Saturday, August 30, 2008
Amy/Jason not only brought Parker and Missy home, they brought supper makings and welcomed us home with steaks on the grill...yummmm...good home cooking for a change. And good sugar from the two wee boys for dessert. Haley and Macey stopped by before picking up Ansley from dance class...and Brian arrived home for the weekend. Life is soooo good!!! I am happiest when I have all my 'chicks' around me.
Dick spent a couple of hours this morning trying to get the harbor symphony uploaded to both Windows Live Photo Gallery and onto youtube, but the file is too big for either. Bugger. If anyone has any other suggestions, please let me know!!! Now back to the stack of mail........
Friday, August 29, 2008
It has been a fun trip...the weather has mostly cooperated...but it is definitely time for home and family. We've missed everyone...plus Sunday is christening day for our newest grandson and a celebration afterward. I'm sure there'll be pictures to follow. Ya think???
Ray, I am sorry the CD of the "Harbor Symphony" didn't load onto Bob's computer. We'll get it uploaded when we get home and get it posted on the website, so check back in a few days, OK? We have enjoyed listening to Bob the Pianoman play the piano and sing and entertain us. He is a hoot, as we say in the south!
Ciao, y'all! Later from Mayberry...............
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We also toured on 'the Hopper' when we were here in Halifax (correct city), and visited the cemetery where many Titanic victims are buried. This is a beautiful city, with much to see and do. One day is simply not enough! Tomorrow begins another sea day, our final one on this cruise. We'll enjoy it immensely!
Good rainy morning from Halifax, where we are ship bound for the day. We certainly have been blessed with good weather for most of this cruise, so we are not complaining at all...at least I had pre-posted the pictures above for your viewing pleasure. Pity the folks who are out on wet tours.
Much speculation about the surprise from last night, so I’ll first give the assurance that NO, I am not pregnant, and NO, there was no big win in the casino. What happened is all because of this blog thingy!
Event Manger Julie stopped me in the dining room and said that her PARENTS found my blog and have enjoyed reading it every day, and were sending us a bottle of wine to our table out of appreciation for helping them stay informed on this voyage! Now how cool is that?!!! All because of this blog thingy...my oh my.
I remember meeting Julie on our first visit to the Digital Workshop when she arrived to fill in when Tricia had to briefly leave the room. We had a nice chat then about blogs, cruises, etc., and have seen her around the ship many times, always busy, but always smiling..........she has a demanding job for sure. Julie included with the wine a nice letter of thanks on behalf of her parents...what a good daughter she is! Our thanks to Julie’s parents for the perfect bottle of wine...it was both our favorite color (red) and one of our very favorite brands! That was such a thoughtful gesture, and we do appreciate it. Please leave me a comment on the blog, OK? I’m trying to hook up with Julie to get a photo of her to post, but she is off working, dang it, so that’ll have to wait...but I’ll make it happen!
And I had another new blog connection...Ray, the brother of Bob the piano man, asking for my copy of the "Harbor Symphony!" Bob sez HI to Ray, BTW. I just got off the phone with him. I think we’ll be able to download the video to Bob’s computer, but if not, we can certainly take care of posting it when we get home and you can snag it for yourself. And Bob is hoping to get a ‘real’ copy of the symphony from the composer. Not to worry...it’ll happen and I’ll post about it.
It is funny how the blog world has rapidly grown in the almost year that I have been posting. I began this blog only to share with family/friends so they could keep up with us when we are off on our many travels. It has now grown to include ‘meeting’ folks from all corners of the world, and we love doing that...in the real and online. Thanks for the comments...Bee, I am soooo glad you now have your iphone. I’ll check it out next week, so get good at it by then! I see one in my future. Sarge, I am enjoying your take on the convention! Keep it up! :-)
Leave me comments...I do read/respond to them...let me know what I’m missing from your corner of the world. Lois, I loved seeing all the old wedding stuff on your blog...very special! Comedy Sandee, I miss your daily chuckles and thank you for your comments, along with Loving Annie and Dong in the Philippines and Becky in Zurich.......AK family cruise? Sounds good to us, Amy! Life’s short; make fun of it...go cruising! Enjoy your day.....
