Sunday night and Monday night gigs went well without anything that interesting or unusual happening, however, after the gig on Sunday night I sat for many hours with a varied group of ship’s entertainers. A couple from the Ukraine who do some amazing things hanging by their teeth from hi wires many many feet above a very hard wooden floor. A few show singers from South Africa, lots of dancers from Hungary (and all the girls look very thin), some jazz musicians from Italy, a sax player and DJ from Sweden (who work as a team on the promenade deck), a Bulgarian 7 piece function band, and a pianist who never said where he came from. All were sharing details of their contracts and T&C’s. I was surprised that all of them are amazingly different, this is because everybody is working for different agents. The hi wire couple perform for just 10 minutes every night and although are proportionately (if worked out fee per minute) are the best paid entertainers on the ship they risk life and limb every time they climb their rope ladder. So even if I could do what they do I would never swap with them. The length of our contracts varies from, my 14 nights to the show singers 6 months. I was so pleased to chat with the guys as I have learned that other than the jazz band I would not swap with any of the other acts on board.
I am pleased I decided to give Stockholm another try. I decided to walk into the centre and found that I have changed my mind about the place. I had a lovely walk through interesting residential and commercial areas. It took me about 50 minutes to reach the centre and I was very surprised that there were no cup shakers, maybe they all take Sunday off? I wandered around the centre of Stockholm and enjoyed myself. Some of you may know I have child like admiration for marching bands so imagine my joy when I heard one in the distance. I followed the sound and found them, a large military band followed by a few dozen soldiers marching with shining swords and bayonets. I learned it was “the changing of the guard” the soldiers were the Swedish Royal family life guards. I found a parkland route back to the ship that followed the waterside and arrived back at the ship with an hour to spare.
Monday, I returned to Helsinki and felt like I was getting to know my way around well, I heard an English couple talking they struggling with a map looking for the railway stain and I gave them directions. That brings us right up to today (Tuesday). I have just had a very weird Stockholm walk. I ventured out without a map and found some steep woodland. I walked a path for about 90 minutes without seeing a soul, what I did see was a number of horses wandering the woods (one made a loud whinny noise at me and frightened me). In the mud I found a set of large cloven hoof tracks, I walked very quietly but didn’t find what had made the tracks. Deep in the woods on an overgrown path I turned a bend to find over 100 gravestones many had lit candles in front of them. When I went to investigate I found it was a pet cemetery, there were the expected cats and dogs but also some of the headstones had pictures of horses, goats, a pot bellied pig, birds and reptiles. What a weird find, I wondered how did people get there as it was so far off the beaten track. When I left the cemetery I found a much wider path that led to a dog training centre, two silhouetted Dobermans were depicted on a sign that looked like it said hound training centre. I was now worried as there were 3 empty cages but still no sign of any human presence, I was also ware that I had now been walking for a couple of hours and should try to find my way back to the ship. I cam to a clearing and poking above the trees I saw a huge telecoms tower so I went to have a look. Imagine my pleasure when I found that there was a tarmac road that led to it, a souvenir shop at the bottom of it and an elevator for the public to access to the top, up I went. At the top was a bar with fantastic views of the surrounding area and I could see my ship. I had walked for a couple of hours along finger of woodland that followed the peninsula, to get back to the ship I could walk directly across some moorland which only took about 20 minutes. I am now back on board and going to have a kip before my nights performance.