Sharon Mock Whitaker and Valerie Mock

RamblingRosies

Sharon Mock Whitaker and Valerie Mock

We are sisters who began our love of travel with our parents when we were in grammar school. We grew up in Northern California and had traveled most of the Western States and Mexico before the 8th grade. Sharon traveled to Europe the first time when she graduated from high school to be a Girl Scout camp counselor and Valerie lived in Europe 7 years teaching the US military community at the graduate level. We rarely take a tour and usually travel on a low budget, by car, plane, and train. We have recently both retired and Sharon bought a Roadtrek RV, that we named Rosie II after our parent's "Rosie (Rambling)" that they drove to the Panama Canal from San Francisco and all around the US. You may see some of our non-Rosie II travels here, but we will be using this space to keep family and friends informed about our journeys. We hope you enjoy traveling with us.

More videos will be posted on our YouTube Channel: Rambling Rosies.



Europe » Iceland » North » Akureyri June 12th 2014

Akureyri, Iceland--Tuesday, June 10th We were up really early this morning as we were told there was a possibility of seeing whales as we navigated the fjords into port. Unfortunately, we saw heavy, thick fog, which made it pretty impossible to see anything. When it cleared, we could view the lovely snow topped mountain sides of the fjord and admire the occasional farmstead where there was any flat land to build anything on. I don’t know how long this fjord is but it took quite a long time to get into port. As soon as we were cleared to get off, we left the ship expecting to board a bus to take us to our boat to start our Whale Watching tour. Instead we found that we were expected to walk 5-6 blocks to the tour ... read more
1406-114 Entering the fjord in the fog
1406-116 A small fishing boat making its way up the coast
1406-117 Akureyi from the top deck--visitor's center in middle

Europe » Iceland » Northwest » Ísafjördur June 9th 2014

Isafjordur, Iceland--Monday, June 9th Before we left home for this cruise, we googled around to learn about the next two communities in Iceland we were to visit. This community is located on the west coast and the other, for our visit tomorrow, is located on the far north coast of Iceland. Isafjordur we learned was very tiny, with a population of about 2,600. It is the largest town on the peninsula of Westfjords and is located on a spit of sand, in the Skutulsfjorour fjord that meets the waters of the larger Isafjaroardjup fjord. Think you can pronounce these names?? We sure can’t. Anyway, the maps of the place showed that the cruise ship docked close to the village and we could walk a few blocks and be in the midst of it so, we didn’t ... read more
1406-86 MV Explorer in port
1406-87 Fish farming cages waiting to be deployed
1406-88 Maritime museum

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík June 8th 2014

Reykjavik, Iceland--Sunday, June 8th Sailing into Icelandic waters early this morning, we passed a number of volcanic islands that were squared off at the top like a table. The volcanoes have essentially risen from the sea, spewed their stuff out over their sides, and then blown their tops off and folded into themselves. One island is still active with hot lava and is large enough that you can fly out to it on a 20 min. flight and tour around by bus for a day. Would be interesting to see, but I am not sure I can be comfortable in this tiny little plane to land on a volcano—plus the trip is quite expensive. We were docked by 8:00 am this morning at the New Harbor, quite a distance from the center of town. The Old ... read more
1406-75 Customs and Gift shop (with wifi)
1406-76 The city over the port buildings-A
1406-77 The city over the port buildings-B (including the Lutheran Church Hallgrimskirkja)

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Shetland Islands June 7th 2014

At Sea between Denmark and Scotland--Wednesday, June 4th Earth, Wind, and Fire: Powering Northern Europe and the World was the topic of Valerie’s lecture today. She spoke on renewable energy like the grid of wind mills seen in several off-shore places we passed. North Sea oil and gas platforms that we might sail past and other sources of energy being used by the Shetland Islands, Iceland, and other “green” countries. Lerwick, Mainland Island, the Shetland Islands, Scotland--Thursday, June 5th The town of Lerwick, sitting on the west coast of the island of Mainland, is the capitol of all of these islands. It dates to the 17th century and sits on an excellent natural harbor. Once we disembarked, we were handed a brochure with an excellent map of the town with useful information printed on it like ... read more
1406-49 Drilling platform on North Sea- A
1406-50 Drilling platform on North Sea- B (under construction)
1406-51 Gull welcoming us to the Shetlands

