Saturday 12 March 2011


Late yesterday evening I arrived back home from a short trip to Germany. Just like a month ago, I had no occasion to savour the temperature, stepping from plane to train, from train to cab and from cab to my apartment door. This morning however, I noticed a big difference to my last return (remember the glove freezing to the doorhandle?). The air was fresh, but mild. Although white snow was still blanketing the lawns alongside the streets, the Sound was completely ice free and you could hear the odd bird starting to kvitter.

Whilst appreciating these forebodings of spring, I could not help noticing that there now were two ferries crossing Hammarby Sound. I then recalled that since recently, the ferries no longer go straight across, but make an intermediate landing on the quay you can see just behind the two ferries. Above that quay, building activity is approaching its end and soon the last "immigrants" to Hammarby Sjöstad will be able to move in there and are already being serviced by ferry transports. This adds to the charm of this nice neighborhood but, of course, diminishes my views. If you would like to see how the quay looked without the new buildings, take a quick glance back at the "Rainbow picture" in an earlier post.

But why two ferries of a sudden? Well, this is an example of Swedish efficiency. Going straight across, the trip takes only five minutes and there is a ferry available each 15 minutes. With the present triangular traffic, the trip takes ten minutes to the other side and you have to wait 20 minutes between the boats' arriving. Having to wait 5 minutes longer for the transfer is deemed to be unacceptable during the morning and evening rush hours, when people are hurrying to transport their children, as well as themselves, to and fro their daily hide-outs. With two ferries, you are back at the 15 minutes' interval.

However, every 40 minutes or so, the two ferries tend to "collide" and have to execute an elegant wait-and-dance manoeuvre so that traffic can continue without unnecessary delays. Isn't it nice to live in such an efficient country?

To celebrate my good luck of living here, let me present, for your amusement, a little video with the two ferries "dancing" to music. You just have to click at the icon below to join in the fun.