Page 2 of Laura421 Travel Blog Posts


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow September 22nd 2018

St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia. What gems it holds for its people and for us visitors! This tour has crammed in so many activities, museums, palaces, magnificent royal residences that I will definitely look to travel with Trafalgar again. To name only a few: we've been to the Hermitage, St. Isaac's Cathedral, summer and winter residences, everywhere that is listed as a highlight or as a must-see. On our last morning in St. Petersburg, before boarding the high speed train to Moscow, we took a boat cruise on the canals to get another perspective on the "Venice of the North." One very funny thing that happened while we were cruising was as our boat was ready to pass under one of the many canal bridges we saw a man standing in the middle ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 19th 2018

This is our third and final night in St. Petersburg. Our days have been chockfull of activities, our tour trying to cram as much in our three days here as possible. Monday night I slept for four hours straight, and that turned out to be it, my third night in a row without adequate sleep. So on Tuesday I lasted until mid-afternoon, and then had the very unusual (for me) experience of feeling tired. This is a relatively unique occurrence for me, but without enough sleep for several nights even exciting days in a foreign country can feel heavy at times. And on Tuesday we had hardly any down time at all to catch our breath, which is actually the way I prefer to travel. Tuesday morning we visited the Hermitage, Peter the Great's (and other ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 17th 2018

I am in Russia! St. Petersburg, to be specific. It's been a long and eventful twenty-nine hours since I climbed off the plane in Helsinki, Finland yesterday afternoon. Now it is bedtime; I can read the time on my clock, but my body is very confused and quite tired. This time I am travelling with Trafalgar, and so far I am very relieved that everything has been excellent. After Bill's and my less than pleasant trip with Cosmos this summer, I didn't know what to expect with this company and worried a bit that this might be another mistake. But so far all is very well. Much information is given during our bus travels, and the hotels are located perfectly in city centers. There are 47 of us on this tour, filling a whole bus, but ... read more

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm July 17th 2018

Stockholm is lovely. An archipelago of fourteen islands, it is a gorgeous city full of wonderful things to do. We had only one day to explore Sweden's capital city, our last day of this trip. Yesterday afternoon as soon as we arrived at our outlier hotel, Bill and I along with two of our adventurous friends spent time at the front desk figuring out the best way to get into the city. The four of us had wanted to take one of the free walking tours of the Old Town part of Stockholm, Gamla Stan, the original city center, and this tour met at 5:30PM so we hoped we could get there in time. From our hotel it was not a clear run into the city; we had to walk several minutes, then take a bus ... read more

Europe » Norway » Eastern Norway » Lillehammer July 15th 2018

At the point that Bill and I were about to leave this Cosmos tour of Scandinavia, I thought it was only fair that we should talk with our program director to let her know about our dissatisfaction with the lack of information and the non-centrally located hotels offered on this trip. This was not a comfortable thing for me to do. She obviously knew about the hotel locations (and may have picked them herself), but seemed surprised when I mentioned that we had expected frequent commentaries during the bus rides; she said she thought no one was interested since no one was asking questions. We were sitting in the back of the bus, so it wasn't possible for her to hear us at all, but I felt it was up to her as the program director ... read more

Europe » Norway » Western Norway » Bergen July 13th 2018

All in all we spent five nights in Norway, travelling from one side of the country to the other and then back again further north. Our first stop was in Oslo, and then we had part of a morning's respite north of the Telemark area where we had a much too short visit to the Vemork Museum, learning about heavy water and the history of the plant that was blown up in WWII. This is an amazing museum; our young guide, Simon, was an exceptional teacher. Most of our group wanted to spend more time here as those who knew about this plant were fascinated by the information offered, and those of us who hadn't known about heavy water wanted to learn more. But on this tour there was never enough time; we always had to ... read more

Europe » Norway » Southern Norway July 11th 2018

Even though the seeds of desire to travel had been planted in me at a very young age, I wasn't able to start exploring on my own until I was a teenager. This was in the 1960s, a tumultuous time that matched and reflected the internal torments and changes happening within. At the end of weeks of summer camp before heading home, telling my parents I was staying with new friends for awhile (somewhat true), I would go hitchhiking with another adventurous young person and over the years ultimately travelling to many parts of North America in this economic and exciting way. It was relatively safe to hitchhike back then. We Baby Boomers have always been catered to simply because of our numbers; we are an enormous percentage of the population, so it was fairly common ... read more

Europe » Denmark July 8th 2018

Since I was nine years old I have wanted to travel to Norway and other foreign countries. In my 4th grade geography book I got lost in several captivating photos of Norway, and dearly wanted to go and live there myself. Mountains, and snow, fiords and lakes everywhere, smiling tall people with long white-blond hair wearing beautiful knitted wool sweaters, it all captured my imagination and wouldn't let go. I also wanted to see the tulips in Amsterdam, and bike along the canals there, flying by ancient windmills and seeing Dutch families living in windmills and wearing their white cornered hats and wooden shoes. It was such an exciting and exotic world to see, but I was stuck in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with only my feet and streetcars to take me anywhere, if I was even allowed ... read more


The shuttle from our B&B in Montego Bay met us at the airport (where our bus from Kingston had let us off), deposited us at our hotel, and promptly disappeared. Once we were ensconced we wanted to go exploring, and we needed food and water. Learning that the beach/town shuttle only ran twice each day, and that we had missed the last run, we wondered how we were to get into town, given that everyone said it was too far to walk. The lovely woman at the front desk spoke with another employee who was finishing her work for the day, and asked her if she would show us where to catch a taxi into town. Andrea was willing, and the three of us walked down the hill and waited until the right taxi came by. ... read more


Yesterday was the solstice. In about two weeks Maine will start to lose minutes of daylight, declining over an hour by the end of July, losing almost two hours from peak daylight by the end of August. It's a very quick, steep decline in northern New England, a fast slide from long, easy, warm summer days towards our bitterly cold, snow-filled, very long lasting winters. Here in the Caribbean the daylight doesn't change much with the seasons, and it is no surprise that it is consistently hot in summer. But in Jamaica AC is everywhere, making life much more comfortable, although, as in the US, it is frequently turned on much too cold! I like what I've seen of Jamaica so far, but I am tired of waiting for and riding in city busses. In the ... read more




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