Thursday, 30 May 2013

Helsinki/St Petersburg/ Tallinn

We had a relaxed walking tour on our own in Helsinki after getting the Ship's Shuttle Bus to the town.It was cooler than Stockholm with a bit of drizzle but we managed to get around. The famous senate square with the commanding St Nicholas Church was a must for us to see,so was the Russian Orthodox Church an the fairly new and modern Church carved out of Rock with a copper dome at the Northern side of town.we walked along the esplanade parking browsing through the Sunday Market,window shopping and stopping for a coffee in the cafe in the park, opposite which some youngsters were performing in a band on a stage!
St Petersburg obviously is The Place of importance in this cruise,that's why we spent two days here.
It's historical with the wide river Neva with its tributaries,canals and bridges.the weather was kind to us both days getting upto 24C.we saw the famous Splitting Blood cathedrals,which really was awe inspiring.We were warned about the place being notorious for thieves and pick-pockets.we had boat ride through the river and various canals seeing the places and cathedrals,forts and administrative
Buildings,which are well preserved and maintained.We could however feel the signs of old communist regime now turning into a sort of dictatorship.
The second day gave us the opportunity to visit the famous Catherine Palace t o experience the marvel of its interior design: gold painted mirrored walls of entrance hall following onto rooms full of paintings,chandeliers ,clocks and antique furniture.there was also the most important Amber room,followed by room decorated by individual artists painting decorating the walls with Delft corner features.we also visited the Amber workshop where a pleasant Young Russian girl explained us about Amber(Sap of pine trees of over million years of age!),and the workmen (100) turned amber into artistic features and ornaments and emblems etc,We returned after walking through the Gardens  To have a well earned rest.This was purely a magical experience.

Tallinn,Estonia: a small medieval town still keepi ng its originality in Architecture and culture.Visited this time on our own taking the shuttle to the town and walking around.there was a market in the town square.visited the town hall,castle,St Nicholas cathedral,fort and fort wall and th Catholic Church.we can see they are trying improve th pace with fundin from the European Union.sad to see a few people begging.there was a slight rain but not too bad.

Rest day at sea today Thursday! Sunny and warm hoping for. Good weather to visit Warnamunde in Germany tomorrow.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Exploring Stockholm

We had a lovely Captains Cocktail reception last night and we have just returned from a fabulous day
Exploring Stockholm today.Not enough time but that's part of the bargain with Cruising holiday.we walked along the Baltic when we got off the ship then had a conducted tour afterwards. Visited the Royal Palace crossing the bridge between the Baltic and the Lake Malaren. saw the old town walking along the paved streets,and the usual tourist shops and stopped for a coffee.Things are expensive
And the tax is 33% and Vat is 25%. But people get healthcare and education (includingUniversity)provided by the state. 92% are Protestant Christians but only 1.2% actually practise religion.we could have easily spend a week here,but we were told apart from the summer they get really no sun after 2pm rest of the year.Temp today went up from 14 to 20C. We got back just in time for the ship to leave through cruising along all these picturesque islands.
Looking forward to "Indian Dinner" tonight,

Friday, 24 May 2013

Baltic Cruise 2013: Aurora R 306
Been on Aurora since the 21 May. Had a couple of rough days at sea but today it's down to force 2-4.
Comfortable ship,good service,food a bit iffy for veggies like us.looking forward to the day trips to
Stockholm,Helsinki,St.Petersburgh and Tallinn in the next five days.there's plenty do things on the ship anyway.hope the wind drops and the sea keeps reasonably calm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Holiday 2013

It's been a disappointing weather so far this summer! Looking forward to getting away,even though
the forthcoming Baltic Cruise doesn't guarantee the weather.It certainly will be a welcome change.
Looking forward to Copenhagen,St.Petersburgh and Stockholm.