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sleep well...sweet dreamns....life is good on the High Seas!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Performance by the flautist last night was great, as were the HALCats and David later on in the lounge. The onboard daily entertainment leaves a lot to be desired, unless you like bingo and the marriage game...not! Thank goodness for the digital workshop, books and naps.
Bonjour! Today we are in foggy France...I’ll bet you didn’t know it was so close to Canada!
These tiny islands comprise a speck of French territory located in the middle of Atlantic Canada. It was first settled by the French fishing fleet in the 1500s, and for some reason, the British never bothered claiming these islands during their colonial conquest of North America. I'm sure the Brits won't be getting this land back either, although the Portuguese actually got there first but lost it to the French.
This was a very popular place during our Prohibition era. Canadian distilleries legally exported their products here, and then the rumrunners picked it up and ran it south to the US. How 'bout that!
Of course with the fog, we can't see diddly right now, although we had about a one-mile visibility when we docked this morning at 8a local time. The pier is only 300' long, which is way too short for the Eurodam, so folks are going ashore by tenders, two by two. Not people, tenders are going in tandem for safety in this now very soupy fog. We can't even see the island off shore about one-half mile that we could see earlier. And the tenders are waaaay backed up trying to get folks on shore, so we are waiting to see if the weather clears up. If it doesn't clear, we'll probably stay onboard, as it won't be much fun trying to sightsee when we can't SEE!
We haven't had CNN/BBC news in awhile. Dick said they probably forgot to include satellite receivers for this side of the world. Well, it is not that...I found out through a very reliable source this morning that the receivers are onboard, someone just forgot to activate them (meaning: they don't have the local card to insert in it!). Helllloooo...didn't someone look at a calendar and realize the Eurodam was gonna be out of Europe and the use of their receivers from over there...and would be in North America in late August??? Just askin'. This is definitely still a shake-down cruise...let me count the ways......!
Later...life is still good!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
The very best of wishes today as Lala and Aero get married (Bee & Charlie’s g/dtr). May you have a long and happy life together. Cyber hugs and God’s blessings to you both.
Tonight is formal night, and neither of us is in the mood for getting all gussied up, so we’ll enjoy a casual dinner up on the Lido deck for a change. We need to inform our (great) waiter. Our entertainer tonight is Sally Jones (never heard of her), who has a background in musical theatre. The write-up states that it will be an ‘exciting evening of great music, theatre and laughter.’ I’m all for that. Tell me what you are doing tonight, OK? Cheers...and go check out our Prince Christian Sound pics from yesterday at ivylog.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Fall is falling in Podunk/Mayberry already...normal for August that some leaves begin to change color, despite the still warm temps there. We'll be there one week from today. Time is flying.
Our tablemates...one couple from Seattle, one from Victoria (Canada), and one from Las Vegas. We had a lovely couple from London for one night only, darn it! He is a London taxi driver, so he had marvelous stories to tell us. Our waiter and helper are both wonderful, as are so many of the crew.
Hmmm, we are slowing down...the captain idles the engine when we go through a clump of ice so that the prop doesn't have to act as an ice crusher. Dick just went out to take some more pictures. No, this is NOT the Titanic, so don't worry. OK, we are moving again and it is foggy outside. Dick is back; we were actually making a L-hand turn, so we weren't stopped, just turning a little bit. Don't you like this minute-by-minute account of happenings? hehe We are hoping the sun will come out and burn this fog off, but regardless, we'll upload pictures later on, so be sure to check out our photo gallery and leave us a comment here or over there... http://www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com/ or check out Dick's pics at http://www.ivylog1.spaces.live.com/. Having fun in the fog! Tell Parker to behave...hugs, y'all!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Good morning from our sea day! Dick is busy uploading photos in class, so he'll have some new ones to post. I plan to walk around and take more ship pictures, so I'll have some new ones for later on today.
