Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Limited Collection - Part II

On of the great joys of museum going is when a curator successfully leads you from one contrasting media to another.  I always remember stumbling out of the Green Vault at the Albertinium Museum in Dresden bedazzzled with the baroque splendor of its gems, gold and silver and being confronted by the stark Tim Burton-like sculptures of Thomas Reichstein and Andreas Feininger's black and white photographs of a long past Amercia.  It was a strange juxtaposition of periods and medium and even stranger it worked.

Much the same effect was achieved with the Rijksmusuem's mounting of a small exhibition to mark the publication of a catalogue of the complete works of the Dutch engraver Hendrik Goltzius (left in a self-portrait).  In the preceding room are two enormous works: the most famous painting in the Rijksmuseum's collection, Rembrandt's The Militia Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch (The Night Watch)  faced by The Company of Captain Reinier Reael and Lieutenant Cornelis Michielsz Blaeuw, Amsterdam painted in 1637 by Frans Hals.  Rather amusingly the crowds around the Rembrandt were thick (in more ways than one said he rather smarmily) and the cameras were clicking like mad while few people spent any time looking at or recording the Hals.  Yes the Rembrandt is the more dramatic and more justly famous but the Hals is as worthy of time spent for its details of dress and the smug arrogance of the posers or poseurs if you will.

Frans Hals' treatment of a Militia Brigade has a static quality to it that is typical of its time - this was all to change when Rembrandt approached a like subject five years later.  Though not as popular as its Gallery companion the Hals is still a magnificent study in individual portraiture and no doubt pleased it sitters.  
But I digress - in moving from the two huge canvases with their broad painterly strokes reflecting the development of Dutch art of the Golden Age to the small fine lines and cross hatching of the engraver's art there was a pleasantly startling contrast that magnified the achievements of both art forms.  Not as bold perhaps as the experience at the Albertinium it still was a master stroke on the part of the Museum curators.

Golzius was the leading Dutch engraver of the Baroque age, he excelled at both creating his own painterly scenes and adapting the work of others.  Strangely a childhood accident left him with a deformed right hand (right, in an engraving by Golzius) that was perfect for holding the engraver's burin.  It allowed him a control of the tool that expanded the effects which gave his engravings a depth and dimension that changed the art of the engraver for future artists.   He is credited with over 399 engravings and more than 500 of his  designs were used by other print makers.  He also adapted the work of other artists, most principally the Flemish painter Bartholomeus Spranger.

‘Eer boven Golt’ (Honour surpasses Gold)  the title is taken from Golzius's motto, features only a fraction of the engravings in the collection at the Rijksmuseum.  As usual I was transfixed not by the major engravings (beautiful as they were) but by a set of pen and ink drawings, possibly based on works of Spranger, that Golzius did as preparatory work for four engravings depicting Old Testament defenders of Israel.   They are shown carrying the weapons they used to defeat their enemies and in the background the scenes of their heroic acts.  From these drawings Golzius engraved the plates which were then printed by Jacob Matham, Golzius's step-son and one of the master printmakers of the time. 


And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came, and drew nigh to meet David, that David hastened, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
1 Samuel 17: 40-51

YAEL (JAEL) The Song of Deborah

Extolled above women be Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite,
Extolled above women in the tent.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
She brought him cream in a lordly dish.
She stretched forth her hand to the nail,
Her right hand to the workman's hammer,
And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head,
She crashed through and transfixed his temples.
At her feet he curled himself, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he curled himself, he fell;
And where he curled himself, let it be, there he fell dead.
Judges 5:23-27

JUDITH - The Canticle of Judith

Begin ye to the Lord with timbrels, sing ye to the Lord with cymbals, tune unto him a new psalm, extol and call upon his name.
The Lord putteth an end to wars, the Lord is his name.
He hath set his camp in the midst of his people, to deliver us from the hand of all our enemies.
The Assyrians came out of the mountains from the north in the multitude of his strength: his multitude stopped up the torrents, and their horses covered the valleys.
He bragged that he would set my borders on fire, and kill my young men with the sword, to make my infants a prey, and my virgins captives.
But the almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.
For their mighty one did not fall by young men, neither did the sons of Titan strike him, nor tall giants oppose themselves to him, but Judith the daughter of Merari weakened him with the beauty of her face.
For she put off her the garments of widowhood, and put on her the garments of joy, to give joy to the children of Israel.
She anointed her face with ointment, and bound up her locks with a crown, she took a new robe to deceive him.
Her sandals ravished his eyes, her beauty made his soul her captive, with a sword she cut off his head.
The Persians quaked at her constancy, and the Medes at her boldness.
Then the camp of the Assyrians howled, when my lowly ones appeared, parched with thirst.
The sons of the damsels have pierced them through, and they have killed them like children fleeing away: they perished in battle before the face of the Lord my God.
Let us sing a hymn to the Lord, let us sing a new hymn to our God.
The Book of Judith 16: 2-15


Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi.
And the men of Judah said, Why are ye come up against us? And they answered, To bind Samson are we come up, to do to him as he hath done to us.
Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.
And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi.
Judges 15: 9-17

Though the engravings are nothing less than masterpieces for some reason I find the pen and ink drawings, though lacking in detail and dimension, the more interesting and for me satisfying.

30 June - 1886: The first transcontinental train trip across Canada departs from Montreal. It arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia on July 4.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

In Preparation for Birthday 145!

I know its a few days early but who could resist this original and truly CANADIAN version of our National Anthem.

Thanks Cathy

29 June - 1613: The Globe Theatre in London, England burns to the ground.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Limited Collection - Part I

The recent trip to the Baltic was bracketed in a way by visits to two of the most famous museums in the world - Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum at the beginning and the Hermitage in St Petersburg towards the end.  Both have unparalleled collections though the Russian museum has to win hands down for size. With over 3 millions pieces it is estimated that only a third of its acquisitions are on display and that a lifetime could be spent going from room to room and still there would be things left to see.

Though smaller in size the Rijkmuseum collection is as rich in its own way with art and artifacts reflecting the Golden Age when Holland was a centre of commerce and world trade, an exceptional Asian collection and a unique collection of drawings, litho and photo graphs.  The collection long ago outgrew its 19th century building and a ten year expansion and renovation programme has been on-going since 2003.  But during that period the Phillips Wing of the Museum has been the location of The Masterpieces - an exhibition that presents all the most important paintings in the collection together with selected items reflecting Dutch culture in the glory years.  And there is even room for special exhibits and currently they are showcasing a selection of the work of master engraver Hendrick Goltzius and a fantastic series of Japanese surimono prints that are part of a collection recently been donated to the Museum.

For anyone who has been accustomed to the museums in many other European countries the most striking difference at the Rijksmuseum is the rarity of images of Christian iconography in theircollection.  Not that they are not there just that when entering a gallery you aren't confronted by painting upon painting of annunciations, virgin births, crucifixions, transfigurations or martyrdom.   During the Golden Age glory was given to God in the word and it was the bounty he had showered upon the good upright burghers of the Netherlands that became the major subject of its art and artisans.

Enter a ceramic gallery in the Bode or the Prado and you will be confronted by Madonnas, Apostles, Saints, Patriarchs and Prophets as well as the usual figures from mythology.  At the Phillips Wing enter the gallery devoted to the ceramics of the Netherlands - the majority from Delft - and the paucity of religious subjects is immediately apparent.  The famous white and blue tin-glazed earthenware ranges from everyday household items to elaborate decorative panels and table pieces with fanciful landscapes, seascapes, flowers and elaborate curlicues.

Perhaps it was the paucity of religious subjects that drew me to one piece amongst the trove of white and blue that gave the gallery a particular glow.

This picture from the Rijkmuseum website gives a clearer picture of St Mathew and a partial view of St Luke that can't be seen in the current display.  It is strange that something like this is not put on a turntable so that all aspects of the artwork and all eight figures can be seen.

 It is difficult to determine the exact purpose of this octagonal flask - perhaps it was meant to be used in a Catholic church (a flagon for sacramental wine) or it may have just been for use in a Catholic household to remind the family of its religious heritage.  Fired somewhere between 1700 and 1710 it features 8 figures (sadly only 5 were visible in the display case) Christ (Ecce homo -Behold the Man), Saint Mary, St Peter, St Mathew, St Thomas, St Bartholomew, St Luke and St John the Baptist.  Each carries their iconic attributes (which denotes it as intended for a Catholic audience) however the other decorations are typical of Delftware: leaf wreaths, lily motifs, putti and angels heads. 

The work of Dammas Hofdijk of the De Witte Starre factory it is intriguing in its choice of Saints: the norm would have been the four Evangelists, Saints Peter and Paul as well as the Virgin, John and Christ.  Here only Peter is included with two of the Evangelists and St Thomas the Doubter and Saint Bartholomew also known as Nathanial.  Perhaps for the Church or family it was intended for these Saints had a particular relevance.

An interesting website devoted to Delftware gives a detailed description on how it was produced.

