Today was a day at sea. We played Bingo and lost.
Alex loves having jelly (Jello) for dessert every night. Our waiter always brings him some even if we forget to order it.
Next up: Denmark
Today we went on the city tour of St. Petersburg, Russia. They were having their city celebration. St. Petersburg is 107 years old. Police were everywhere. The were literally lining the streets. St. Petersburg is comprised of 47 islands and has 60 bridges connecting them.
Nicholas I statue in St. Isaac's Square
St. Isaac's Cathedral
The Winter Palace (part of the Hermitage)
Peter and Paul Fortress. The royal families are buried in the Cathedral that is located here.
Spilled Blood Cathedral
We went to the "Red October" gift shop. It is also the name of a good Tom Clancy book that was made into a movie. They were serving free coffee, tea, and vodka.
We had lunch at a palace and we watched Russian entertainers.
Russian Folk Band. I had my training in Russia.
The next stop was the Hermitage. Our guide told us if you spend one minute at each piece of art, it would take eleven years to see everything.
One of the rooms.
Alex liked looking out the windows at the city celebration.
Alex in his new hat.
Next up: Day at Sea
A very special Happy 2nd Father's Day to Gabe!
Graphic courtesy of Pat's Web Graphics.
We keep changing time zones and at this point we are +10 hours from Arizona. Tomorrow we will be +11 hours from Arizona.
Alex and some "locals".
Alexander II Statue in Senate Square. The statue was built in the Russian tsar's honor after the annexation of Finland.
Alex's favorite thing to do in Finland.
Lutheran Cathedral at Senate Square.
Russian Orthodox Church
House of Scientific Studies
The solid bronze frieze pays homage to Alexander II's generosity. In 1809 after Finland was annexed, he promised to retain the Finnish laws and religion.
Russian Orthodox Uspenski Kathedralen (cathedral)
Burger's House dates from the early 1800's and it is Helsinki's oldest remaining wooden house.
Kaisaniemi Park is on the waterfront and until 1830 was a marshy bogland.
Botanical Gardens of the University of Helsinki founded in 1833
Helsinki Railway Station
Next up: Russia
We started walking into Old Town from the ship.
Part of the Royal Palace (it is huge). The trees look like we photo-edited them in to the picture.
Statue and I believe the location where Gustavus III was assassinated during a masked ball in 1792.
Fisherman bringing in his net.
Riddarholmskyrkan church has been the burial place of the Swedish kings for four centuries. It is on Riddarholmen island (Island of the Knights).
Cast-iron spire of church.
Stortorget (Great Square)
Location of the Stockholm Blood Bath of 1520. Christian II of Denmark stacked the heads of Swedish noblemen into pyramid. We actually walked back here again and had lunch on the square.
Also on the Great Square is the the building where the Nobel Prize winner in literature is chosen by the Swedish Academy. Here is fun little fact, in 1976 all of the Nobel Prize winners were from the United States.
Church that is the location of coronations, royal weddings, and king christenings. The original St. George and the Dragon sculpture from 1652 is located here.
Alex playing in a park.
Royal guard, Alex, & Gabe
Replica of St. George and the Dragon sculpture.
Some of the buildings along this street were built around the mid 1600s.
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd (the narrowest street of steps in Gamla Stan)
Entrance into Tyska Kyrkan, a 17th century German Church.
Lunch on the square.
Alex at dinner.
Tonight we watched a magician. Alex loved the act, but after about 20 minutes he was ready to leave and did not want to stay any longer.
Next up: Finland
Today was a day at sea. We played a trivia game and walked around the ship. We met some nice Canadians today. We also found some Americans and talked to them during a buffet. We have been going to tea time. They have cookies that Alex really likes.
While we were listening to music, Alex made friends with some ladies from Spain.
Alex loves looking out the windows on the ship. Today we could see some of the Swedish islands. As usual, he fell asleep during dinner.
After dinner we listened to some music. Alex found a waitress from Brazil that is now his girlfriend. :)
We also watched the beginning of an opera. Alex loved it, but he wanted to go to the front of the stage with the singers. So, we had to leave.
Next up: Sweden
After lunch we left the cruise ship to explore Kiel.
Kiel from cruise ship.
Protestant church in Kiel.
The Alex restaurant.
We walked around this lake.
We think this was a courthouse.
This reminded me of the Mouth of Truth in Rome.
We also went inside of a couple of churches. One was Catholic (St. Nikolaus) and one was Protestant (St. Nikolai).
Here we are with our very large German sausage.
Ernst Barlachs sculpture the "Mind Warrior".
Just in case you aren't sure, you shouldn't do this in public on the side of a church. It just might get confusing sometimes.
In the gardens.
Fun statue. We thought the guy looked "very German".
Alex loved watching the Harbor Seals (or Seahunds).