We offloaded our previous entertainers in Iceland and took on new ones. Tonight we'll be entertained by a Nat King Cole kinda guy. We'll spend the afternoon reading, maybe even taking a nap. Whew...what a hectic pace! Wish y'all were here. What are y'all doing on your Thursday?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Hey, y'all! Sunny and chilly here in Iceland, as expected. We did the Hop on/Hop off bus again, which is a good, inexpensive way to see a city. Most of the apartment buildings are ‘60ish vintage (translation: not very exciting), with a few modern office buildings thrown in here and there. We passed their airport, which is a rather busy one, with lots of small aircraft doing training flights, which is always interesting to us as pilots. The large church downtown is undergoing restoration of some sort, even though it isn’t old, so we didn’t get to go inside. This is not a port to be revisited, in our humble opinion, given that there are so many other places we want to see!
Blogger Evil Crew Judy...how nice to get a comment from you! Yes, I do remember you and hate that our paths will almost cross in NYC. We will definitely be gone by the time y’all come onboard that day, since we have a noon flight home. We’ll leave the Eurodam in your capable hands to explore and enjoy. We have three consecutive sea days beginning tomorrow, so I’ll be posting some ship pictures that you can check out...and leave me a comment. BTW, take the digital workshop and bring a laptop with Windows Live Photo Gallery uploaded onto it (it is a free program from Microsoft). The class uses that program and you can learn and upload pictures for FREE using their satellite. Check out my cruise photos at www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com and Dick’s at www.ivylog1.spaces.live.com . We try to upload pictures every day, now that we sorta know what we are doing! Leave me a comment, OK? All of you!!!
Lots of rumors flying about the ship on the missing Mr. X from yesterday. He is apparently traveling with his sister, so there isn’t a Mrs. X who will be making him walk the plank for being found in a room not his own, and not alone! And yes, Brian, Dad would be an ‘ex’ if he had been that now infamous Mr. X...and he would be a high tenor and useless, guaranteed, bless his heart! But he would never be in that situation just on morals alone. He was raised right. And it was certainly a humanitarian gesture to turn around and go looking for this inconsiderate clod, just in case he had fallen overboard...then the family couldn't say that the Eurodam captain didn't at least TRY to find him in the water!
It is so good reading all your comments. I do miss reading my daily fave blogs, so please keep telling me what is going with each of you. Later, y’all! Life is good...go cruising!!!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
It was definitely NOT a good morning beginning early today on our sea day, but all is now well. We were awakened at 6:15 by the captain announcing that he was looking for Mr. X in room xxxx. This was followed by yet another announcement 15 minutes later, and yet another 30 minutes later, stating that we had turned around and the crew was conducting a room-by-room search. Apparently this idiot went missing at 4a, and has now just been found. The ship is in the process of doing another 180 to get us in the correct direction toward Iceland, recalculating time/distance/speed to meet our docking time. Certainly not a good way to begin any day, but this will hopefully be a good drill for crew training. At least there is better visibility now than we had yesterday, but it would be doubtful anyone could survive long in this cold water, had he actually fallen overboard. Mrs. X may make Mr. X wish he had gone swimming! Bugger...he’s got lots of ‘splaining to do!!!
Hello from the Crow’s Nest...we’ve been awake long enough now that it is time to go eat breakfast and begin to enjoy our sea day. Sarge, the magician was definitely a funny guy, and I’ll bet MagicMatt can learn his rope tricks, if he doesn’t know how to already. He popped the rope and tied knots in it; cut it, tied it back together, moved the knot, and wound up with a whole rope again. We entertain easily, you can see. Tonight is formal night (yippy skippy); there is a variety show, with each of the previous entertainers doing a mini-routine. In the meantime, we’ll be reading, eating, going to digital class, and did I mention reading? Hope everyone has a fun day. Y’all leave me a comment and tell me what’s going on...I love hearing from you, even you lurkers. Come on, leave me a comment.......it’s easy.....! By the way, this does look like our stateroom, however ours is actually reversed. Nice, huh?
