Lysekil, Sweden

It is our last port of call for the Braemar Mystery Cruise to Maiden Ports. In the early morning, we sailed past large, granite rocks to dock at the town of Lysekil, Sweden. as we docked, ABBA was playing from the tourist information area, just to verify that yes, we were in Sweden. I had arranged another tour for this area, so while we did drive through part of this beautiful town, most of my day was seeing other things.

Our first stop was to the fishing village of Smögen where we learned that many of the local churches were designed by the same person and built with the local granite stone.

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From there, we went to Vitlycke Museum to see the Bronze Age stone carvings.  The museum is set in a beautiful park-like setting and the stone carvings were really interesting, especially considering how hard the stone is to carve and the type of tools they had to work with in the Bronze Age. We had a guide give us detailed information about a couple of the stones. In the pictures, you will see that the images are painted red.  This is not how they were originally, it is just to help us see the images better. There is also a nice museum, gift shop and restaurant there.

Our next stop was the fishing village of Fjällbacka. It is very picturesque and is famous for two people. Camilla Läckberg, an author of crime novels, and actress Ingrid Bergman who had a summer home there. It is said that she enjoyed the peace of the town and being able to live quietly. We had a wonderful lunch, with fresh, local fish and topped by the best coffee I had on the entire cruise!

When we returned to the ship, we had to go through a passport inspection — and it was really nice to  be able to actually talk and have pleasant conversations with immigration officials!

We sailed away to more ABBA music — and everyone on shore dancing (even some of the immigration officials!)

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It was a wonderful the end to a perfect day — and a perfect cruise on the Braemar.

 

Fredericia, Denmark

Our fifth port of call on Braemar’s Mystery Cruise to Maiden Ports was Fredericia, Denmark. We were greeted with more porpoises — this time I have some “bad” photos of them, but at least I can say I saw them this time! As we docked, a marching band, the Sixth of July, announced our arrival. Fredericia is a fortified town, and it is also very close to Jelling, the home of the Viking King Harold Bluetooth. This would be my first stop of the day.

Jelling is an interesting site. It has two mounds — the North Mound and the taller south Mound. The North Mound was used as a burial mound, but no bones were found there. It is believed that it was originally built for Harold’s father, Gorm. Bones were eventually discovered in the church, and have been reburied there after extensive renovations. The Church stand between the two mounds and in the exact center of a large “long boat” shape that is the center of the palisade. Archaeological findings located the wooden indicated the pillars the marked the site and have marked the site with stone pillars.

Also on this site are two carved stones. The oldest is known as Gorm’s Stone and is the first time Denmark is indicated as a country (~950). The larger stone is Harold Bluetooth’s Stone it is tells of the conversion to Christianity.

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The museum that is located with this site is now one of my favorite museums. It is a very interactive museum that shows Viking history and basic living through interactive displays. I found myself playing with every button to see what the displays would show next. There there was the room where you could stand on different spots on the floor and experience a Viking death, funeral and journey to Valhalla to be with your kin and fellow Warriors. Sounds a bit morbid, but really is was so much fun!  I think it did that a could times. From there, you climbed the stairs to learn more about the Viking Gods and their stories. On the roof of the museum, you can get a panoramic view of the whole site. Yes, I could have stayed at the museum for a long time!

But it was time to head back to the ship and Fredericia. The ship was docked very near to the city center and there was a visitor’s center setup right there. It included a place to rent bicycles, a souvenir shop, an information center with a map of the local area and there was a tourist train that would take you directly into the center of town. I enjoyed my walk into town, passing by a display of old cars, a market, and then down the main street.  One corner had an English pub on one side and and Irish pub on the other — I found this interesting!

As with everywhere we went in Denmark — the people were friendly and very helpful. This is another place I would love to visit again!

On our way out of port, the band played and I think I saw a few more of those elusive porpoises.