Page 2 of RamblingRosies Travel Blog Posts

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

Europe » Estonia » Tallinn May 25th 2014

Tallinn, Estonia for two days, Saturday, May 24th and Sunday, May 25th Sunny and very warm (read hot) We caught the shuttle from the port into town. If we were walkers and Valerie not hurt, the distance could have been walked. Several other cruise ships were in port and huge car ferries were going back and forth between here and Helsinki, less than 100 miles away. As we got off the shuttle, right in front of us were parked the red double-decker buses for the hop-on hop-off tours. We both hopped on. The tour skirted as close to the old walled city as it could and we could see some of the old churches, gates, and walls as we rode on the top deck—unfortunately in the full sun. The bus also drove along some of the ... read more
1405-137 Pulling into port in Tallin
1405-138 Some of the statuary near bus stop
1405-139 Possibly the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin in Tallinn

Europe » Lithuania » Palanga May 23rd 2014

Klaipeda, Lithuania--Thursday, May 22nd One of the things we found interesting about this voyage was the sights to and from our ports of call. As we approached Klaipeda and our berth, several homes were seen along the banks. Today we stayed in and Valerie iced and elevated her foot all day. The first time we were in Lithuania when Valerie taught in the capitol city of Vilnius (2008), we rented a car and drove to Klaipedia where we visited several towns and drove onto the Curonian Spit. We had originally planned to just walk into town, but we decided that wasn’t a good idea. That evening, after dinner, we went to the auditorium and enjoyed a group called Kursiu Ainiai from Lithuania that explained and then played ancient musical instruments of the region. Some examples were ... read more
1405-125 One of the houses on our approach to Klaipedea
1405-126 On the dock in Klaipeda
1405-127 Lithuanian Musical Group entertaining departing cruisers

Europe » Poland » Pomerania » Gdansk May 21st 2014

Gdansk, Poland--Wednesday, May 21st Warm and bright sunny blue sky day. Got up early in order to have breakfast and be ready to catch our tour bus by 15 minutes to 8:00. The tour bus was to drive us about an hour through the countryside to Malbork Castle. The German name means Mary Castle. It is the largest Gothic castle in the world with an area of 21 hectares (52 acres) and is considered the largest brick structure ever built. It was built in stages in the 13th century and became the main stronghold of Teutonic Prussia and the seat of the “Great Masters of the Order” by 1309. After several wars and various other crises, in 1457, it became the residence of Polish rulers for the next 3 centuries. It was destroyed during the Prussian ... read more
1405-69 Being towed into port
1405-70 Dockside Gdansk, Poland
1405-71 Part of town through tour bus window

Europe » Germany » Schleswig-Holstein » Kiel May 20th 2014

Hamburg, Germany--Saturday, May 17th We had the large buffet breakfast again at the hotel and then took a taxi to the dock/port to embark on the ISE Explorer for the enrichment voyage. We needed to be on board by 10:00 and settled a bit before Valerie had an orientation meeting to learn her duties that day. We then had lunch with the staff and other lecturers before Valerie had to assist with the boarding of the passengers. Before dinner, when everyone was aboard, we had the usual long safety drill. I don’t know how this could be more efficiently done, but we spend a long time standing on the deck by the lifeboats waiting for everyone to muster and then respond to the roll call. Kiel Canal, Germany--Sunday, May 18th We were awakened by ... read more
1405-48 Hamburg port scene from ship
1405-49 Hamburg port scene--small freighters
1405-50 One of Hamburg's dry docks--QE2 in background

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