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Day 8 Scandinavia – Tallinn, Estonia is Terrific!

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The sunrise picture wasn’t great, but the sunset as we left Tallinn for St Petersburg was peaceful and beautiful

Our best day yet!  We didn’t know what to expect in Tallinn, Estonia.  I’m sorry to say that Estonia doesn’t come up in my everyday conversations – but it earned a warm spot in all of our hearts today.  What a fun place!  If medieval cities get your blood pumping, this is the town for you.

We all liked Stockholm, but it didn’t hit a spot in our Top 10 Places to Relocate for Six Months list.  But Tallinn is right up there.

The weather finally cooled a bit and there was a brisk breeze in the harbor.  Ellie, still a bit under the weather, slept in and George and I dined on the buffet balcony.  I love sitting there in the morning.  Tallinn is a apparently a popular cruise ship port, the ships just kept arriving.  It is fascinating watching the pilots parallel park a 900 foot ship between two giant behemoths.    A Disney ship pulled in and blew its huge horn – and the opening bar to the Disney theme played.  Everyone on our ship started laughing and smiling.  Even on a competitor’s vessel, we all love Disneyland and everything it represents. Continue reading “Day 8 Scandinavia – Tallinn, Estonia is Terrific!”

Day 7 Scandinavia – Say Sayonara Sweden!

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I didn’t get up in time to take a sunrise photo today. This is in the early evening as we sailed away from Sweden. We passed thousands of islands. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the breathtaking views. Of course, as soon as my stomach growled, I bailed for dinner….

Ellie’s throat was sore and her ears plugged when she went to bed last night.  We let her sleep in to get some rest.  We don’t have any rest days until after we leave St. Petersburg.  George and I slipped away while she slept and had a sunny breakfast on the buffet veranda.  It felt so nice to wake up with coffee in the warm sun.

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I was tired, so I had a veggie omelet with feta cheese for protein and added some pumpkin seeds to a fruit salad I put together. They have a cooking station and will make whatever egg concoction desired.

Ellie roused and we decided to forego another taxi adventure, and took the Hop On and Never Get To Your Destination Bus.  The Stockholm Hop On bus really is a waste of money.  It would be far quicker to walk.  Traffic is heavy and it took us 90 minutes to reach Old Town.  Mohammed the taxi driver had got us there in ten minutes.  I can’t count Mr. Eeyore, taxi driver number two, because that poor man has some issues that will take more than a GPS to fix.  Have to admit that every taxi we saw, we spontaneously called out “Good Taxi” or “Bad Taxi!” Continue reading “Day 7 Scandinavia – Say Sayonara Sweden!”

Day 6 Scandinavia – Stockholm is Spendy!

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I woke up with the sunrise and jumped up to take a picture of the sky as we neared Stockholm. Then I looked at my clock and realized it was 4:19 a.m. Sunrise comes early here! I definitely went back to bed.

In the past, when I thought of Stockholm, it was a vision of snow, ice and skis.  Never, ever was it a vision of 85+ degrees, high humidity and bottles of sunscreen.  It is HOT!  Welcome to the tropical destination of Sweden!

Sweden is such an interesting country.  I am a bit embarrassed to reveal just how little I knew about it.  Did you know that the city of Stockholm is comprised of 14 islands, which are part of the Stockholm Archipelago which has between 24,000 – 30,000 islands?  Too many to count?  Sorry to say, I had no idea.  And they are 24,000 of those most beautiful spots on earth.  At least in the summer when you can get around to them.

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Some of the islands we passed on our way into port. All the islands are heavily wooded, and many have beautiful summer houses on them.

I thought Alaska was beautiful (and it is), but Sweden really has the wow factor.  And the cruise ship comes so close to some of them that we could wave gaily to children and talk to each other.  Okay,  we were hollering, but it was amazingly close.  And it made George more than a bit nervous. Continue reading “Day 6 Scandinavia – Stockholm is Spendy!”

Day 5 Scandinavia – At Sea, But I Can’t See!

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Oh the joy of a day at sea.  No commitments other than the big decision to eat at the buffet or the dining room.  Oh, and don’t forget to mosey down to the espresso bar for that cappuccino.

We all slept in.  I’ve developed this habit of waking up as the sun rises.  I snap a quick sunrise shot and hop back into bed (if there is time).  Today, oh baby, there was time, and it felt good.  But the sunrise wasn’t that pretty today.  Kind of blah – which is exactly how I felt.  Maybe the sun needed to sleep in, also.  There was a little slip of a moon in the sky, but you just can’t win at the Spectacular Sunrise Contest every day.   It still was nice, but I’m getting spoiled.  I rarely sleep late, but I didn’t get up until after 9:30 a.m.  George and Ellie were still dead to the world, but George eventually got up and we had lunch at the buffet.  I was hungry because we had missed breakfast.

