Gota Canal Day 8 & 9: Vadstena

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Vadstena Castle was built as a fortress in 1545, but soon converted into a palace, and is a notable example of Swedish Renaissance architecture. The city also is known for being the site where Saint Bridget of Sweden founded the first monastery of her Bridgettine Order in 1350.

Vadstena is a few miles south of the direct Gota Canal route across Lake Vattern, and a popular stop for canal boaters. We spent two nights there, exploring the city while docked on the outer edge of the moat surrounding Vadstena Castle. Moored in the moat of a 16-century castle has to be the most unusual docking location we’ve ever had.

Below are trip highlights from August 10th and 11th, 2019 in Vadstena, Sweden. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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The MS Diana departing this morning after overnighting on the wall in front of us at Motola.
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The 2034-ft (620 m) Motalabron (Motala Bridge) was completed in 2013.
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Vadstena Castle
Dirona moored on the outer edge of the moat surrounding Vadstena Castle.
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32-amp Splitter
While in Amsterdam, we built a power adapter that takes 400V 16-amp three-phase power and yields two 240V 16-amp connections. It’s nice to have power adapters to be able to make almost any shorepower system work.
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Power Cords
Another aspect of making a wide variety of shorepower systems work is having the cable reach to be able to get there. Here we are running 2 16-amp connections to a shore supply about 125ft away using our 4 75ft 16-amp shorepower cords.

In the distance you can see the marina has an extension available halfway between us and the shorepower pedestal, but the connection is for European Schuko plugs (which we have) and the extension in aggregate can only supply 16 amps and we want 2 16-amp feeds.

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Vadstena’s old town is well-preserved, with most of the buildings dating from the 16th-18th centuries. This is looking north along Storgatan.
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Restaurang Wasa
A delicious lunch at Restaurang Wasa in Vadstena.
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In the courtyard of Vadstena Castle. The castle was built as a fortress in 1545, but soon converted into a palace. It was a Royal Palace until 1716 and is a notable example of Swedish Renaissance architecture.
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Cannon Passage
The cannon passage is one of the oldest parts of Vadstena Castle, dating to 1545. These original sandstone sculptures were on the ornamented outside ends of the castle, but were replaced by copies due to deterioration caused by weather and air pollution.
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West Suite
One of the four rooms in the West Suite in Vadstena Castle, dating from the early 1600s with an original painted ceiling. Vadstena is one of the best-preserved castles from the 16th-century era of Gustav Vasa, when Sweden became Protestant.
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Looking down to our moat-moorage from inside Vadstena Castle.
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Wedding Party
A wedding party was taking photographs at Vadstena Castle while we visited.
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Cutaway from the wall showing one of the original pillars initially used to support the ceiling in a part of the castle. They weren’t strong enough, so more support was added and the columns were plastered over.
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Pretty much the entire time we were in Vadstena, dozens of people of all ages were fishing for crayfish in the moat using these baited traps.
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Railway Turntable
An extensive network of 891 mm narrow-gauge railway ran throughout the area in the 1800s. This roundhouse and railway turntable in Vadstena is a remnant of that era.
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Stora Torget
Stora Torget, Vadstena’s main square.
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Vadstena Klosterkyrka
The vaulted ceiling of Vadstena Klosterkyrka, consecrated in 1430. The monument in the foreground is to Duke Magnus, the son of King Gustav Vasa, who owned and lived in Vadstena castle.
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Wedding Ceremony
The wedding party we saw at Vadstena Castle was holding their ceremony at Vadstena Klosterkyrka when we stopped in. Note the amazingly detailed and ornate altarpiece in the background.
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We had a great dinner at Borgmestaren gastropub with a delicious bottle of Cabernet from Wines of Substance. Vadstena seemed an unlikely place to find a Washington State wine.
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Castle at Night
The view to Vadstena Castle at night from our moorage in its moat.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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