Wednesday 22 May 2013

Kalmar – history, art and nature

Our day started with a relaxing morning at sea which was packed with a lecture, an historic walk through Fram’s own little museum (there are several items of the original Fram exhibited in the vitrines on board) and a radio feature focused on St Petersburg. As scheduled, we reached the last destination of our cruise at 2 pm in the afternoon. Kalmar in Sweden was waiting for us. From the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the town was one of Sweden's most important cities. Today, the cathedral and above all the castle remind of previous times. Many of us enjoyed a guided tour during which we appreciated incredibly elaborate intarsia and learned about the dining rituals at the court.

The other excursion crossed the 6 km long bridge to the island of Öland. We saw charming windmills and numerous flowers including delicate orchids. The ruins of castle Bornholm was a highlight for the history lovers while for those who like art, the culmination of the tour was a visit of the Vida-Museum. This composition of glass, concrete and wood is embedded in wonderful landscape and contains paintings, ceramics and impressive glass sculptures.

The plain, simple and sober forms and lines encountered during these last excursions and also in the wooden houses of Kalmar pose a strong contrast to the opulent buildings of St Petersburg. But they help us to come back to our own time and reality and make a perfect finale for this great and intense voyage.