Baltic Sea, Sweden

Sightseeing in Stockholm

This morning we arrived at Stadhuset’s tower ticket office by 9am. We were one of the firsts to buy our ticket for the 9:15 entry. Our group was allowed 35 minutes in the tower…ten minutes to climb 348 feet, 15 minutes to look around, and ten minutes to go down. Our climb included a variety of stairs, some appeared newer than others, and then a ramp of bricks that seemed to spiral up and around the tower in straight, narrow passage ways with a slight jog every now and then. After the fifth time around, we wondered when it would end! The top of the tower offered lovely panoramic views of Stockholm. In the middle of the tower, several models which were entered in a competition for statues around the city hall were displayed. It was quite interesting. Continue reading “Sightseeing in Stockholm”

Baltic Sea, Russia

Through the Eyes of the Russian People

After yesterday’s tour with the masses, I found myself thankful we didn’t go to the Hermitage. I recognize it is St. Petersburg #1 attraction, but I heard it was worse than the palace we visited in terms of mobs of people and it was difficult to even enjoy the art. Perhaps I will have to return in the off-season and suffer through the cold to enjoy a few of the attractions peacefully along with the ballet that we had to forego in order to go to the evening reception at Catherine’s Palace last night. Those that know me are probably saying, “yeah, right…she doesn’t even like Denver’s winter.” Yep, I may not ever make it back, especially with all the other places to see in the world, but who knows. At least I got a taste of tourism in Russia. Continue reading “Through the Eyes of the Russian People”

Baltic Sea, Russia

Imperial St. Petersburg

We arrived at St. Petersburg early Tuesday morning as we passed by industrial docks ladened in a dump yard of discarded metal as well as piers of churches adorned in gold. We signed up for a full day tour called “Imperial St. Petersburg”. Choosing a tour option provided by the cruise ship eliminated the need for us to personally apply for a Visa. This was handled for us. I suppose the negative to this choice was that we were limited to going on land unless we were with a tour, but at the same time I read in a travel book that tours are the best option as taxi driver’s don’t speak English. Continue reading “Imperial St. Petersburg”

Baltic Sea, Finland

Helsinki Hell!

We arrived in Helsinki, Finland at 7am and had to leave by 12:45pm. Before we set foot on land, we felt gypped by this schedule. We were really looking forward to touring this city of 590,000 people. Our original tour was cancelled, so we turned to the travel book. Suomenlinna, a sea fortress, was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it required a 15 minute ferry to the 6 islands and four hours according to Fodor’s. As such, we opted for the other popular sites in Helsinki…Senate Square and its green domed cathedral which towers above the city, the Olympic Stadium constructed for the 1957 games, the Sibelius Monument, Temppeliaakio Church which is carved into the rocks, the Esplanade and its Havis Amanda statue, and finally the local market. Continue reading “Helsinki Hell!”

Baltic Sea, Estonia

Loved Tallinn, Estonia!

Cruising to Tallinn

Tallinn, the capital and largest city of Estonia was quite enjoyable. It may have been our favorite city on the tour thus far. Perhaps it was a pleasant surprise because we hardly knew anything about Estonia or this medieval city whose old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue reading “Loved Tallinn, Estonia!”

Baltic Sea

A Day at Sea

We are at sea today with sails fully trimmed. This morning I finally visited the bridge. I checked out a few monitors and spoke with the second officer. She clicked on the ships on the monitor to show the details of each vessel. That was kind of neat. I could also see the path we were taking around a shallow area and learned that the Baltic Sea is relatively shallow and warm, at least for whales and large sea life. I suppose I won’t be outside looking for Orcas today. Though I’m not sure how much time I will spend outside anyway. While the sun is out, there is a cool breeze! Continue reading “A Day at Sea”

Baltic Sea, Lithuania

Klaipeda, Lithuania and the Curonian Peninsula

Touring the Curonian Peninsula

Today Suman, Brian, Erin and I took the 7 hour “Explore, hike, and lunch on the Curonian Peninsula” tour in Lithuania. The activity level was rated “strenuous”…perhaps for the average age of the cruise which is likely 65 years old.

Our boat arrived in Klaipeda, Lithuania’s only port at 8am, and after being greeted by music playing, we hopped on our bus to begin the tour. A ferry transported our bus across the Curonian Lagoon to the Curonian Peninsula, a 60 mile long spit which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue reading “Klaipeda, Lithuania and the Curonian Peninsula”