Vfyw_11-12

A dearth of diversity in this week's entries. A reader writes:

Obviously taken out the window of a yacht; my guess is that it's on the Intracoastal Waterway somewhere in South Florida. Presumably moored on the mainland side, looking west across to the barrier island that separates the waterway from the ocean all along the Florida coast. The only problem is that there are on scattered high-rises on the horizon, so it can't be Ft. Lauderdale, Boca or Palm Beach. Also, the waterway is quite wide, which suggests somewhere south of Lauderdale but north of Miami. Therefore, looking toward Dania or Hollywood?  That's hard to say; I haven't been down that way in years. Don't know the geography of those areas, and I'm not enough of a Google maven to be able to narrow it down better.

Another writes:

First time guessing, though I follow it almost every week.  Probably way off, but looking it made me think of the traveling south down the Saigon river out of Ho Chi Minh City.  Would feel bad if I was close and didn't give it a try.

Another:

Of all the anonymous ferry terminals in the world, I figured I ought to pick one in a place where I've actually been. I went to Kurihama on a business trip around 1990. JVC has a facility there. Why Japan, when this terminal looks like it could be anywhere in the civilized world? Well, the dock has no bumpers. All the American ferry terminals I can see have big bumpers. Maybe the Japanese build them differently, because their terminals don't seem to have them. And that white building could be vaguely Japanese. Beyond that, I got nuthin. I know Kurihama is wrong.

Another is correct:

I know this!

I drove by this spot several times a week when I lived in Stockholm.  This picture was taken from the Silja Line looking across at the island of Lidingö, specifically at Lilla Vfyw2Värtan.  The building to the right of the ship is the Scandic Ariadne hotel. I have included a few pictures of the area.  The first is a similar view, only taken from the water.  The second is a reverse angle of the picture for the contest [seen right] – it looks back at a similarly positioned cruise-liner from the dock with the hotel on the left.  The third picture gives a different angle of the hotel, including the small red building at the edge of the dock, which is visible from the contest picture.

I just love being out on the Stockholm archipelago (skärgård) and can't wait to return to Sweden soon.  While I only lived there for two years, it sunk deep into my soul.

Another:

Some of my relatives in Sweden objected to the construction of such large residential buildings in Stockholm, feeling that it changed the character of the town which is built on a complex archipelago. (They lived about two miles farther out from the center of town, in the Täby area.)

Another:

This brought back lovely memories!  When my husband and I lived in Stockholm, we would take the Silja line ferry to Finland, mostly to visit family or stay at the summer house.  To this day, I love taking the overnight ferry ride between Finland and Sweden, enjoying the spectacular views of the archipelagos.  The company has changed hands, but the ferries still sail daily.

Another:

This contest was too easy and no fair.

This is from the bow of a Silja (now called Tallink) ship headed from Stockholm to Finland via the Åland islands. I think this is from a cabin window, one of the high price bow cabins, on level 6 or so. In the Google Maps pic, attached, the ship is reversed and in the opposite pier:

SiljaTerminal

Which boat is it? The sun is hitting the building from the West, so it is evening. Whether it is the Serenade or the Symphony depends on which day the pic was taken. This time of year the Turku boats get in too late for the sun, so it is a boat leaving for Stockholm at 5 PM. But the time of the pic is problematic. Sunset is before 4 PM this week and the sun is still up when this picture was taken. Is it possible that the picture is a week old, from before daylight savings time?

Although I usually take the competing Viking Line ship, this white paint pattern was easy to recognize. This is altogether not fair. A couple weeks ago I took a pic I intended to send you of one of the Silja ships, along with the two viking ships, all dancing around each other in Mariehamn's harbor, pic attached. Some of the Silja ships go to Stockholm, and those were not in the picture I took. The ones in my picture go to Turku/Abo. In the pic there are four boats. The one I am in and two others. Why four huge boats in one teeny harbor at one time?

IMG_0188_2

First the simple facts. There are two competing Ferry companies, The Silja line (white boats, now called Tallink) and the Viking line (red boats). The have the same schedules (plus or minus 15 minutes). They each have a boat from Finland and a boat from Sweden meet in the middle of the Baltic at the harbor shown. For each of the four boats, most passengers switch boats at Mariehamn and go back to their home countries. So really the boats are boats to nowhere.

The back story. These ships represent a huge source of pollution that is caused by/subsidized by a strange EU policy. The semi-autonomous Åland islands of Finland have a special "tax-free" status in the EU. If a boat lands there, it gets credit for an international trip. So the boats can sell cigarettes and alcohol (and little trinkets of various kinds) tax-free. Most of the people riding on the boat from, say Sweden to Finland get off in Mariehamn (the Åland islands) and get right back on the ship coming from Finland and going to Sweden. The same the other way around. That is, people ride the ship for the tax-free experience, not to get anywhere.

