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.

This cruise has had an ambitious number of ports, and we are pooped.  Laying by the pool for hours, sipping on drinks with umbrellas, has never been my idea of fun.  But now is a great chance to lay back and recover.  George and I found a reclining couch for two and snoozed/read the morning away.   I did get some activity by participating in the World Wildlife Fund fundraiser walk.  And I got a nifty t-shirt to prove I did it!

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Everyone was trying to enjoy the last ship days. We had one of the bed couches on the right side. It was lovely.

The pool and buffet are only one floor apart, so we had lunch there.  I think the entire ship was there that day!  It was like people realized they only had two days to eat everything in site before going home.  It was crazy!

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Well, I still had my winning voucher from the casino.  I had no illusions about taking home a jackpot, but here is my chance to have some more fun pushing a little button repeatedly.  No surprise, but a few hours later and I have a grand total of .18 cents.  I save the voucher as the memory of a very good time.  It was hours of fun during the past two weeks on my $20.  I could easily spend that much on a meal, and would go home with some extra lumps of cellulite on my thighs.  I think I came out ahead!

Not wanting to miss out on an educational experience, I attended an interesting lecture on Rasputin, the religious healer of the hemophiliac son of the last czar of Russia.  It was so good that I stayed for another lecture on 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ship Life for the Crew – which was fun, as well.  I missed the bingo, karaoke, scrapbooking, choir and dancing lessons.  That’ the trouble with these ships – there’s nothing to do!

This is the first trip that we haven’t killed ourselves eating in the specialty restaurants.  Of course, we had a lot fewer sea days; after a long day trekking around a new port, it is a lot of effort to come back and get mentally geared up for a new culinary adventure.  We usually try to get some great food on shore, and I’m happy with that.  The specialty restaurants, however, are really good.  George loves his spaghetti and meatballs and I had nixed all the Italian restaurants in the ports.  Which made me feel guilty….so on the last night we decided to hit his favorite place – The Tuscan Grill.

This restaurant has the best real estate on the ship.  It is located close to the water level at the back of the ship.  The view is amazing.  We were too early for gob-stopping sunset photos, but it was still beautiful.

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It’s pretty difficult to pass on fresh, homemade pasta.  So I didn’t!  Ordered as a side dish, the portion was about a hefty cup, and really tasty.  It was also dotted with butter, okay more realistically floating, and delicious.  George went for his favorite, spaghetti and meatballs and Ellie attacked a fillet mignon.  I opted for sea bass on a bed of spinach.

Before you think I did a fairly good job of healthy choices, I cannot tell a lie.  I also had  bread dipped in olive oil and fresh oregano.  And did I mention the deep fried calamari appetizer?  The glutton gods froze my camera clicking finger and brain – so I forgot to take pictures of the bread and appetizers.  Wine?  Oh yes, a lovely sauvignon blanc.

Yes, the calorie/point calculator  was spinning wildly (my slot machine should have spun this fast) – so let’s go ahead and add the homemade limoncello and dessert.  Ever virtuous, I passed on the tiramisu and went with the mango sorbet.  Truth is I would have thrown up if I had eaten the tiramisu, but I managed to lick down the sorbet.

Waddling back to our room, we were too full to go to the last show, which I felt really bad about.  The entertainment is top notch, and I hated to miss it.

The one sour note came when I was packing our bags.  The luggage has to be packed and set out in the hallway by 10 pm the evening before we disembark.  Nothing makes you know the fantasy is coming to an end quicker than seeing all the luggage sitting in the hallways.

I freely admit that I am compulsive, and prefer not to have help packing the bags.  George is happy to grab an armful of clothes, toss them in and shut it up.  I use packing cubes (wonderful invention), and everything is sorted and organized.  No, I don’t have a table of contents to reference each item, but it is a good idea.

While emptying out the drawers, I stubbed my big toe on the couch.  Of course, I hit it just right and it ripped the top of the nail off.  Well, not quite off – it was hanging there, attached on one side, bleeding and throbbing.  It hurt so much that I forgot to use curse words.  I just went “Oh” and looked at it in disbelief.

The good news is that I didn’t do it on the first day of the trip.  It would have been a major inconvenience, not to mention painful experience.  This way, I just got to limp with a tragic martyred look on my face for the last day.   It also gave me an excuse to drink more wine at the Tuscan Grill.  Pain relief, right?

It did take the wind out of my enthusiasm to roam the boat.  I make a vow to not take the elevator.  Stairs are great exercise and also a food deterrent.  If you have to climb seven flights of stairs to get to the buffet, you think twice about it.  But limping up the 95 stairs to the Oceanview Cafe was more of a challenge than I could attempt.  I still took the stairs, but stayed within a floor or two of our room.

We leave the ship at 7:15 a.m. and take a shuttle to the airport.  I can’t believe it is over.  George is happy to leave, Ellie can’t wait to see her friends, and I’m going to have to be pried off the ship’s rail.  I truly love my job, love my life, and would love to stay on this cruise and do it all over again.

 

 

 

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”