Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Valamo (Valaam) Monastery in the Late 19th Century

The Valamo monastery. Litography by P.A. Kruskopf (about 1850).

In 1897 the Swedish nobleman, politician and insurance company executive Sven Palme - the late Prime Minister Olof Palme's grandfather - visited the famous Valamo (Valaam in Russian) monastery, located on an  island in Lake Ladoga. His illustrated account of the visit was published in the journal Ord och Bild.

At the time of Palme's visit the Valamo monastery was (since 1812) part of the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire.

The Valamo monastery was according to an old legend founded  in the 10th century by a Greek monk, Sergius, and his Karelian companion Herman. (Sven Palme  had been given the information that also Herman was a Greek). Contemporary historians date the founding to the late 14th century.

This late 19th century photograph of the Valamo monastery was one of the illustrations to the Palme article. 

A procession receives the hegumen (the head of the monastery).

There were 200 monks in Valamo at the time of Palme's visit. 

Monks enjoying the scenery in Valamo.

(When Finland declared its independent in 1917, the Finnish Orthodox Church, which previously had been a part of the Russian Orthodox Church, became autonomous under the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. Valamo became the most important monastery of the Finnish Orthodox Church.

During the Winter War 1939-1940, when Stalin's Red Army attacked Finland, the monastery was evacuated, and the 150 monks settled in Heinävesi in Finland. This community still exists as New Valamo Monastery in Heinävesi.

The original monastery was part of the area, which after the Continuation War had to be ceded to the Soviet Union, which used is as a military base. In 1989 the monastery was bequeathed to the Russian Orthodox Church, and is again functioning as a monastery.)

Midsummer's Eve: A Lonely Road

Viken, road no. 111 at 11 PM on Midsummer's Eve:

The road was empty, because most locals were celebrating Midsummer's Eve at their homes or summer houses, dancing, playing games and, of course, also enjoying some good food and drink:

The national flag - here together with a collection of signal flags - is an essential part of the Midsummer's Eve celebrations.
In Scania, some people prefer the display the local flag ...
The maypole looked rather lonely. I arrived late for the traditional ring-dance.

Friday, 21 June 2013

A Tribute to the "Workhorses of the Sea"

Here is my small tribute to the hundreds of small and medium sized "workhorses of the sea" that ply the waves of Øresund every day of the year, even on Midsummer Eve, when most people are celebrating the Nordic summer. They may not look as elegant as the yachts and cruise liners, but by transporting a multitude of products which are essential for the functioning of our societies, they deserve our appreciation.

Container ship Ice Crystal (129 m x 20 m). 

The Ice Crystal seen from another angle.

The Russian oil/chemical tanker Birthe Theresi (88 m 12 m).

One of Birthe Theresi's crew members enjoyng the sights in the Sound.

The Dutch general cargo ship Aspen (83 m x 12 m).

On this picture you can see the captain (or mate) of the Aspen at the steering wheel.

The Turkish oil/chemical tanker Simay G (119 m x 17 m).

The Finnish general cargo ship Josefine (64 m x 11 m).

The Dutch general cargo ship Ice Star (89 m x 13 m).

A herring gull between Sweden and Denmark

A herring gull on the  Helsingør - Helsingborg ferry last night.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A view of Helsingborg

Helsingborg looked great tonight, when I arrived on board of one of the ferries from Helsingør. The evening haze created a nice "ambience":

Anna Netrebko's and Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Red Square Concert on ARTE

Anna Netrebko's and Dmitry Hvorostovsky's Red Square concert last night, broadcast on the ARTE channel, was without doubt one of this summer's musical highlights on television. Sadly, the first part of the concert suffered from the excessive evening sunlight, but that minor flaw was more than compensated by the stunning images of the square, the Kremlin and Moscow, later on in the concert.

Not surprisingly, the vocally and musically most dashing part of the program came in the end, with a scene from Eugene Onegin. Then we heard one of Netrebko's favorite extras, Kálmán's "Heia, heia, in den Bergen ist mein Heimatland", which was followed by Hvorostovsky's powerful version of Dark Eyes. Both singers then ended the evening with the Russian evergreen, the Moscow Lights

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Views from my balcony (12): Just before the rain

This was the view from my balcony minutes before the rain:

The beautifully restored former Swedish Royal Navy ketch Ebba Hård af Öckerö visiting Helsingborg

The crew/guests on board the beautifully restored former Royal Swedish Navy multipurpose vessel Ebba Hård af Öckerö were clearly enjoying themselves at the Helsingborg marina last night, probably after a good day of sailing. 