Thus the economy of the Åland islands is held up by a tax-free law that makes for thousands of tons of carbon pollution. Without the special EU tax-free exemption for the Åland Islands, ferry traffic would go way down. Many of the passengers are induced to ride by the tax-free status that the stop gives. The Åland islands have a population of 35,000 people yet are served by 23 ferries per day. These huge ships, with thousands of passengers will stop for, literally, about a minute. Sometimes only one or two people will get on or off. Tons and tons of fuel for a tax exemption.

Another gets close to guessing the exact ferry:

It was pretty clear right away that the photo was taken from a ship in Northern Europe, but I spent a lot of time searching ports. I refused to accept that it wasn't Turku, Finland, but, well, you can't make it Turku when it's not. Finally, however, I realized that the "road" on the bottom right is for car loading, and started focusing on ferry lines, instead of cruise ports. Which led me to Stockholm. The photo is taken from Tallink's MS Victoria I, which connects Stockholm and Talinn. Below is my guess of the window, as well as an aerial of the port with two other possible ships in it (the Silja Serenade and the Baltic Queen). The blue around the windows in the photo, the fact that the Victoria docks facing outward (as opposed to the Serenade) and the radar in front makes me think it's the Victoria, rather than those ships (or the MS Galaxy, which also docks there). But I could be wrong.

Nearly had it. From the most precise reader this week:

This is an interesting one because you’ve presented us with (for the first time, I think) a moving target. So let’s start with non-movable parts. We’re docked at Viewerthe Tallink-Silja Line’s terminal in Värtahamnen, just east of central Stockholm, looking across to Lilla Vartan. I’ve marked the red roofed building in the foreground. The high-rise to the right in the window is the Scandi Ariadne Hotel, Positionen 117, Södra Kajen 37, 115 74 Stockholm. The unusual circular shaft on the side of the building is marked on the aerial view, as is the shadow of the radio tower beside the small building.

Across the water is Lilla Vartan, with two residential high-rise apartment projects visible. The ones on the left are on Bodelsvägen. These Google Steet Views [not pictured] are taken from a point half way between the two complexes. Looking the Screen shot 2011-11-15 at 10.57.53 AMother direction, the red buildings and smokestack are visible. The red apartment buildings are on Larsbergsvägen.

Now, let’s deal with the moving target itself, the Tallink Silja Line’s Galaxy, which ferries passengers and vehicles from Stockholm to Turku, Finland. Here’s a picture of the ship at the dock. The Scandia Ariadne is just visible over the superstructure of the ship. Now, here’s a hard part, which is that the line’s Baltic Queen also uses this dock. But there’s a detail on the window of the suite in the photo which is telling: the strip of wood on the side of the window frame. These appear on in photos of Galaxy’s suites, but not in photos of the Baltic Queens.

Viewer2Here’s the interior of a suite on the Galaxy. As you can see, the windows identify it. But which suite? I was unable to find a deck plan showing suite numbers, so if someone else has that, I’m toast. But here’s a shot of the ship with the window from which I believe the shot was taken marked in red. The radar on the bow looks quite modest from the window shot, but as you can see, it’s pretty big.

My first thought in looking at the photo was that it could be anywhere. But a look at the trees in particular made me think it wasn’t tropical, much more likely to be a higher latitude. And when I looked at the towers across the water, they looked European to me. Didn’t take long to find the dock, but identifying the ship and cabin took more work.

This is the third one I’ve identified. Hope I win!

Congrats! We will send you a VFYW book shortly. From the submitter of the photo:

This was taken from an aft cabin on the Galaxy ferry just as we were departing Stockholm on the Stockholm-Turku route through the Swedish-Finnish archipelago.

One more interesting story from a reader:

My adopted hometown, Stockholm, Sweden! My birthday is Monday, so this photo was like an early birthday present, making me homesick for one of my favorite places on earth. When I saw the picture, it took me less than a second to say "Stockholm." The light on the buildings, the coastline and the water are deeply ingrained in my memory.

I'm from the Midwest, but I lived in Stockholm in 1977-78 when I was seven years old. My father was a professor on sabbatical, so our family moved to Stockholm. In those days, it was very uncommon for kids like me to have the opportunity to travel – let alone live – in Europe, and as a result that experience had a deep impact on my formative years and later life. My memories of that experience are some of my most treasured ones. In fact, we actually took a Silja Line ferry to Helsinki on our way to vacation in what was then Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In those years of Brezhnev and the Soviets, I vividly recall that trip because from the moment we arrived, we were constantly followed by the secret police (my father, along with hundreds of other academics at that time, had signed a petition supporting Sakharov and other Refuseniks and thus apparently landed on some sort of persona non grata list in the USSR).

The Silja Line (and Viking Line) ferries are overnight trips, sailing through the famously beautiful archipelago of Stockholm (not that the Swedes or Finns take in the view – the trips are also notoriously famous booze cruises … we were kept up all night by merry bands of drunken Scandinavians).

(Archive)