Skeppsholmen stroll

an Ice Ladder….

Well I was right, it was very difficult to get up this morning. Once I’d got back to sleep at the hotel, the getting up bit was tough. Being in Sweden, I had a suspicion that breakfast might be an issue for the later risers so I fumbled around for my jeans in the dark and headed for the elevator. A quick check in the elevator mirror, yep, semi-decent. I arrived in the breakfast room and Crocks, Mark, Pete, Glenn and Ian were already tucking in. Mark suggested I grab the girl and order something hot immediately as it was 10:31am. I did so and requested politely but firmly some eggs. “No” came the response. OK, let’s try a more diplomatic approach. “Maybe just something warm”? I asked. She said she’s see what she could do. My initial thoughts were of a hotel not accommodating its guests all that well after a 5am arrival. Five minutes later, a bowl full of the most delightful strangled eggs arrived. Ian was lucky and ordered his mushroom omelette at exactly 10:30. The eggs were quite delicious, as was the coffee and of course the company. Suddenly it’s a nice hotel.

Even though the grayness wasn’t exactly welcoming, I felt the need to get outside so I wrapped up warmly and headed for the street. As I left the hotel, Ian came out behind me so we strolled together heading for an island known as Skeppsholmen. We crossed the small bridge and a ship came into view. The af Chapman, is a full-rigged steel ship moored on the western shore of the islet. Now serving as a youth hostel it is moored next to the Admiralty House. The ship was built in the UK in 1888 and originally known as Dunboyne, after a town in County Meath, Ireland.

We headed for the Museum of modern art which is also on the small island and when we saw the queues we decided to leave it for the day. Besides, we only had an hour until bags.

We left the hotel by means of local transport as the bus drivers require 9 hours rest period after last night’s journey. We were soon at the familiar Globe on the Southern outskirts of the city, a landmark which is one of the easier venues to spot using google maps. Once inside, the true size of this structure is evident. It must be the tallest hall of the tour and the sound can be tricky. It’s certainly unique. We had nothing top worry about re. the show as it was another cracking gig. The only issue being due to it’s sheer size, most of the audience atmosphere is lost on the stage….along with 90% of the low end.

After our set, Mark had another crash course from Charlie and Stu, Bob’s guitarists. It seems there is a new song or arrangement for Mark to learn at each show.

Charlie Sexton…

Mark, Charlie and Stu…

Richard tries out Charlie’s Gibson J200….a fantastic example of a great guitar..

As for us, we readied our bags and headed for the bus, the plan being for Mark to run off stage to the bus for departure. Carl then drove us to Stockholm’s Arland airport where we were to drive airside and board the plane for the flight down to Hannover. There was a brief hiccup as once we’d picked up the ‘follow-me’ car to guide us to the plane, part of the route was under a runway bridge. There were no height markings on the bridge as such but Carl had spotted a 3.8m sign back at the gate. This could only mean one thing….the bus wouldn’t fit under the bridge. Even with the suspension lowered to its maximum 18″, we were still 3 or so inches too tall. There was much chatting in Swedish on radios and another escort car was on its way to escort the bus via an alternative route.

All this was no real problem as our flight slot wasn’t critical and there was no rush. About 30 minutes later we were all aboard the plane with engines being started. The flight was quite blissful and made us realize that as much as we love the buses, this is the way to travel. We had two stewardesses who served up some lovely late night food and we were soon on the tarmac in Hannover. A lovely surprise was that Mannfred and Bernie were waiting to pick us up in their S class Mercs. These guys were the core of our driver team on recent tours.

Crocks with Bernie….

Ahh a well earned day off…