I found a web page with lots of interesting information about the restoration work done on this fast gaff ketch:

Ebba Hård has undergone complete restoration twice during her life. The latest restoration was made to new ship classifications by Ö-Varvet, Öckerö Båtvarv and Ocean Snickeri. These three companies regularly provide her with all maintenance and summer recommissioning. She was originally commissioned as a new build by the Royal Swedish Marine as a multipurpose vessel and built by Djupviks Varv, Sweden. Sleek underwater lines, a rig with rough sea sailing in mind and a strong hull structure are typical features for this kind of ship made at Djupviks Varv. This old rescue and pilot boat manufacturing ship yard is still today the preferred supplier of rescue ships to S.S.R.S, the Swedish Society for Rescue at Sea. She is built using 2" oak planks on tightly spaced 150mm x 100mm oak frames as opposed to the customary thinner pine planks on more spaced out pine frames or the also common pine planks on oak frames. The latest restoration was made to top standard inside and out sporting the highest level of comfort and technological sophistication which is uncommon for a workboat. The emphasis on the latest restoration was comfort at any length of navigation and performance under sail. Ebba Hård is well known for her large low-temp custom made champagne fridge AND beer fridge as well as a built-in humidor. Her fully equipped electric galley is made under the supervision and recommendations of a well known chef. The 30+ bottle wine "cellar" compartment is secluded from the living quarters, close to the hull to provide constant temperature all year round. --

Ebba Hård's latest restoration has made her an altogether very thought through, complete and purposeful ship. No expenses have been spared to achieve only the very best solutions. For next season Ebba Hård is having her sail plan revised and upgraded. She normally sails the southern waters of Norway and the west coast of Sweden with occasional journeys to Denmark, south Sweden, Lake Vänern and Stockholm. Ebba Hård's summer home port is Marstrand.

M/S Vision of the Seas and M/S Europa in the Nordic summer night.

Early this morning the M/S Vision of the Seas and the M/S Europa were going southwards in the Sound on their way to Copenhagen. There is already quite a lot of light between 4 AM and 5 Am in Scandinavia this time of the year, as you can see from the photos below. 

The Royal Caribbean's M/S Vision of the Seas (279 m x 35.6 m) is based in Northern European ports during the summer season. The ship, which made its maiden voyage in 1998, can carry a maximum of 2,435 passengers and 765 crew.

Hapag-Lloyd's M/S Europa (198 m x 24 m) entered service in 1999. The Europa, which for twelve years in row was awarded the title "best cruise ship in the world" by Ward-Ranking and Berlitz, has a capacity for 408 passengers in 204 suites.

M/Y Queen of Sheba visits Helsingborg

M/Y Queen of Sheba in Helsingborg on June 18, 2013.

This is the Queen of Sheba, a Ferretti Custom Line 112 (34 m) luxury yacht, in the Helsingborg marina last night. The yacht, which was built in 2006,  is available for charter. It has accommodation for 6 guests and a crew of 6.

Luciano Benetton's eco-yacht Tribu in Øresund

M/Y Tribu approaching Helsingør in the afternoon on June 18, 2013.
Yesterday afternoon another interesting privately owned luxury yacht, M/Y Tribu was on its way to Copenhagen in Øresund. Luciano Benetton's 50,5 meter (165 feet) explorer style yacht was the first private yacht to be awarded a "Green Star" certificate of environmental efficiency. 

M/Y Tribu passing Helsingør yesterday.
A fast going Swedish motor boat meets Tribu in Øresund

Whether Benetton is on board his yacht in Copenhagen is not clear. The yacht is also available for charter for  € 185,000.00 (about 250,000 USD) a week. 

In the end of May, it was reported that the Tribu is for sale. Fraser Yachts in Monaco is asking € 13.9 million for the eco-yacht.   

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Expedition cruise ship Polar Pioneer on its way to Scotland

The Polar Pioneer in  Øresund on June 18, 2013.

Early this morning the expedition cruise ship Polar Pioneer (71.61 m x 12.8  m) was going northwards in Øresund with Scottish Oban as its destination. The ship, now operated by the Australian cruise ship company Aurora Expeditions, is the former Russian ice-strengthened research vessel Akademik Schuleykin, built by the Finnish Laivateollisuus shipyard in 1982.

The Polar Pioneer was in 2000 converted to a small expedition cruise ship with accommodation for 54 passengers.

A "global" spotted flycatcher

A pair of spotted flycatchers have made their nest in my neighbors little flower "basket", which is hanging at her entrance door. There are four small eggs in the nest.

I did not want to go very close to the nest, in order not to disturb the hatching mother bird. However, I got a picture of the proud father, sitting on a lamp "globe" just a few meters away from the nest.