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Thank You, And The Winner Takes It All


A big thanks to all of you who took a guess at the name of the castle in my first a post. More on that in a moment. For now, another challenge: Who are the people in the photo above? There’s a hint in the headline of this post and in the video below.

Thank you too for the warm welcome to the Holland America Line blog. It’s good to see so many friends here.

Hello to shipcafe! Yes, I can help you. Watch this space for advice on getting “off the beaten path” and into the “culture, cuisine and nightlife” in Stockholm. I’m even going to tell you how — and where — to fika. Don’t worry. To fika is perfectly acceptable, even preferred.

You’re brave, shipcafe, to take on the Swedish language. I find it to be extremely difficult. It’s true that most foreigners have no trouble pronouncing the number six, which is “sex.”

More difficult to say is the number seven, sju. It sounds like little more than exhaling air, but impossible for the non-native Swede to pronounce properly. So that I never have to say sju, I make it a point not to buy seven of anything. Seven tomatoes? No, I’ll take sex instead.

Sharon, you’re an avid cruiser, and of course, I like that very much. Thanks for the good words about the Avid Cruiser web site. And I hope Holland America Line takes your note to heart about bringing more captains on board, so to speak.

Gary, did you use Wikipedia to look up the name of the castle? You and stevec were astoundingly correct, although you both had different answers.

The castle is known both as Kronborg Castle and as Elsinore. The town where the castle is situated also is known as Elsinore. But like the castle, the town too has another name, Helsingør. See how quickly things can get confusing over here?

The important thing to know is that the castle was the setting for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Thus, the castle is known also as “Hamlet’s Castle.”

Built in the 1420s and rebuilt more than 150 years later, it is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe. On bike rides along the Swedish coast, I look across the strait known as Öresund to Hamlet’s Castle. Seeing it never fails to enchant me.

The strait, by the way, is less than three miles wide and separates Sweden from Denmark. If you’re cruising the Baltic, you’ll likely pass through the strait, which is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Andreas Eriksson, who is the marketing and information manager at the Port of Helsingborg, tells me that roughly 90,000 ships pass Helsingborg each year.

Fortunately for Andreas and his colleague, Monica Bengtsson, who works for the City of Helsingborg to convince cruise ships to visit her fine city, some of those ships do stop, including Holland America Line’s Rotterdam this summer. If you’re on board, you can brag that you know the name of the castle across the strait. If you forget just as Gary or stevec.

Coming in my next post: a few recommendations for those visiting Helsingborg. And then we move on to Sweden’s beautiful capital, Stockholm, the self-proclaimed Capital of Scandinavia.

By now, you know the name of band in the photo, right? If not, watch the video. Now maybe you can tell me this, what are their names? A hint: Their names form the acronym of the band’s name.

  • shipcafe

    Thanks Ralph! I look forward to your updates. I’ve tacked Norwegian previously so I have not found Swedish to be too much more difficult. Again, your insight will be very helpful!

  • amera2008

    I know the band is ABBA, but I can’t remember the names of the band memebers!

  • amera2008

    Oops, I mean band members!!

  • InTheWASide

    Band is ABBA.
    Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad

  • ektierney

    That absolutely fantastic band would be ABBA. 🙂

    This lovely as one of my good friends is from Sweden and currently residing in the States.

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