I clearly remember as a young girl when President Kennedy said “Ich bin ein Berliner”(I am a Berliner) those famous words from his 1963 speech on his trip to Berlin, two years after the Berlin Wall had been erected. To get to Berlin we had to travel 3.5 hours from the Port of Warnemunde. We chose a specific excursion titled “Berlin Past and Present”, which featured a motor coach equipped with flat-screen TVs, so we could view videos and photos which allowed us to do a past versus present comparison, of the changes that have occurred in Berlin over the last 80 years.
For me the highlight of the trip was a visit to St. Petersburg where we had a massive amount of history to view in just three days. I became an avid Netflix user two months earlier, renting as many films as I could on Catherine the Great, Czar Nicholas II, Rasputin, and of course several volumes of documentaries roaming through the Hermitage Museum (still looking at those DVDs). There is a plethora of information on St. Petersburg with a huge focus on the 18, 19, and 20th centuries history – actually too much to read/view before I left on the trip – but I did give it a valiant try!
So we are now truly on our way – we have seen the sites of Stockholm, tested the waters there, had a little lox and some swedish meatballs and started cruising our way to Helskinki (known as the City of the Sea) in Finland and then onto Tallinn in Estonia. It is so wonderful to leave one country at night and wake up in another country the following morning. In fact, we noticed at dinner the evening we left Helsinki (on our way to Tallinn) that we were moving quite slow, very slowly, and then uh oh, we were stopped. What had happened on our ship? Did we hit something? Did we forget something or someone back in Helsinki? Nope, apparently it is only takes about 2-1/2 hours to cross between Finland and Estonia
I was overjoyed to visit Stockholm and home of the Nobel Prizes which are awarded in a ceremony each year at the Stockholm Concert Hall, as this was an item on my Bucket List. To cross off my list that I had seen the Nobel Prize “up close and personal” would have been a first for me, as most of my bucket items to cross off are non-travel related so far. I had previously read the biography of Albert Nobel and was very excited to know I would be walking the same halls that countless distinguished and accomplished award winners had previously walked. You need to know that Stockholm has a lot of construction going on – just about every corner you turn there is a building being demolished and replaced, or new construction, or some type of building resurfacing – we encountered the latter when we passed by the Concert Hall, so actually didn’t get to go inside and tour the building. Big disappointment and I will just have to schedule another trip to Stockholm in the future!
You bet it is! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently took a cruise along the Baltic Sea (Crystal Cruises) and visited the following ports: Stockholm, Helsinki, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Copenhagen. Each city had their own distinct personality, some delightful and others not so much, but all interesting and a journey to places I had never visited before. I took a ton of photos on my iPhone and will post a tiny fraction of them, mostly of the meals I photographed and some interesting museums or attractions. And to start I will share some meals on the ship. Let me preface this by saying I took a cruise about two years ago to Alaska (won’t say the name of the ship, but Tulips they are not) and the food was very disappointing.