Monday, August 18, 2008
Hello! Our day began with sun on the sea for a short while, but overcast skies greeted us as we docked at noon here in Thorshavn, then the fog moved in. Big time. A local ferry boat was leaving port when we arrived, so of course that captain and our captain had to say ‘howdy’ to each other...with their massive horns! This was no small ferry, as it is a long way between islands/countries out here, with the North Sea being on the E side of this island group, and the big Atlantic on the other side. Ferries need to be large enough to accommodate vehicles, as well as have cabins for overnight sleeping. We sailed 18 hours from Bergen to get here, passing many North Sea oil platforms enroute, so that gives you an idea of how much distance we’ve covered!
The fog hardly lifted after lunch, but this was our only chance to go ashore and have a look, so we did. We snapped a few pics, then it was back to the ship, grab our books, and head to the Crow’s Nest for some serious reading. Tonight’s entertainer is Jeff Moche, billed as a ‘comedy magician.’ We’ll see if he can entertain us as well as Sarge Charlie does. Tomorrow is a sea day. Life is good, but we miss our familyand friends!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
We are again docked within walking distance of town, so that is what we did after breakfast, coming upon a cute tram that did a 50 minute tour up the hillside, complete with a photo op at the top. Some of the old houses alongside the pier look as if they are holding each other up, but they have been doing this for a number of years and are not likely to fall down just yet. There was an unfortunate fire in one old building on the square that happened during the course of our tram ride. We were greeted with fire trucks watering down the top floor when we arrived back at the pier. Pics will be posted later on at www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com if you want to see them. We enjoyed our walkabout. Jeff said Bergen is a neat city, and he was correct on that. Bergen is worth seeing.
Haley asked if we liked Scandinavia, and is it worth visiting. The answer is yes...it is worth visiting. It is a beautiful area for both months of summer! It is incredibly expensive, especially now with our dollar worth half of what it was two-three years ago. Russia won’t see us ever again, and probably none of the other Baltic countries either...with the exception of CPH because of Jeff/Bjarne, of course! Not because we didn’t like the area, but because there are several more places on our ‘bucket list’ that we want to visit before we would consider a return trip here. Traveling by cruise ship is definitely a PLUS for this location.
Bee, we have new tablemates of course, and this one couple from Las Vegas both have iPhones and love them! Sorry to hear you still haven’t been able to get one...do you have one ordered?
We move our clocks back an hour tonight as we begin cruising toward the west. Our next port is another part of Denmark (Faroe Island), followed by a sea day and a definite westerly heading toward home. There is still lots of adventure ahead of us, onboard and off ship in the coming days. I’m happy to read the comments that y’all are enjoying the cruise along with us. Please let me know what you think! These are 'canned' photos...I think you'll like mine better.......Dick and I are in class playing right now!!!!!!!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Oslo boasts lots of museums......
Hi as we leave Oslo...
First of all, I want to say THANKS to Jeff and Bjarne for being super hosts in CPE yesterday! Jeff picked us up from the ship in their VW Lupo, then we headed N to pick up Bjarne from the school where he teaches and promptly headed to Vejby (no, they do NOT pronounce it ‘veg be,’ but that is how it looks to us!) where we inspected a few changes they’ve made to the summer house, took several photos (check out the ivlog2 blog) and then traveled to Gilleleje for a nice seafood lunch by water (there is a pattern here folks!). Our travels then continued south along the coast to view Kronborg Castle, Shakespear’s setting for "Hamlet," in Helsingor and a stop at a lovely beach. This is apparently the same route that Brian took on his bike from the summer house back to CPH last summer. Whew, that was a lot of peddling!
Today, we got on an Oslo Vision hop on/hop off bus that took us on a tour of the city for a good overview. After lunch, we got back on the bus and got off at Vigeland Sculpture Park where we saw all the beautiful sculptures before hopping back on the bus for a stop at the Norsk Sjofartmuseum, which is the Norwejian Maritime Museum.
We enjoyed a walk from City Hall back to the ship...and plan to upload today’s pics at the workshop tonight. Check them out if you want to at http://www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com/ later on tonight...or whenever! The photo albums will be continually changing as we learn and do more in class. And Dick’s photos can be reached using the same address, only use a "1" in place of the "2". Simple.
