Page 2 of RamblingRosies Travel Blog Posts


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

Europe » Germany » Hamburg » Hamburg May 17th 2014

Washington, DC to Hamburg, Germany--Thursday, May 15th Christina and Paul dropped us off at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC and we caught our flight to London and then caught our flight from there to Hamburg, Germany. Both flights had some air turbulence and we were really beat by the time we were finally at the hotel. Took a very nice taxi ride to the hotel through the very lovely, old (founded by Charlemagne in 808) green city of Hamburg. It has been a major port city from the beginning and is now the 2nd largest city in Germany. Hamburg, Germany (Holiday Inn)--Friday, May 16th I napped/rested/read while Valerie worked on her lectures until about 5 when we got a taxi in front of the hotel and went to meet Valerie’s former Moldovan student and his ... read more
1405-26  Apple store
1405-27 Detail on store fronts
1405-28 Sidewalk grate

North America » United States » Maryland » Baltimore May 11th 2014

Clarkston, Georgia to Columbia, Maryland—Wednesday and Thursday, May 7 and 8, 2014 Our plans for this trip were to drive Rosie II to the DC area and visit with our Aunt who had been in and out of the hospital repeatedly, in the last couple of months, with heart problems and also to visit with my daughter and son-in-law that live near our Aunt. We planned to store Rosie II while we traveled and leave for the cruise from the Dulles Airport. All sounds good on paper, but as we were packing to leave, we got a call from my daughter that informed us that our Aunt had died and that her funeral was to be on Friday the 9th. So, we shifted into high gear to leave earlier than we planned. We spent the night ... read more
1405-01 Haven B. Howe House at Claytor Lake State Park in VA
1405-02 Ruins of early home at Claytor Lake State Park, VA
1405-03 Eagle art work near Christina's place of work in Rockville, MD

Africa » South Africa April 7th 2014

Some thoughts on the trip: One of the questions we have been asked several times was, would we do this same trip again? Knowing what we know now, we have to say no, not really. Not that we wouldn’t visit South Africa again, but that we wouldn’t rent this type of RV and drive so many miles in it. We could have seen the same things in a rented SUV or Jeep type vehicle and stayed at the Park Lodges or B and B’s/hotels and thereby been in more comfort. The cost of the hotel room would be offset by the cost of the daily rental fee of the RV, we believe. The better gas mileage of a car versus an RV would help in any savings we had on cooking our own food. The RV ... read more
Protea--the national flower
Robben Island tribute to Mandela--one of many throughout the trip
1403-225 Our RV home--here at Golden Gate Highlands Park

Africa » South Africa » Gauteng » Pretoria April 4th 2014

Aviator Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa--Wednesday-Friday, April 2nd-4th Before we left home, we had made arrangements to stay in Johannesburg for three days longer than the rest of the group. First, we knew we needed to get rested before the 17 hour flight back to the US and second, we wanted to see Pretoria. It seemed to us to be an incomplete tour of South Africa if we didn’t see the Administrative capitol, which was only 30-40 miles north of Johannesburg. We were both not sure where we had heard the song, “We are marching to Pretoria,” but that was also part of our desire to see the place. (Thought originally it might be a Scout song Dad sang which might be true, but The Weavers recorded it in the 60's and we might more “recently” heard ... read more
2104-23 Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria--Carving on wall around upper gardens
2104-24 Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria--Upper gardens
2104-25 Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria--a little closer




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