27 June - 1898: The first solo circumnavigation of the globe is completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Turkish Defeats

The inspiration here was not things Turkish but a Russian victory over the Turks on July 7, 1770.  The destruction of the Turkish fleet at Chesma was the final victory in a battle that had begun on  June 24, 1770, the Nativity of St John the Forerunner (the Baptist) and it led to the construction of one of the most delightful churches in all of St Petersburg. Even amongst the bonbon colours and decorations of so many of the buildings in the city and surrounding countryside the Church of St John the Forerunner at Chemenskaya stands out as one of the most elegant confections imaginable.

In 1774 Catherine the Great ordered a palace be built as a rest stop on the route from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.  Geographically it is almost at the half way point between the two but it held more significance than that for the Tsarina.  She was en route to her summer home and stopped at the 7th verst (an old measurement which is not quite a mile but longer than a kilometre) from St Petersburg when she received news of the Russian victory at Chesma.

An early lithograph of the complex at Chesmenskaya - the place where Catherine the Great heard of the defeat of the Turks at the hands of Count Orlov and Admiral Spiridov.  It was originally known as the Kikerikeksen or Frogs Marsh Palace but with the consecration of the church in 1780 the entire neighbourhood became known as Chesma.
Catherine had her favourite architect Yuri Felton design a two story structure in the "Medieval" style - a triangular building with turrets at each corner and a central tower.  It is said that Felton took his inspiration from Longford Castle in Wiltshire.  Created in the neo-Gothic style to give the impression of the age of chivalry its walls were covered with family portraits of Catherine's ancestors and royal relatives.  Catherine often lodged foreign ambassadors there, giving them a "visual reminder" of her impressive lineage.  It was opened to the court in 1777 and was first called, not very appealingly, the Kikerieksen Palace or The Frog Swamp Palace, taking its name from the Finnish name for the area. Catherine often referred to it as La Grenouille however in 1780 the complex was renamed Chemenskaya after the famous battle.

The Kikerieksen Palace was triangular in shape with three turrets and a central tower.  The plan appears to derive from the elevations of Longford Castle which had been published in 1771.  Its hard to imagine from this floor plan what the room set up was.  However often rooms of the period were multipurpose with the furniture defining  what their function was to be.

But as well as the Palace Catherine commanded that a church be built as thanksgiving for the first Russian naval victory since the time of Peter the Great.  In 1777 the corner stone of what is arguably the most beautiful church in St Petersburg was laid in the presence of King Gustav III of Sweden.  On June 24, 1780 the marzipan church, in the pseudo-gothic manner, was consecrated and dedicated to the Saint John the Forerunner.  It is interesting to note that Felten's creation has a certain Turkish exoticism mixed in with the Anglo influences that were favoured in the design of many of Catherine's places and parks.  Gothic revival and neo-gothic architecture were to become all the rage throughout Russia, it is said as a symbol of a "triumph for ancient northern virtues in the spirit of the crusaders."

Construction was begun on Chesmenskaya in 1777 in the presence of royalty and with great ceremony and celebration.  At its consecration three years later  Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor joined Catherine for the solemnities and festivities.

The long vertical white stripes and horizontal fascias
look like they were applied with a gigantic cake decorator.  

The pink brick and white stone decorations give the church the appearance of
a delicious candy confection. Even the Stalinist landscape that
currently surrounds it has difficult keeping it earth bound.

The Empress loved Chesma and always spent the Saint's feast day and Shrovetide at the palace. Celebrations included the Holy Liturgy, fireworks, country fairs and a grand feast with friends and foreign dignitaries. Shrovetide brought sleigh rides and skating while the June feast meant sailing and concerts on the water.  Catherine entertained there on a grand scale and in 1773 had a special dinner service commissioned for the Palace which once again reflected her love of things English.  Josiah Wedgewood created a dinner service for 50 at the astronomical cost of £3000.  It has been reported that it cost him almost £4000 to paint and fire the set but the loss was justified by the fame the set brought to his factory.

The 952 pieces of the Wedgewood Frog Service were painted with scenes of English castles, parks and gardens and can be valued as much for its historical look at venues long forgotten or destroyed as for its unique place in the world of ceramics.