Miss Bee, I am happy to hear of the wedding on the 23rd! I’ll definitely lift a toast to Lala and Aero on that date!!! Sure hope he is feeling better. Life is GOOD!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Hello from now rainy Arhus! It was cool and beautiful for our warm, local welcome this morning, however the rain is now 'bucketing down,' so Dick and I played in the digital workshop. We went ashore after lunch and walked around Old Town. I now have a better picture of the 'canned' one above.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Update on these canned photos...this is the hotel made famous by Michael Jackson dangling his baby from the balcony. This is by the Brandenburg Gate, which is the second photo...
And this is the German Parliament building....
Of course, this is Checkpoint Charlie...
The Holocaust Memorial....in memory of the 7 mil Jews killed....Parliament building in the background...
Dick and I are 'playing' in the digital workshop right now. We've uploaded some pictures, and have many more to upload. Check them out and leave us comments at... www.ivylog1.spaces.live.com for Dick---mine is www.ivylog2.spaces.live.com That should work, if not, let me know and I'll ask our instructor for more assistance!!! Later, gator..........
Monday, August 11, 2008
Our sea day dawned far too bright today...good morning from the Baltic Sea...I awoke with a monster headache, no, not from too much wine. I was just overdue for such a happening and today was the time and it made me miss the Walk on Deck for the Cure, which I had wanted to do. That’s life for you; it respects no calendar, but I am happy it happened today rather than for our train trip to Berlin tomorrow.
Our entertainment last night was provided by guitarist Dr. Justin Miller. He did a special, one-time performance today at 3p, unplugged and alone. Last night the performance included the HALCats and the Adagio Strings (four talented ladies)...magnificent! He played everything from Bach to rock on his guitars and mandolin!!! Today he discussed Rogers & Hammerstein, Bing Crosby, Johnnie Mercer, etc., and the stories behind some of the people and pieces. Of course this interferes with one of the digital workshops we want to attend, but there will be more of those in the coming days. Speaking of, this is an overview of the rest of our itinerary, with times representing time in port:
8/12 Train trip to Berlin - 6a-11p
8/13 Arhus, Denmark - 10a-7p
8/14 Copenhagen, DK - 7a-5p
8/15 Oslo, Norway - 9a-5p
8/16 Stavanger, Norway - noon-7p
8/17 Bergen, Norway - 8a-5p
8/18 Torshavn, Faroe Islands, DK - noon-7p
8/19 At sea
8/20 Reykjavik, Iceland - 8a-5p
8/21-23 At sea
8/24 St. John’s, NF, Canada - 10a-6p
8/25 St. Pierre, France - 8a-5p
8/26 Sydney, Canada - 8a-5p
8/27 Halifax, Canada - 8a-5p
8/28 At sea
8/29 NYC and home!
I’m enjoying reading your comments, so please keep doing so...let me know what is happening with you! Hugs, y’all!!!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
More on Stockholm later... I have been asked to tell y’all a little about the ship. Of course if you’ve been reading from the beginning of our trip, you know that we are onboard the brand new Holland America Eurodam. We are on the port side of the ship in a nice cabin that has a balcony with two chairs on it. We have been pretty busy, so we haven’t spent any time sitting out there yet, but we do go outside quite a bit and check out the scenery and take pictures of the docks. There will be a pic posted so y’all can see it. More on that later.
The food is excellent, and the dining room staff is very accommodating; everyone is friendly. The entertainment is outstanding...we both love the band; the nightly shows are Las Vegas quality, with high-energy, talented dancers and singers. Carnival Corp. leads the industry in stage, lighting, scenery, etc., in our humble opinion. We’ve enjoyed Bob at the piano bar the past couple of nights...Beatles/Buffet one night; ‘50s and ‘60s music another night, all sing alongs. Bob has been hard to stump! As mentioned before, we are very fond of the decor of the Eurodam. It is decorated with good taste, with no need to explain the theme as some ships need to do. We would definitely sail on this ship again.