Next up: Day at Sea
We all slept great last night. Gabe and I had been up over 35 hours. We got up at 9:00 a.m. local time and Gabe brought us all breakfast back. There is now a 9 hour time difference between here and our home time zone. This changed from 8 hours yesterday.
Since today was a day at sea, we wondered the boat. Alex loved all of the areas with live music and he would begin dancing whenever we would enter one. We also met some nice Germans today.
Alex watching the waves from a window.
Tonight was formal night, but we had a late lunch and we went to tea time at 4:00 p.m. Our seating time for dinner is 6:15 p.m. Even though it was a formal night, I couldn't manage to eat very much after all of meals earlier in the day. We are on our way to Germany. Our original itinerary listed our port of call as Rostock. However, the weather is not cooperating and the port there is closed. So, we are stopping at Kiel, Germany instead. It should still be fun, but unfortunately all of my research was on the Rostock area. We will use our GPS and a map (in German) to help us find some fun things to do. Since our Alaska cruise worked out so well with us walking around the towns on our own (and not taking expensive excursions), we have decided to try it on this trip as well. The only country we will taking an excursion in is Russia. Since we did not get the required visa to get off of the ship, we opted to do an excursion to the Hermitage instead. Especially after we realized that the excursion and the visa were essentially the same price.
Next up: Germany
We arrived in London today. After gathering our luggage, we picked up our rental car and started heading to Dover. We were cruising along and came to a dead stop along the major highway. After hanging out in our car for about a half an hour, we noticed people starting to get out of their cars. It was a divided 6 lane road and there was no traffic on the other side of the road either. So, people were playing soccer where the oncoming traffic should have been.
Alex chilling in his carseat in a car that is not moving.
Alex and Stephanie hanging out on the highway.
We hung out in our stopped car for about forty-five mintues. We noticed cars behind us backing up and driving on the shoulder. Gabe checked our GPS and noticed there was a road about a quarter of a mile back. It turned out to be a service road, but it worked out great. It did add 30 minutes onto our driving time, but the road block was there for another forty-five minutes. Thank goodness for our GPS. It allowed us to drive on unnamed roads to get to our destination on time.
One of the roads we drove on. There were several that looked like this.
We kept seeing the yellow flowers in the fields. It reminded me of Sting's Fields of Gold.
We stopped off in Canterbury to buy some diapers for Alex. It was "The Canterbury." I love Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, so it was neat to get to see Canterbury.
We drove to Dover and saw the White Cliffs and Dover Castle. We only had about 15 minutes to hang out at the castle instead of the hour or so we had planned, but we decided to go anyway. We were impressed with how well preserved it is. We could have easily spent a couple of hours there if we had the time.
Alex and Gabe.
We dropped off our car at the car rental place. They were closed. This turned out to be a problem when we needed to call a taxi. Gabe went to a bait shop and the guy called a couple of taxi companies. Unfortunately, we didn't get a taxi. Luckily, there was a guy from South Africa dropping off his rental car. His daughter, who lived in England, gave him a couple of taxi numbers just in case. Well, they turned out to be great. He called a taxi for all of us and we made it to the cruise ship.
Castle from a distance.
Castle and some of the White Cliffs from our cruise ship.
Some of the the White Cliffs of Dover.
Dover Castle and White Cliffs of Dover.
Once on the ship we walked around a little. Once our luggage arrived, we showered and got ready for dinner. Alex was too tired to eat even though we ordered him food.
Alex slept through dinner.
Next up: Day at Sea
Gabe, Alex, & I were up at 5:00 a.m. and at the airport for our 8:00 a.m. Flight. Alex is usually up by 5:00 a.m., but today he decided to sleep until 5:15 a.m., when we woke him up. Our airplane time wasn't too bad. I bought a water bottle at the airport and it proved to be a great piece of entertainment for Alex. He also drank a lot of water from the bottle.
Alex and his waterbottle.
Next up: England & Embarkation
How It Works
1. Each day we feature something cool to do at an unbeatable price.
2. You only get it if enough people join that day... so invite your friends!
3. Check back the next day for another awesome Groupon!
Today's listing for Tucson is for a $24 family membership to Reid Park Zoo. These are normally $50...I know, because I just bought one.
If you would like to check out today's deal, you can use the link. It is a referral link, but I am taking advantage of today's deal, so I thought some of you might like it as well. Groupon is based in Chicago, but is available in cities all over...check it out!
We are back from our vacation. Actually, we came back late Friday night. Everyone seems to be adjusting back to the current time zone (except Gabe). Apparently his new wake-up time is 3:15 a.m. I wrote the posts about our vacation while on our vacation. So, I will post them one or two at a time. Luckily, we are unpacked. On a side note, we watched Alice in Wonderland. I was a little disappointed. This is probably because I was really looking forward to seeing the movie. More posts to come...with pictures!