At Catherine's "suggestion" each of the 952 pieces was to have unique views of British castles, palaces, churches, ancient monuments, landscapes and parks - 1,224 in all.  Catherine had also requested that the buildings be in the Gothic style.  At one point Wedgewood had begun to despair of having enough vistas to complete the set but hit upon the idea of making it the "fashion" to have your home - humble or palatial - painted for the Royal dinner service.  He soon found that anyone with a property with the least pretensions of being in the Gothic mode was clambering to be included and he had more than sufficient subjects for his team of three painters.  Each piece bore the crest of a small frog (left) marking it as the service meant for use at Chesma.  Court records show it was used for great occasions such as Gustav III's visit for the corner stone laying of the church in 1777.   The entire set is now in the Hermitage though odd pieces - pieces that were flawed and not suitable for presentation to the Tsarina -  have found places in other collections around the world.

Converted to an almshouse for veterans of the War of 1812 by Nicholas I, the addition of two wings made it suitable home for the war heroes of that conflict.  Sadly its 20th century history was to be less honourable and it had the distinction of being the first Soviet labour camp.
With changing modes of transportation and improved roads the need for a stopover between the summer and winter residences became unnecessary and in 1830 Nicolas I had the Palace converted into an almshouse for veterans of the War of 1812.   To house the 400 soldiers and 16 officers, many wearing the Cross of St George, Russia's greatest honour, three wings were added to the structure and the care of the grounds and adjacent military cemetery given to the new occupants.  The tradition of Holy Liturgy and banquets on the feast day of St John was to continue until 1919 when the military almshouse was disbanded and the building became Chesmenka, the first forced labour camp under the Soviet regime.

The church was closed and its icons expropriated as property of the people and taken to the Hermitage.  The building was used as a warehouse and in 1930 a fire destroyed the unique iconostasis that Felton had designed in the Italian style.   Situated so close to the front line both the Palace and Church were badly damaged during the 900 day Siege of Leningrad.   The Palace was indifferently restored in 1946 and served as the headquarters of the Leningrad Institute of Aviation Instrument Making.

The church building was renovated in the 1970s and served as a museum to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Victory of Chesma.  In 1990 was returned to the Diocese of St Petersburg and in 1998 the iconostasis was rebuilt according to Felton's original designs.  As well as being one of the historic glories of St Petersburg - though strangely not always  on tour itineraries - it is now an active parish church seeing to the needs of its community as well as looking after the traditions of the past.

26 June - 1718: Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, Peter the Great's son, mysteriously dies after being sentenced to death by his father for plotting against him.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Turkish Delights

The history of Russia's battles with the Turks goes back further than Peter the Great but it was his passion for sailing and his burning desire to create outlets to the sea that led to the major conflicts between the forces of the Ottoman Sultans and the Tsars of Muscovy during his reign and those of his successors. His first major triumphs led to the opening of the Crimea and the Black Sea to his nation but the triumphs of one monarch often led to the future battles of those that follow. As with much of Europe the attempts to thwart the advances of the Turks and conquer Ottoman lands was to occupy Tsarinas and Tsars until the time of Alexander II and the Crimean War.  Though politics making strange bedfellows that sad conflict involved most of Europe siding with the Ottomans against Russia.

However despite these animosities - religious and political - the culture of the Ottomans always proved intriguing for the Western world, its monarchs, merchants and artists. Decorations and architecture "alla Turca", in the style of the Turks, graced the palaces of rulers throughout Europe - and the Tsars and Tsarinas, who after the reign of Peter considered themselves very much European, were no exceptions. Often the paintings and sculptures showed the Turks in a less than favourable light - the conquered followers of Islam in chains groveling at the feet of some mighty Ruler was a subject sure to win an aspiring artist his commission - but just as often they revealed the beauty of things "alla Turca".

A short stroll from the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo is this lovely one room pavilion was originally meant as a folly when it was build during the reign of Tsarina Elizabeth.  Catherine the Great had it remodelled and used it as her "office" conducting affairs of state while overlooking a pleasant prospect of lake and garden.

Now in the Hermitage this
statue of Voltaire once held pride
of place in the Grotto Pavilion.
In the Grotto Pavilion, her little "office" on the grounds of the Catherine Palace, the second Empress of that name considered affairs of state while having her morning coffee. In 1749 when Francesco Rastrelli created it for Tsarina Elizabeth his decorations were of the "sea" - sea shells, dolphins and fantastic fish of a type never seen in the waters of the world.  By 1770 tastes under her successor had changed - Catherine II was not fond of the baroque and dismissed both Rastrelli and his work.  The interior colours and moldings of the Tsarina's Morning Hall were changed to reflect a more neo-classical style. The central hall held a full sized statue of Voltaire, Catherine considered herself a follower of the French philosopher and carried on a long correspondence with him.  The niches which once were graced by oceanids now held busts reflecting some of that fascination with things Turkish.

