Blogs from Northwest, Russia, Europe


Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 13th 2019

Gary and Barbera did not have a tour booked today and so it was just Dave and me who headed on out to brave the passport control desks. We left early this time to try to avoid the queues but were scuppered when no lines had been opened....not to be detered, we hung around for a few minutes and, no suprise, were interrogated about what we were doing off the ship so early lol. They did however allow us to go through and we waited outside in the docks for everyone else to join the coach. Only 16 people on total on our tour and what a tour it was....a real gem. We walked around a traditional food and sweet market and had time to buy whatever took our fancy. Marzipan was first mass produced in ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg May 12th 2019

New laws recently inacted in Russia and highlighted in our paperwork before we disembarked. 1) NO waving of rainbow flags 2) NO Conspicious displays of same sex affection 3) NO Pride Parades Punishment includes jail and or expulsion from the country.... You get the idea of how forward thinking and inclusive Russia is.... These were just a few of the rules highlighted to us in the Princess Patter before we disembarked for St Petersburg Russia. We have spent the last two days here and this blog will cover both days. Firstly, I love Russia, St Petersburg and the incredible architecture from the opulant churches in the city centre to the stalin-esq stone buildings which lined the streets on our coach journey to see those churches. These stone buildings are actually high rise flats, grey and dank ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg January 9th 2019

Most of you know we have downsized our lives, moved back to my hometown area, and tried to minimize our lives in many ways. This process of simplifying has made our lives better in many ways. One, is less drama, and two, is fewer obligations and expenses. Along the way, we have benefitted from many suggestions, many of which center on getting rid of things. ... read more
Go solo if nobody else wants to go.

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg December 21st 2018

On a Baltic cruise, prepare to sample a delightful diversity of cultures and history and bask in the rich natural beauty of the region. You'll enter a tapestry of stories which include the lore of the Vikings, the Hanseatic League, Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great. Discover the lands of Hans Christian Andersen and Alfred Nobel. Cruise highlights can include ports of call in Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; and the breaktaking fjord country of Norway. Visitors to Helsinki, Finland can revel in its cosmopolitan flair as well as its historical past. Finnish cultural touchstones include the Senaatintori, or Senate Square; Temppeliaukion, the Church of the Rock; the Helsinki Cathedral, Tuomiokirkko; Ateneum Art Museum, and the National Museum; the medieval Hame Castle; and the sea fortress of Soumenlinna, built ... read more

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 » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 4th 2018

Our feet are really tired from walking 65,000 miles each day, give or take a mile, so we were happy to have this morning free. Free to do the washing and just to be leisurely! We have met some delightful people - from Camden, Newport and Riverview in NSW, and the Gold Coast and Townsville in Qld, Melbourne in Victoria and Perth in WA. Such a small world. We’ve also met some lovely English and Americans. Tom has been told twice that he reminds people of Robin Williams - the first day, on arrival at Stockholm airport the passport control man commented, and the second time was our second night on board the ship at formal dinner - the American family at the table next to us. St Petersburg has been delightful. Such a beautiful city, ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 3rd 2018

Wow! What a huge day today! We were up early because our first tour was leaving at 9, and we’d gotten to bed after midnight last night! So after a quick brekkie, we were off, through border control and onto our tour bus with the great Andrey, the local tour guide. So we were off to the Hermitage. We were very lucky because the museum, which is usually seen by 30,000 people each day, but is closed on Mondays, was opened particularly for us. The Hermitage was built as a private museum for Catherine the Great and if you spent a minute in front of each exhibit you would take 8 years to go through it. So we toured the highlights of the highlights tour!! We went through the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Saint Petersburg September 2nd 2018

We were making our way through the entrance to St Petersburg as we awoke this morning. The sky was heavy with dismal looking clouds and we thought it was wintery but by 10am the sun had burnt the cloud off and it was a gorgeous blue sky day. We breakfasted in La Terraza and then found some more parts of the ship we hadn’t seen before, making our way up to the library lounge at the top of the front of the ship. We spent some time in there before wandering back down to our suite. I’ve been madly reading my book and just want to sit and read (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton), but this is not to be done. We had an early lunch up at the pizzeria above the pool deck - ... read more

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