On the Göta Canal aboard M/S Juno

How could a morning be more peaceful than this!

The boat jolted; where were we? I opened our cabin door – the chilly, early morning air was refreshing. I looked at my watch – 5 am; it was already light outside. On deck, a few fellow passengers were waving to early joggers along the canal. The city of Söderköping was waking up.

I could feel the boat slowly being lifted; we were obviously already inside the lock. One could hear the water rushing in between the two huge doors of the lock in front of M/S Juno’s bow.

Soon we were out of the lock and moving at a slow, pleasant pace, passing by lush green trees and meadows with grazing cows. A nightingale was singing with its characteristic clicks and calls.

Göta Canal

Göta Canal

Our dresses, damp from previous day’s walk in the rain, and hung to dry on each side of the cabin door, were swaying with the slow motions of the boat. Even the long, white stockings, wet and muddy from the walk, were slowly swaying over the window.

How could a morning be more peaceful that this!

And the last day of May was as lovely as it could ever be

How can a boat climb 18.8 meters up a hill? The marvel of the 7 connected locks of Carl Johan Staircase, finished in 1818, can only be truly appreciated aboard a boat like M/S Juno that just about fits within each lock.

Lock

Lock

It takes time for the boat to enter, wait for the water level to rise, and then exit the lock. And this process is repeated for each of the 7 locks. This gave our fellow passengers a chance to walk to the historical Wreta Abbey close by. Times have not changed – this is what Augusta and her fellow passengers also did on their Göta Canal trip in 1850:

We were in the neighborhood of Wreta Abbey and our company seemed determined to disembark. I was conversing with the two Frenchmen and we marched arm in arm to the newly restored Wreta Church, which we found open. My cavaliers began to tire me with their French so I resolutely took August’s arm and led the whole company back to the locks while singing “Rest by This Source” and “La Marseillaise”. When we arrived at the last lock, the steamer had not yet arrived so we sat down in the green grass and played games. Finally, our smoking abode arrived and cheerfully we boarded the boat.

Kerstin and I did not walk along the canal arm in arm with any cavaliers. But we did walk along the canal under blooming whitebeam trees  and hawthorn bushes, and we did sing Rest by This Source by Bellman. And our wide skirts swayed as we walked and our bonnets were catching the breeze and had to be tied tighter not to fall off.

And the last day of May was as lovely as it could ever be.

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