Saturday, 2 June 2012

The cruise ship Balmoral in the Sound

This is Fred. Olsen Cruise Line´s the Balmoral (218 x 28m) tonight in the vicinity of Helsingør/Helsingborg. The ship, with a passenger capacity of 1350 and a crew of 510, is on its way from Copenhagen to Gothenburg

A "rocket start" for Bartoli as Salzburg festival director

The other day the excellent French-German television channel ARTE broadcast
Georg Friedrich Händel´s opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt) recorded at this year´s Salzburg Whitsun Festival.

This was also the first production with Cecilia Bartoli as Artistic Director of the festival.

In addition to Bartoli herself (Cleopatra), the cast consisted of several other famous names, like e.g. Anne Sofie von Otter (Cornelia) and Andreas Scholl (Giulio Cesare).

Händel wrote many beautiful arias for this opera. It was a pleasure to LISTEN to the outstanding soloists. If you look at the photos below, you may understand why I preferred not to watch:

A "rocket start" for Bartoli as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival
This performance would certainly have made Handel and his librettist Nicola Francesco  Haym turn over  in their graves. 

Friday, 1 June 2012

The first visit of the sailing cruise ship M/S Star Flyer

The  M/S Star Flyer today made its first visit to Helsingborg/Helsingør and Øresund. 
The ship belongs to the Swedish owned Star Clippers fleet, which also includes the sister ship Star Clipper and the somewhat larger Royal ClipperDuring the summer months the Stary Flyer will cruise in the Baltic and elsewhere in Northern Europe.

When the Star Flyer made its maiden voyage in 1991 it became the first commercial sailing ship since 1911 to be registered by Lloyd´s

The Star Flyer, accompanied by a pilot boat, entered the Helsingborg area at about 09:00 this morning.
The Star Flyer in the Sound, between Helsingborg and Helsingør.
"Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like traveling on a private yacht. You’ll never feel confined on Star Clipper or Star Flyer. Each ship offer spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks with ample space and not one, but two swimming pools."
The local folk musicians were waiting in vain for the Star Flyer. Because of the strong wind, the captain had to take the ship to the Helsingør harbour instead.

Here are some basic facts about the Star Flyer:
Length:360 feet
Beam:50 feet
Draft:18.5 feet
Sail Area:36,000 Square feet
Mast Height:226 feet
Total Staff:72
Passenger Capacity:170
Masts:4 masts, 16 sails

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Silver Cloud and the Eurodam in the Sound

Last night at about 9 PM one of the smaller cruise ships, the Silver Cloud (155 x 20m) passed by in the Sound on its way from Copenhagen to Gothenburg.

And late this afternoon Holland America Line´s Eurodam (285 x 36m) was heading back to Amsterdam.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The magic of the Nordic summer night

The Washington Post in 1982: "Nothing has prepared us for the astonishing exhibit that goes on view tomorrow at the Corcoran Gallery. 'Northern Light' is so good it is scary. It will leave the viewer shaken".

The first time I saw Richard Berg´s painting "A Nordic summer evening" was at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington in 1982. This later iconic painting was included in the major Northern Light exhibition, which introduced Nordic turn-of-the-century art to wider American and international audiences. Berg´s painting, permanently on display at the Gothenburg Museum of Art, manages to convey the magic light of the Nordic summer evenings better than any other painting I know of.

Last night at about 10 P.M. there was something of the same magic in the air, when I took the photo below from my balcony. The blue from the Chinese wisteria added a nice blue glow to the scenery.

The music to listen to this time of the year is Summer night by the Danish composer Mogens Schrader. Here the song, which hauntingly catches the atmosphere of "the subdued light of midsummer nights", is  performed by the great Jussi Björling

Gothenburg - A city with proud maritime traditions

The four-masted steel barque Viking, built in 1906 by Burmeister & Wein in  Copenhagen,  is said to be  the biggest sailing ship ever built in Scandinavia. Today she is moored in the Gothenburg guest harbor as hotel "Barken Viking".    

Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish), Sweden´s second largest city, founded in 1621 by King Gustav II Adolf with thee aim of making it Sweden´s gatewary to the west, has always been a maritime center.

Often there are more than two feathers on the hat of Gothenburg´s founder,  King  Gustav  II  Adolf.

Until fairly recenty the city was the center of the Swedish ship-building industry, but most dry docks have had to close down due to competition from foreign shipyards. 
Gothenburg´s old inner harbour area has now changed from shipbuilding to high technology, education and interesting tourist facilities. 

A steamer being loaded in the port of Gothenburg in 1912.

Maritiman, "the world´s biggest floating museum of ships" includes boats of all sizes. Here are a couple of them:

The Lightship No. 29 FLADEN, built in 1915, was originally stationed in the  Baltic Sea at Hävringe,  and  later at the  Öland bank.  In 1966 it moved to the Fladen bank, where it was located until retirement in 1969.

The M/S Fryken was built in Ålborg (Denmark) in 1938.  It  is a typical  "coaster",  a type of  freighter  which was very popular during the the decades after the World War II.

The tug ESAB IV, build in 1921, is the eldes all-welded boat  boat in the world. She has an engine of 210 hp, a lenght of 15,8 meters and a beam 4,0 meters.

The St.Erik, built in Gothenburg as a coastal passenger steamer in 1881, would very well fit into the collection of musem ships, but it is still in commercial use taking tourists to the archipelago:

The Port of Gothenburg is the largest port in Scandinavia, with over 11,000 vessel calls each year. Almost 30 per cent of Swedish foreign trade passes through the port.

The Dutch ro-ro ship Spaarneborg in the Gothenburg harbour
Älvsnabben 3 is one of the passenger ferries connecting different locations  in the Gothenburg  harbour  area.
The French Navy´s patrol vessel Flamant in the Gothenburg harbour.  The Flamant class  patrol boats  are  used for fishery monitoringsearch and rescue, and patrolling France's Exclusive Economic Zone.


If you need other than waterway transportation in Gothenburg, the blue street cars offer an excellent service:

There is even a nice museum car for visitors

Le Corbusier´s kitchen in Sweden

Yesterday, I had a chance to revisit the Röhsska Museum, Sweden´s renowned design museum in Gothenburg (Göteborg). Among the many objects you can see there, one of the most interesting is Le Corbusier´s kitchen from the famous Marseille 
Unité d´habitation building (1947- 1952). 

Le Corbusier´s kitchen at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg

With the Unité Le Corbusier introduced the world to raw concrete, which - regrettably - later led to the "beton brutalism" style, so prevalent all over the world. No doubt Le Corbusier - and Charlotte Perriand, who actually designed the kitchen - wanted to create better homes for ordinary people during the the housing crisis in France in the 
1920´s and after the World War II.  But, at least in hindsight, their idea about the home as a machine to live in is not very appealing. 

Unité d´habitation in Marseilles (image by wiki)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Costa Fortuna in a Nordic summer evening

The Costa Fortuna (273 x 36m) looked quite nice tonight when it passed Helsingborg/ Helsingør on its way from Copenhagen to Fedje/Flam

Another perfect day for boating in Øresund

This Sunday was a perfect day for all kinds of boating in the Sound ....