Saturday, 2 March 2013

Stones in Øresund

When the water level is low, you can see that there are a lot of stones in Øresund ...

An early Michelin man in Berlin

An early Michelin man in action in Berlin, 1925.

Big meets small in Øresund

Just after 5 PM today the Hongkong registered cargo vessel Ocean Shanghai (225 x 32 m) met the small Danish freighter Ann Rousing in the Sound.

Then the Danish freighter Ann Rousing (85 x 13 m) and Ocean Shanghai. 

Nordenskiöld's return to Stockholm in April 1880

The Vega in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm in April 1880.

The Finnish-born scientist and explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, who lived in exile in Sweden after 1857, made his most famous journey through the Northeast Passage between the years 1878 and 1979. 

Nordenskiöld started his journey from Karlskrona on June 22, 1878 aboard the steamship Vega, a 43 meters long whaling ship, which had a 60 horse-power steam engine. The crew consisted of 21 men. In addition there were a number of scientists and officers. Swedish naval lieutenant Louis Palander was  commander on the Vega.

The Vega crew.

On September 2, 1879, Nordenskiöld reached reached Yokohama in Japan, and was celebrated as a hero all over the world. Although the voyage did not open the Northeast Passage through the Bering Strait for commercial traffic, it attracted people's imagination. This was the time when Jules Verne had published his book Voyages Extraordinaires and Stanley had found Livingstone  in the African jungle.  

The famous painting of A.E. Nordenskiöld by Georg von Rosen.

On April 24,1880, Vega finally arrived in Stockholm. Nordenskiöld was duly feted, and King Oscar II, the financier of the voyage, made him a baron. 

The return of the Vega in Stockholm on April 24 was a spectacular event. 
(image by wiki)
Nordenskiöld described his journey in several books, which were translated into 11 languages. His collection of maps and geographical works, consisting of over 24,000 maps and thousands of volumes of early geographical and cartographical literature, is by UNESCO considered to be one of the world's most important collections of documents. 

After Nordenskiöld's death in 1901, the collection was according to his wish returned to his old home country Finland. Since 1902 it belongs to the University of Helsinki Library.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Windsurfing in Øresund on the first day of spring

Today was the first day of spring. In the Øresund region - or at least where I live - it was also the opening of the windsurfing season. The water is still quite cold, but that's no problem for surfers who are dressed properly.

The crew on board the cargo vessel Silver Dragon (225 x 32 m), passing by just when the sun was setting, probably also observed the lone surfer.

Pictures from the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905

The 1904 - 1905  Russo-Japanese War was a disaster for the Russian Empire.
The pictures, published in the Swedish weekly Hvar 8 Dag in 1905, shed some light on what had  happened:

Russian officers attending a service before the battle of Mukden. The Imperial Minister of War, general Kuropatkin (x) , who is often held responsible for the Russian defeat, also took part.
An abandoned Russian cannon. Beside the dead horses is a "moving bush", used by Russian sharpshooters.
Russian "artillery" (made of tree trunks) in position in Tawan. Of course, it did not take long for the Japanese to conquer this "battery". 
Starving Russian soldiers arriving in Mukden while their officers were enjoying a delicious dinner at the railway station.
General Nogi and his officers enjoying a fine lunch. 
On the table a Russian grenade, which had not gone off.
The Japanese army provided plenty of rice for its soldiers.
General Fuji (to the right) tried his luck at fishing at the Tai-tse river.
General, count Kuroki, head of Japan's First Army, passes the time by trying out a captured Russian rifle.

Marine traffic at the Hittarp reef

Yesterday afternoon I observed marine traffic in the Sound at the Hittarp reef:

The British container ship Cepheus J was on its way to Halmstad.

The trawler Astrid Marie. 

The Swedish pilot boat was in a hurry.

The man and the sea.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The first flowers of spring - a week earlier than last year

What a great day! Today I saw the first flowers of spring, in the same spot where I observed them a year ago - or to be exact, a week less than a year ago. This year the Winter Aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) were the first to start the spring season. I did not yet see any Snowdrops, but they will most certainly show up any day now.


I could not resist adding this picture I also shot today - a local jackdaw acting as assistant to the weatherwane:

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Views from my balcony (8): Treetops at sunset

Tonight when the sun was setting the silhouettes of the treetops looked nice against the sky.

Gothenburg in the late 1890s

The Vasa street.

The 19th century was a period of fast growth in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city. During the second half of the century its population grew from 26,000 to 130,000. Already in the 1840's Gothenburg became the most important port city for imports, and by the end of the 1850's the it also became Sweden's largest export port (mainly timber) . (The Port of Gothenburg is still the largest port in Sweden - and Scandinavia).

Mighty merchant houses, like Dickson & Co, founded by the Scot James Dixon, who had emigrated to Sweden in 1807, soon also became important players in the shipping industry. 

As shipping became more important, also the Gothenburg shipyards experienced a fast growth. Among the other industries, the textile industry was the most important since to middle of the 1850's.  

The affluence brought by the fast growing economy also was reflected in the general development and architecture of the city, as can be seen from these photographs from the end of the 1890's. 

Västra Hamngatan.

The port of Gothenburg, with the customs building in the foreground.


The Gustaf Adolf square and the City hall.

The concert hall in the Trädgårdsföreningen (garden society).

Hotel Haglund.

The Cathedral

Östra Hamngatan

The new concert hall (picture from 1905)

Czar Nicholas II on a morning ride in 1905

Czar Nicholas on a morning ride in 1905. He had a beautiful horse to ride on!

1905 was not a good year for Czar Nicholas II, with the Russo-Japanese War ending in a disaster and a  wave of revolutionary unrest spreading through vast areas of his empire. But he still found some time for a morning ride at Tsarskoje Selo.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Another rare visitor in the Sound: The anchor handling tug supply vessel Brage Viking

Tonight another rare visitor, the anchor handling tug supply vessel Brage Viking was seen in the Sound. The Brage Viking is the newest AHTS vessel in the fleet of Viking Supply Ships. The 85 x 22 m ship, "designed to meet demands for efficient, safe and environmentally friendly offshore management in areas with severe ice conditions", was delivered by the Spanish Astilleros Zamakona S.A. shipyard in January 2012. 

The Brage Viking, now chartered by Norway's Kvaerner, the "world's leading contractor for delivering onshore and offshore facilities to Arctic conditions" is on a towing duty, which began in Aberdeen on February 12 and will end in Stavanger on March 1. 

Judging from this picture, it appears that the Brage Viking is towing a section of an offshore oil drilling platform. 

Stillness and movement

Stillness and movement ...

Jackdaws at Viken on February 24, 2012

The world turned upside down in Berlin: A professional head walker in 1905

Watching and reading about everything that's going on now, sometimes makes one feel that the world has turned upside down. The French (?) professional "head walker" Baptiste, who appeared in the streets of Berlin in 1905 probably had the same feeling:

However, the Prussian police officer who witnessed Baptiste's performance was not amused. The officer, who first thought he was dealing with a madman - until the artist produced a letter identifying himself as as a professional head walker - ordered the Frenchman to restrict his walking tours to non-public areas ....

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Winter in Viken

The old fishing village Viken in northwestern Scania is a rather sleepy place this time of the year. During the summer months the place is full of beautiful yachts and open sports cars. But even now there are ways to make a statement ...