No Information was provided or seems to be available on the provenance of these busts in the Grotto Pavilion - though one would appear to be a Christian ruler given to dress alla Turca!

June 25 - 1678: Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman awarded a doctorate of philosophy when she graduates from the University of Padua.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Travels with Sidd - Family!!!!!

On Midsummer's Eve proved an interesting time for our Sidd to  be in Sweden.  Everywhere he turned he seemed to run into someone from his "dimension" for want of a better word.

He really enjoyed wandering around the streets of Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm,  the narrow cobblestone lanes such as  Mårten Trotzigs gränd (above) seemed to have been built just for his particular group. Its hard with Sidd to assign anything as crass as ethnicity (heaven knows we love doing that in Canada) though apparently within his genus there are several groups. Sidd, of course is a gnome - sub-genus travellus - closely related to the elf and fairy family and within Europe to the leprechauns of Ireland and the Vättar in Sweden.

In fact as we strolled down Stora Nygat Sidd ran into a whole family of these distant Swedish cousins. They are underground dwellers whose task is to protect the earth and the environment. Given what's going on these days back home he asked one of them to join him on the trip back to Canada - so Jööhann joined him in my commodious satchel for the balance of our trip.

Sidd was a little more apprehensive when he came upon a shop filled with trolls - there's a bit of a history between gnomes and trolls, not necessarily a good one.  He was even more nervous when he found himself seated beside a rather large - in fact the granddaddy of all - trolls. He tried to chat him up and compliment him on the great hat but apparently there's was a language barrier.  Either that or what Sidd had been told by his mother was true - trolls are a bit slow and dim-witted.  So after a brief hello he left it at that and we continued on our way.

Though not of the gnomish variety Sidd was interested in some of story book friends he saw in the trendy shop windows along Birger Jarlsgatan. He was just as happy when he realized that he was protected from the jaws of this bejewelled croc that tried to entice him in. But he really was puzzled how Goosey Goosey Gander and his mate seemed so nonchalant about being in the same room with that toothy reptile?

And he was equally glad that he couldn't hear that yapping over dressed little chihuahua through the window. But he was wondering why Puss in Boots looked like a Chicago pimp on a Saturday night - or more specifically why anyone would invite him (or the chihuahua) into their living room .... to stay?

Even given how much he's travelled Sidd had never quite seen anything like this! He honestly wondered what the poor Princess had done to deserve such a punishment -I mean the normal thing is to lock them in a tower, feed them a bad apple or put them to sleep for a hundred years but being turned into a light fixture!!! And where was the rest of her? And how the hell do you break that spell? That must have been some pissed off fairy!

By day's end Sidd was more than happy to come back to the hotel and chat up the very nice receptionist at the hotel. Guess he figured he'd have more success with a pretty lady who didn't have some strange curse on her and wasn't just hanging around shop windows!

Marco, please note that Sidd is not the sort of gnome who kisses and tell

Sidd explains the rules of the house to Jööhann who'll be staying here until he travels to Sidd's place in mid-July.  He also suggested that he avoid the Hounds from Hell once they get home - they're sweet but eat everything!  Including gnomes and Vätars.

24 June - 637: The Battle of Moira is fought between the High King of Ireland and the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada. It is claimed to be largest battle in the history of Ireland.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Travels with Sidd - This, Those and That - Part I

Well Sidd will be packing his bag for the last time tonight in Copenhagen and then heading back to the North American side of the Atlantic. At the moment he - and we - are riding through the Swedish countryside en route to the Danish capital. He was saying that it reminded him a bit of the Muskokas as did the trip in through the Archipelago - all islands, water and forests.

Even though he hasn't been updating on here a great deal he has been a busy boy - at times too busy what with touring Helsinki, St Petersberg, Tallinn and Stockholm plus all those activities on the boat. But its been a great two weeks of incredible sights, sounds and - are I remind you of prime importance to our Sidd - food!

So here's a few of the things he's been up:

June 12: Watching the Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace in Copenhagen and strolling around town.

June 14: During the day at sea Sidd had a massage at the spa and a fine dinner that evening. He decided afterwards to take in the show at the ship's cabaret. The Bailey's on the rocks went down a treat and Eric de Gray, a boy from Morrisberg of all places, put on a damned good show.

June 15: Aside from those - ahem ahem cough - Christmas decorations Sidd walked around Helskini. Sadly he got Cathy's message about the pastries at Fazer's too late to do anything but drool through the window at the marzipan strawberry confections. And the seal at the fountain near the port market wasn't really that talkative - apparently a very Finnish trait.

To be continued .....

June 22 - 1906: The flag of Sweden is adopted.

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