We made three attempts at taking the boat out to Mariefred, where Gripsholms Slott (castle) is located.
The first effort was thwarted as I woke up feeling a bit off colour, and then spent the day hugging Mr. Porcelain (I thought only kids got these 24 hour tummy bugs, not adults, but I seem to be afflicted by such things about once a year). I think mum and dad were perhaps happy to have a day off from holidaying. We re-attempted this trip 2 days later, on a Monday, without checking the schedule, because it was high tourist season so of course the boats would be running every day. Ahhh, wrong. I should have known this seeing as the museum where I work is not open to the public on a Monday. It is very common in fact for public entertainment places to be closed on a Monday, so if you’re ever planning any museum/boat trip etc., on a Monday – check it’s open! We took the tunnelbana (subway) to the boats to discover, nope, we’re not going today.
The third time, we were in luck.
M was all amped because he planned to take his road bike on the boat with us and when mum and dad and I returned by boat in the late afternoon, he was going to bike back to Stockholm, somewhere around 140km I think. So the bike came with us… everywhere.
The boat trip out there takes about 3.5 hours. And it’s not just any old boat, it’s a steamship! How cool is that!! (Ignore the environmental destruction caused by burning coal in this post please!).
Having seen on other boat trips how quickly the prime seats get snatched up, we got there about 30 minutes early… along with quite a few others! But we got seats on the upper deck, on the outside, tucked in just behind the wheel cabin. We saw the captain of the boat. He was dressed in his best steam ship captains outfit, dark blue jacket and pants, complete with cap, and he looked about as old as the boat. I guess there are not so many skippers who know how to drive these things anymore. Sadly I didn’t get a picture. We had a beautiful day for it, super sunny, and even sitting outside, we were so sheltered and it was lovely.
Gripsholms Slott is sort of the main attraction in Mariefred. Mariefred itself is a very cute, quaint little village, but the main reason people go there is to see the castle. It has a wealth of history (if you want to know more click here) and today houses a museum. We contented ourselves with a walk around the outside of the castle, and sitting in the castle grounds to eat our lunch. You do get to walk through part of the forecourt, I guess it would be called, and have a nosy around the outer part of the castle there, which we did. M and I have both been to this castle museum a few years ago.
The day passed remarkably fast. We had time for a quick dip in the water – well M and I decided to take a quick dip, while dad just dipped his feet in – before we had to re-board the boat. M set off on his 140 km bike ride home, while we sat in luxury on the boat. We had decided to take dinner on the boat on the way home, as it is 3.5 hours and leaves around 4:30 pm, so crosses right over dinner time. We had put our names down for a seat on the out going boat trip, and when they announced we could enter the restaurant, I could see why one had to sign up early. People went rushing for the doors of the restaurant – and remember, this is a little steam ship, it’s not a full blown restaurant, and seating capacity is limited, so much so that they serve dinner in two shifts. I was a bit concerned they might have over booked the tables, but as it turned out, the majority of the people had not booked so were turned away. That left us and those who had booked ahead to eat some yummy food, in what turned out to be rather cramped style, and it was also boiling hot, given the hot food, hot day and lack of a breeze. But it was good to get to experience dinner on a steam ship.