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.

Continue reading “Day 10 St. Petersburg – Weirdest Bathroom Trip Ever”

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!”