Our fave crew member is our digital workshop instructor, Trisha. She is funny, knowledgeable, and full of energy. Even Dick went to her blogging class with me Saturday, and he set up a blog and uploaded some pictures of our trip. Can you believe that?!!! We’ll see how that goes and work on some fine tuning. Today we both attended the Movie Making class...and can’t wait to apply what we’ve learned!
Oh yes, we enjoyed Helsinki...everyone was friendly...a welcome change from St. Petersburg. We rode on the London double-decker bus for a two-hour tour of the city, with a nice stop at the Church of the Rock, a very unusual Lutheran church that is aptly named. We got off the bus at the Helsinki Cathedral and walked through the park back to our shuttle bus that took us back to the boat.
And today in Stockholm, we woke up to sunny skies for our shuttle bus ride to the center of town. We took a scenic boat tour (go figure), complete with headsets with a choice of Swedish or English translations to tell us what we were seeing along the shorelines. Stockholm is another big but beautiful city filled with interesting architecture and friendly folks. Clouds are moving in, so our departure later on may be a bit wet. We’ve been very lucky with the weather.
Monday is a sea day, so we’ll attend more workshops, I’ll take care of a little RV park stuff I need to do, and give myself a pedicure. Ah, the good life! Thanks to all of you who have left comments. They are automatically emailed to me so that I can download them onto my laptop every day when I go online. I read EVERY comment...and miss visiting all my fave blogs. I hope y’all are behaving! Let me know what’s going on with you!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Our Friday morning in St. Pete greeted us with liquid sunshine on the day we were to take a river cruise. A river cruise when you are on a cruise ship you ask? Yes, of all the choices offered in St. Pete, the Thursday panoramic tour and a local river tour on Friday were Dick’s picks...the Hermitage and palaces can be seen on the Internet, while seeing the sights on a small boat gives us more of a local flavor (his rationale), even in the rain. Our guide, Ms Lovedthemicrophonesky, gave us entirely too much history, and not enough details about what we were actually passing while on the tour bus. I know there are history buffs out there, but Americans aren’t good at remembering their own history, much less care about hearing about all the begats, dethroning, coups, etc., from another country! Just sayin’. It was still sprinkling, so we mostly sat inside, but Dick did go outside to take a few pics and videos. We’ll have to figure out how to post the videos...later! We stopped at Yusupob Palace (this guy was almost as rich as the Czar of his time) but after going inside and checking out how crowded it was, and ALL jackets/bags had to be checked at the cloakroom (I’m sorry, it should be our CHOICE to do this, not be FORCED to check stuff), well....we opted to go outside and look at the waterway and then sit on the not crowded bus...although we were joined by others of a like mind.
St. Petersburg is an interesting city (is that polite?), comprised of many islands, linked by dozens of bridges over the many canals. The port where we are docked is a very busy, industrial port, with dozens of cranes lining both sides of it. Dick’s observation was that ‘our’ side only loads 20' truck containers, while across the waterway, there are stacks of 40' truck containers waiting for loading. There are also many pallets of flat steel sitting outside, as well as huge rolls of steel that we’ve watched being loaded onto ships.
We have heard our two tour guides label St. Petersburg as "the Venice of the North," however we have visited the ‘real’ Venice many times and there is only a slight similarity between the two...they both have canals and bridges! Dick sez that Russia is not a third-world country; maybe just a second-world one! They certainly do not roll out the welcome mat for the cruise ships, but maybe they’ll eventually learn to do that to entice more tourists to come here. We heard a few folks complaining about getting through customs getting back onboard the previous evening, something that is totally out of control of the cruise ships. Our Friday experience was a quick in/out through customs. The slowdown occurred going through the X-ray machines onboard our ship. We did not pull out on time, however, it was only a relatively short trip to Helsinki, so that wasn’t a problem. The Jewel of the Seas pulled out right ahead of us. Hmmm, I wonder if we’ll be docked together at our next port? In watching CNN as we awaited departure, with the current aggression by Russia in Georgia, cruise ships may need to rethink visiting here. The travelingbells do not need to come back here, and that decision was made even before hearing this latest news. At least our departure was under sunny skies...and we begin moving our clocks back an hour tonight! And a very big HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to our park manager, Mary Lou! We couldn’t be traveling without her and Chuck! We’ll celebrate the occasion when we get back home....OK, now to go get cleaned up for 'formal night.'
