard the Diana is the wonderful meals, particularly at diner where traditional and exquisite food is prepared. The Diana has such an interesting mix of passengers from all around the world. Today a passenger got the news on their iPhone that Osama BinLaden was killed, so I can say I was cruising the Gota Kanal when I heard this historic news, that many Americans have been waiting to hear for many years.
On our cruise we have people from Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, England, America and as far away as Australia. The conversations and the lazy cruising is very relaxing and enjoyable. The Diana, even though she is the youngest boat in the Gota Kanal fleet at 80 years old, is like cruising in a time machine because it’s not difficult to imagine what it was like in the 30’s 40’s or 50’s navigating the exact same route onboard such a charming, classic vessel. The décor onboard hasn’t changes too much since the 60’s with beautiful wood finish and brass fittings in her interior spaces, teak decks, wicker chairs on deck, in fact these Gota Kanal boats have attracted famous passengers like the King of Sweden for example. The sunset was beautiful as we enjoyed our dinner. Near the end of dinner I had to stand up and stretch, so I walked out to the bow to enjoy the colorful sunset glimmer on the calm waters ahead of us. I took-in the fresh chilly air and finally went back to the dinning room for some hot tea and more delightful conversations with our fellow passengers. Tonight I got to go on the internet with my lap top. A fellow passenger let me use the Wifi from his iPhone. It was fun to talk to a friend on Sykpe and also talk with my wife Terri, who couldn’t make it on this particular trip. This evening, once again, went very late as we stayed up until about 1:00am to socialize. I was recruited to show some magic tricks so I entertained our little group of 25 people for about an hour. I usually don’t like to stay up so late, but the conversations were so fun.
Day 5 Gota Kanal
May 3rd, 2011
This is our last day aboard the Diana with Gota Kanal. I woke-up at about 7am and made my way to breakfast . I still have more commentary to do for my talk show and a little video to make. I’ll be glad when I return home and all my video, and photos have made it safely. Some observations I’ve made about the type of people who would consider a Gota Kanal journey like this. I’m in my forties and there were some younger people on this cruise who were mostly tour agents from travel companies taking a familiarization cruise with Gota Kanal, so it was not the typical passenger complement. The younger generation may not appreciate a trip like this because there’s not much to do onboard, but watch the scenery go by, rest, relax, and enjoy the fine dining. The usual age of passengers on a journey like this tends to be more elderly, those who enjoy the more restful pace, and a nostalgic, classic, and historical journey. Those who are naturalists, who enjoy the beauty of the country, can experience what the more rural interior of Sweden is like, and go deep into the Swedish culture. Today during breakfast it snowed and it was quite cold outside. This is not the typical time of year that Gota Kanal operates, so the weather is a bit colder than usual. The normal season for Kota Kanal cruises start the end of May and go through the summer months when it’s warmer.