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Copenhagen, Denmark

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Date: July 9, 2003

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Gotland Since Stockholm we have put over 400 miles under our keel and are nearing the western end of the Baltic Sea. The pace has been fairly quick with several days of nearly 100 miles, but we have stopped in some nice spots for 3 to 4 days to smell the sea roses or wait out the bad weather.

One of our favorites was Gotland, the 2nd largest island in the Baltic after Aland, Finland. According to the guidebooks, Gotland is the medieval home of the Visigoths, but no one in the capital, Visby is owning up to this legend.

The town is another World Heritage site and is striking in the same way as the Hill towns of Tuscany - except the harbor is better here. We had a couple of great days here and toured the islands culinary delights care of a book that Nanc found. They do some really awesome smoked shrimp and salmon here.

Below was at a wonderful restaurant on the north portion of the island – the bankers in our family never had it as good as this bartender.
Restaurant


New York Police Car You can’t get away from NY, no matter where you go – this car is owned by the local law enforcer

After Gotland we made our way south and west stopping a few nights in the small towns of Bornholmen and Kalmar, where we went under the only bridge we will before we see the Bridge of the Americas in Panama. Hard to believe for us but our 80 foot mast seemed to just squeaked under.

We were trapped in Karlskroner, another World Heritage Site, for 4 nights waiting for favorable winds. Finally we blew out of there (I may have subject/object reversed) and put down a 10 hour day and 12 hour day to arrive in Copenhagen.

Tonight, I am writing in the cockpit under a golden sky at 10:00 pm. We are moored in Christianhaven kanal with dozens of other boats. The canals here are similar to Amsterdam and we are right in the heart of the city. In fact, the sight seeing boats pass directly by us every 30 minutes. The city is very appealing and has many sites of architectural and historical interest all within walking distance of our boat.

“Christiania” is one of the more famous 20th century social experiments in Europe. Christiania is a commune that began in 1971 when a group of hippies began squatting on an ex-military base on the shores of Copenhagen. Through various legal and political battles with the state the place has continued to exist and thrive. Today there are 1000 inhabitants, none of whom pay taxes to the state, hash is openly sold from a dozen little shops on “Pusher Street”, all decisions are made by direct democracy and consensus, the commune purchases water and pays a small rent to the city, currently the local police pretty much leave the people to govern themselves. Meanwhile, motions continue in the Parliament to shut the whole place down.
Christiania No Cannabis
Drug laws are strictly enforced in Christiania


Copenhagen’s new opera house will open in 2005. The entire building was “gifted” to the city by the world’s largest shipping company, Mersk-SeaLand which is headquartered here. No word on how the shareholders felt about this, but the building will be stunning.
Opera House


Today we leave Copenhagen and will make our way via two long day sails to Kiel, Germany where we will leave the Baltic Sea via the 55 mile Kiel Canal that was built 100 years ago and connects the Baltic with the North Sea. Once in the North Sea, we intend to sail non-stop the 500 miles to England. The North Sea has a particularly unattractive reputation and the sailing guides are fully of warnings due to the frequent bad weather, contrary winds, tidal currents of up to 11 knots, large amount of shipping traffic, offshore oil and gas wells, and the scarcity of safe harbors for boats of our size. We will be picking up a Danish couple in Kiel, friends of the local harbormaster, who will share the watch duties with us. We are pressing to beat a cold front which is predicted to pass the Dover Straits next Wednesday. If all goes well we will transit the canal on Saturday and leave Sunday morning from the river Elbe, downstream from Hamburg, for a 60 to 72 hour passage to Southampton, England.


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