Day 13 & 14 Scandinavia – Oh Crap, It’s Almost Over

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It’s a bit breezy on our veranda as we head back to Southampton, England – and ultimately home.

Our last port has been visited and now we are headed back to where we embarked.  It will take us two days to reach Southampton, England.

This is the time of our vacations when I fight depression.  I just don’t want it to end.  The idea of packing up and trying to jam in any ship activities that we have missed makes me want to pull the covers over my head.  It’s been so much fun; why does it have to end?  Attitude is everything, and wasting the last two days in a depressed funk, is ridiculous.  So I suck it up, hitch up my big girl panties and see what we can still do.

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Days 11 & 12 Scandinavia – Berlin, Germany – It Was the Best of Times and the Wurst of Times

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Sunset in Germany as we drove from Berlin back to our ship in Warnemunde. There is a modern art aspect to the multitudes of wind generators against the skyline. I think they are rather lovely. Germany has a large focus on getting away from a petroleum based energy source.

Day 10 – Sea Day

This will be a short paragraph on Day 10.  We woke up late, ate, rested, ate again and read our books. The previous four days had been an energy sucking (but fun) experience, and we were ready to relax.

We had thought we had two days at sea and then would be in Berlin.  Wrong!  We had one day to Berlin.  This took the wind out of my sails a bit; I was really looking forward to two days of rest.   This cruise has had a lot of stops.  I know there is a possibility that I won’t be returning, so I feel compelled to get in as much as possible.  Doesn’t always make for a relaxing vacation – but I can be a inactive at home.  This is my chance to see a bit of our world.  That’s why a Sea Day is lovely – it is a chance to recoup from the previous days adventures – and the couch is there for me to curl up on with my book.

Day 11 – Berlin

George has decided to pass on Berlin and explore the local sites of Warnemunde and Rostock, which is a 15 minute train ride.  Rostock has the oldest continuing university in Europe, founded in 1419.  Both cities were heavily bombed in WWI and WWII, because of naval and aerial factories.  When Rostock went to rebuild their city center, they chose a happy Swedish village model for their architecture, in order to take the focus away from the grim past. Continue reading “Days 11 & 12 Scandinavia – Berlin, Germany – It Was the Best of Times and the Wurst of Times”

Day 10 St. Petersburg – Weirdest Bathroom Trip Ever

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Raining hard when we woke up, so no sunrise. This is the sunset as we sailed out of the harbor leaving St. Petersburg.

We have a gorgeous view from our room; we overlook the flat roof of the immigration building.  As the wind blew and the rain poured, I admired the way the waves of water seemed to dance on the tar paper roofline.  Ahhhhhh, the day looks like an adventure.

Our call time for the excursion was even earlier this morning.  We had to report at 7:00 a.m. for another ten hour guided mass sojourn to the summer palace of Catherine the Great.  Ellie is feeling a bit better, but definitely moody.   More than a bit of teen attitude.  Grumpy, I mean Grampy, would rather have a case of jock itch than get up to stand outside a palace in the rain, but he gamely agrees to go.

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Days 9 St. Petersburg, Russia – Going for the Gold

The early morning skies were misting and cool as we came into St. Petersburg.  I had missed sunrise, but I’m not sure there would have been much to see.  As I was hanging over the railing looking through the misting fog, the building complex above appeared in the middle of the bay.  I have no idea what it was, but believe me it was spooky dooky.  These were large buildings, and they appeared to be on ground, but it was smack in the middle of the bay.  The abandoned, derelict concrete buildings on either end  had a fair sized pond between them, and the whole thing was ringed with a low concrete wall.  A narrow opening (see above) went into the pond.  Definitely not large enough for anything military (so no dead Russian sailor ghosts), but perhaps something for fishing?  Very perplexing and it lent a definite air of mystery into our trip.  If anyone has an idea what this was – let me know!

We have a two day visit to St. Petersburg.  Visas are not required for cruisers, but it also means we have to stay with a government sanctioned guide.  This is not only expensive, but our time is just not our own.  No wandering around town seeing the sights on our own.  We could have purchased visas, of course, but the added expense for two days didn’t seem worth it.

Continue reading “Days 9 St. Petersburg, Russia – Going for the Gold”

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 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.

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