Twenty Locks Down to Sjötorp 13.6. – 14.6.
There are 21 locks on the Göta canal between lakes Vättern and Vänern from which 20 lower towards lake Vänern. We had already passed the upwards going lock and lake Viken previously. Now ahead of us is a slide downwards from the Göta canal's highest point of 91.8 metres. Lockage downwards is much more faster and we set Sjötorp as our destination on Wednesday.
So it was time to open bowlines from the mooring lines and prepare them for going down. We also changed the locking lines to the starboard of Suwena and we made Suwena fast on the right side of the locks on the way to Sjötorp. We had previously followed the oncoming boats and noticed their crew look very relaxed during downwards lockage. It really required less effort than going upwards. After entering the lock we passed the bow and stern lines through the rings. During the lockage Andrus slackened the stern line and I eased up on the bow line in front. Like Andrus sayed in one of the locks, "It feels like being in a bathtub while the water is going out."
The Göta canal Skipper's Guide introduces various sights along the canal. From there we spotted a miniature canal built in Norrkvarn for a kids and a kids alike. It looked exciting and we kept an icecream break over there. It must be fun to drive with radio controlled boats in these locks. I wonder if this place is more popular for kids or their’ fathers?
There are eight locks in the end of the canal in Sjötorp. The numbering starts from lake Vänern upwards. Wednesday's schedule got a bit tight as we departed little late in the morning and made an extra stop in Norrkvarn. Fortunately the lock keeper in Sjötorp locks 8 to 4 was kind to lower us until Sjötorp marina even if he had to make a little overtime.
There are three different guest harbours in Sjötorp. We stayed at the upper harbour between the locks four and three for an extra day to celebrate the passage of the canal. The middle harbour is between locks two and one and the lower is on the coast of lake Vänern. That meant three more locks for a Friday when we continue towards Vänersborg on lake Vänern.
In Sjötorp we celebrated the canal passage and found an excellent restaurant. Restaurang och Pub Kajutan offered to us a wonderful dinner. I have a feeling this place will be high on our ranking list of summer's best restaurants. Along the Göta canal waitresses could not decide if the Swedish gös means pike or pike-perch? This time the Kajutan's waitress described gös fillet as a delicious pike from lake Vänern. It must have been overweight pike-perch or normal size pike because the piece of fillet on the plate was rather hefty. Anyway it was made in butter, garnished with shrimps and it was really delicious. The dinner was topped off by a insanely good crema catalana with fresh berries. Already last year we named crème brûlée as Swedish national dessert because it is on the menu of every single restaurant over here. It felt nice that the restaurant Kajutan has made it a little differently but still even more tastier dessert.
On Friday we felt great to pass three last locks on the Göta canal and arrive successfully on lake Vänern. YES, we made it! 190 kilometres long Göta canal is behind us, we passed through 58 locks and we are still married together. Champagne is awaiting now!