Europe » Denmark » Region Hovedstaden » Copenhagen June 3rd 2014

Copenhagen, Denmark--Tuesday, June 3rd After Valerie took some pictures of the Langelinie port and the pier this morning, we caught a shuttle bus into downtown Copenhagen. The shuttle drove from the wharf area past new housing, various buildings, a large park, a Museum under repairs and then into the main part of the City. It let us off on a street that runs between the Tivoli Gardens and the ornate multi-towered City Hall. We crossed the road keeping a careful eye out for the multitude of bikers , and onto the plaza in front of it, known as City Hall Square. The square was filled with statues and a very interesting fountain. One statue on the side of the plaza is of Hans Christian Anderson and looks toward the Tivoli Gardens. A group of Asian tourist ... read more
1406-01 Langelinie Port looking toward downtown Copenhagen
1406-02 Waiting for the light to change downtown
1406-03  City Hall

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm June 2nd 2014

Stockholm, Sweden--Saturday, May 31, 2014 We had a beautiful cruise among some of the 30,000 islands of the Stockholm archipelago this morning before docking at the pier. Many of the islands were large enough to have towns and villages on them and many had just lovely summer homes studded across them and are accessible only by boat. Many had saunas down on the shoreline. After arrival we discovered that this port has an actual terminal building with free wifi, so first thing we did is avail ourselves of this “luxury” and sent out some e-mails and posted photos to Facebook. We have just completed the first 2 weeks of this Enrichment Voyage on board the M/V Explorer. In the morning, June 1st, she will take on a new set of passengers and we will start the ... read more
1405-232 Navigating the Stockholm Archipelago-A.
1405-233 Navigating the Stockholm Archipelago-B
1405-235 Passing barges

Europe » Finland » Uusimaa » Helsinki May 30th 2014

Helsinki, Finland--Thursday, May 29, 2014 This morning we watched out our window as the ship made its way past forests, towns, seaside resorts and into the port of Helsinki and docked at a pier. We had expected it to dock where we had previously seen cruise ships berthed, that was way closer to downtown. Unfortunately, where we now were, was quite a ways from the center of town, and we hadn’t booked a tour since we counted on just walking off the ship and browsing along the wharf as we had done before or possibly catching public transportation and taking in the large Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress. Sigh! However, after the cold, wet and long day we had the day before, and the fact that it is raining hard again today, we welcomed a downish day and ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 28th 2014

St. Petersburg (Catherine’s Palace) to Tsarskoye Selo, Russia--Wednesday, May 28, 2015 Rainy skies and cool. Once we got underway for our tour, our guide for this trip talked the whole way through and then out of the City. She pointed out various buildings that we passed—government offices, parks, memorials, newer high rise apartments, Soviet-style housing, etc. She also talked about prices for rents, usual income for a family, the education system, and various historical facts associated with St. Pete. The Catherine Palace is located about 25km southwest of St. Pete, very near the Palace of Peter the Great, and was used by the tsars as a summer residence. The Palace built in 1752, is painted a bright blue with gold and white trim in a very flamboyant rococo style. More than 100 grams of gold were ... read more
1405-201 Detail of entrance frescos
1405-202  Entrance stairway
1405-203  At the top of the stairs

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 27th 2014

Saint Petersburg, Russia--Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Grey and rainy. We followed the crowd to participate in the regular routine for getting off the ship in this port: swipe ID card and walk down the ramp, walk the 2 blocks down the pier to the customs building, show our passport and tour tickets to the sullen Russian clerks, walk to the street and board the bus. Today we are heading to the newly opened Faberge Museum. Prior to this, the collection of 200 beautiful Faberge objects, including 9 of the fabulous Imperial Easter Eggs, were owned by Malcolm Forbes. He sold it in 2004 for 100 million to a Russian multi-millionaire/entrepreneur who added them to his collection. He was finally able to completely rebuild a palace that had just opened in April. The 4000 objects are now ... read more
1405-181 Old Interesting Downtown Buildings B
1405-182 Bust of Nikolay Pizhevalsky in the Alexander Garden
1405-183 Fountain in Alexander Garden

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 26th 2014

St Petersburg, Russia—Monday, May 26, 2014 Before we left home, Valerie and I had thoroughly studied the tour offerings for this port for 3 reasons. 1) We knew that we could only leave the ship without purchasing a Russian visa ($169 each and hassle) if we were with a sanctioned tour group; 2) We had spent several days in St. Petersburg before and wanted to now see something we hadn’t seen before; 3) We wanted to make sure we had tickets for tours we did want to see or we would be stuck on the ship for 3 days, if the tours were sold out. We woke up on Monday morning with the ship docked right downtown with a glorious view of the city and its monuments and church spires. Our first tour wasn’t scheduled until ... read more
1405-159  Cruise ship dock with white immigration building in background
1405-160 St. Petersburgdockyards about 1 mile from our ship
1405-162 Details of the Dormition Metochion of the monastery of Optina Pustyn




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