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Ratatouille (french thick veggie stew) over roasted broccoli, seafood salad and cucumber/tomato salad with yogurt dressing. Probably 2 points? From the buffet and right to my stomach. I also ordered a fresh grilled fish fillet. They have a chef on-site who will cook steak, chicken, pork or fish to order.

Continue reading “Day 5 Scandinavia – At Sea, But I Can’t See!”

Day 4 Scandinavia – Copenhagen By Bus, Barge and Bike

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Sunrise at sea at we are sailing into Copenhagen, Denmark.

Copenhagen!  I grew up in a small town, and in my senior year of high school we had an exchange student from Copenhagen.  She was a generous and friendly girl who described in detail her “little country.”  Her name was Yetta, and we corresponded for a few years and then lost track of one another.  She has been on my mind the last few days, and now I wish I could have been able to find her.  George pointed out I probably could have used Facebook.

I’m not a Facebooker, and seldom think of using it.  George lives on Facebook, so I have no need.  He’s always showing me things and reading it out loud.  Between Facebook and his girlfriend, Siri, his world is full.  But I’m regretting I didn’t try to find her.  She’d be an old woman like me now, but I bet she still has that broad smile and positive attitude that I remember.  And blonde hair – not out of a bottle.

Wow, there are a LOT of blonde, attractive people here.  As Ellie and I walked down the street, I remarked that there were so many pretty girls; she replied “And boys!”  Very athletic looking, but gosh, with the snow in the winter and the glorious sun in the summer, the residents have to be very active. Continue reading “Day 4 Scandinavia – Copenhagen By Bus, Barge and Bike”

Day 3 Scandinavia – At Sea and Ellie Tries to Kill Her Grandma

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The sun just coming up at sea at 5 a.m.. Notice the slip of a moon in the upper right-hand corner.

The call of nature, and habit, woke me this morning.  I love going out on the veranda to see what the sunrise has to offer.  It gives me a little shiver of pleasure to think I’m somewhere exotic and this special spot and time is mine to savor.  What an opportunity to live in the moment.

This morning, I paid tribute to the moment and then the lure of the soft, cushy bed drew me back.  We are all exhausted, and today is a day of recovery at sea.  Yes, this will be a day of regeneration and get ready for Copenhagen tomorrow.

Last night, when Ellie was working me over in the gym, I had stupidly agreed to attend a 7 a.m. fitness class with her.  Something about finding my core.  I just wanted to find my bed.  Fortunately, Ellie was zonked out and I “forgot” to wake her up.  In fact, I slept until 9:30 a.m., which is very late for me.  Ellie slept until almost 11 a.m., and I was more than happy to tiptoe around so she wouldn’t wake up.

Continue reading “Day 3 Scandinavia – At Sea and Ellie Tries to Kill Her Grandma”

Scandinavia Day 2 – Bruges, Belgium: Waffles, Chocolate and Beer, Oh My!

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Sunrise from our balcony at Zeebrugge, Belgium, where we docked. We took a 30 minute bus ride into Bruges

In a perfect world, it would have been nice to have a day at sea before landing at our first destination inn Bruges, Belgium.  The majority of cruisers were still rummy from traveling.  It’s fun to meet people from around the world; especially when there is time to sit and have a chat.  Despite our cultural differences, we have so much in common.  In essence, it was hard for everyone to get out of bed.  We docked at 6:30 a.m. and headed to shore soon thereafter.

A healthy breakfast is a great way to get energy for a day of adventure, so we each individually staggered our way to the breakfast buffet. Personally, I feel the buffet is the easiest location for me to manage a healthy breakfast.   I wanted to keep the calories down, so I could enjoy some food treats in Bruges (chocolate and waffles), our first stop.

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Non-Fat plain yogurt, pineapple/melon, roasted tomato, salmon lox, scrambled eggs and grapefruit. One point breakfast

I still felt like I was dragging, so I decided to have a bit more protein, without spending any more points.  I hit the buffet and came up with this:

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Lox, capers, cucumber slices, thin-sliced onions and lemon quarters

With a bit of re-arranging:

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Yummy salmon protein rich appetizer. Gave me just enough extra protein to get me motivated and energized for our excursion.

Continue reading “Scandinavia Day 2 – Bruges, Belgium: Waffles, Chocolate and Beer, Oh My!”