Friday, August 8, 2008
Hello from St. Petersburg, Russia, NOT Florida! Disembarking wasn’t too bad yesterday morning...slight mix up in the colored stickers for the buses, but that got fixed. Ours being the 4 hr. bus tour, we were the last to leave...and we heard the dumbest question asked of the shore ex manager–‘why are we last?’ Surely the manager wanted to inform the guest that it was because he looked around the audience, picked this particular idiot out, and decided...let’s make HIM board last! Heelllllooo...what part of common sense don’t you realize? Get the buses with the longest route out FIRST, and the ones with the shortest route out LAST. What a concept!!! With great patience the manager said just that...the buses taking an 8-9 hour tour go out FIRST, and the four-hour tour goes out last. Heeeere’s your sign, boys and girls! Unfortunately, this guy was not a foreigner and couldn’t use a language barrier as an excuse for stupidity. Oh well...
We saw many beautiful buildings on our drive this morning, and many that were not as pleasing to the eye, but that is OK. We learned a bit of history from our guide, Ms Nevertakeabreathski. She was easy to understand, but gave us far too many specific dates and facts that no one is interested in learning, much less remembering. A bit more generalization would be a better way to go. Just sayin’. We did stop and tour the Peter and Paul Fortress, which is a not a fortress as we would label it–it is more of a compound of buildings, grouped together–not walled off as I would consider a true fortress. The main feature is the cathedral where St. Alexander is interred in a beautiful crypt next to his wife, equally beautifully interred. The Russian Mint is located across the plaza. Of course we had one couple to be 15 minutes late boarding...they apparently couldn’t move fast and lost sight of the group:-)
We did stop at a (as opposed to "the") Hermitage souvenir shop...again we were bad tourists, but I did get some neat shots of boats going under the bridge. St. Pete is comprised of many islands connected by dozens of bridges, so it is an interesting city from that standpoint alone.
Tomorrow we take a river tour...go from a cruise ship to a boat and go on a river? Yes, that is what Dick chose, so we are doing just that. Stay tuned....
And a big happy birthday to nephew Jason today!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We did the 15 minute walk into the old town after lunch. I put up a sample blog Tuesday, with two of 21 stock HAL pics that the class was using for practice. I was unable to get online during the day in Tallinn:-( They had problems with the system, so I couldn’t upload Tallinn pics to the new blog that I set up in class.
Back to Tallinn...this is an old, walled city comprised of Russian, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Estonians. It is a highly educated society due to the accessibility of higher education. We walked up the many steps to reach an upper level of old town that afforded a great view of the dock. We wound our way back through a lovely open square and walked down a narrow lane, rather than walk back down the steps! There are some charming buildings and churches here, and lots of souvenir shops, although we were not tempted to purchase anything. Bad tourists!
After our two-hour walk, we were happy to be back relaxing and reading in our room...and looking at the scenery -- we were docked right across from the Norwegian Jewel, the ship we were on with friends Mike/Jennie last September from Istanbul to Athens! Parked next to her was RCI’s Jewel of the Seas. That particular ship we’ve never been on. They both left port an hour earlier than we did, and the Eurodam overtook them!
There is a band from Australia that we discovered and are enjoying after dinner each night, with a classical string quartet playing before dinner, so we are getting a good mix of music.
Thursday and Friday we’ll be in St. Petersburg, which should be interesting. How are you enjoying the trip? Let me know! Comments will be emailed to me so that I can read them offline, so please leave your comments. I love reading them. Enjoy the pictures I found ahead of time...we may not have internet service while here.......:-(
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Happy birthday today to sister Nan! Hope you have a terrific day...I hope you are reading the blog to know that I'm sending you this greeting...listen real carefully and you'll hear a duet from Mother and me singing "Happy Birthday" to you today...xoxoxo