Posts filed under ‘Europe’
You know what’s totally adorable and nearly unheard of in the area? Estonia. It has a population of just over 1.3 million, so that’s fewer people than in the Triangle. Since it’s in Europe and snuggled up to Russia, there’s no doubt that it’s adorable. Tallinn was a super cute, and seemingly pretty well off, walled town.
We hopped off the boat in Tallinn, and made our way through a little booths. We spotted a couple sheep in a pen there. At first we thought it was strange. Then we realized that not only were they cute, but they were also super friendly! The ram pawed at the fence, rubbed his horns on the fence, and batted his eyelashes at people trying to get everyone to pet and treat him.
We had Rick Steves’ Scandinavia, so we were prepared to hit the top spots. Um… If you’re also working from this book, you’ll want to pick up another tourist map. It was a little tough to follow. That said, it definitely gave us a good overview of what to see.
We started at Fat Margaret, one of the best known towers. We wound our way through the town and found our way to St. Olaf’s church. This church was first constructed in the 12th century as “the center for old Tallinn’s Scandinavian community prior to the conquest of Tallinn by Denmark in 1219.” Between 1549 and 1625, this was the tallest church in the world. It’s life continues today as a Baptist church.
Sorry it’s been a while. Our final deposit for the Galapagos cruise is coming up, and I’m afraid we’re going to have to cancel since I still don’t have a job. I’ve been really bummed about canceling a trip that I’ve been dreaming about for 10+ years and even more bummed with the thought that, once I cancel that, we’ll have no trips for me to plan and look forward to. Fortunately, my wonderful husband has agreed that a super cheap vacay might not cripple us after all, so we’re going to cross our fingers until the payment is due and then, if we have to cancel, we’ll figure out something else. Anyway, on to the point of the post. Back in December, I shared the details of the first three stops on our Baltic cruise in September – Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki. Since I’m going in order, I now have to address the crown jewel of the trip , St. Petersburg.
First of all, let me gush. St. Petersburg is now officially one of my fave cities I’ve ever been to. It has the beauty of Paris and Prague, palaces that kick Versailles’ butt, and a museum that makes the Louvre look like a snooze fest (okay, this is totally coming from an Impressionist lover, so keep in mind that my feelings on museums are *very* biased; also remember that the Hermitage has 3 mil+ works of art and the Louvre has less than 40k). Plus the food is better than Germany and the people are fascinating. Be warned though – this place is pricey to visit if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time and actually understand what you’re seeing. Translation: You’ll want a private guide.
We stopped in Helsinki on a Sunday. I wish we’d had a few more hours and/or visited on any day other than Saturday. We had time to hit the high points in town, but the shops were closed and I would’ve liked to have visited Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. That said, I think a stop on a cruise ship was a good way to visit Helsinki. The rest of Finland has a lot more to offer, but we got to see enough of Helsinki that I’m satisfied for now.
We all really enjoyed our time in Stockholm on our cruise – other than the transportation issues. I’ll tell you more about that under the “tips” section. Anyway, here’s how we spent our day as well as some other ideas about what you might see while you’re there.
I’ve just about finished my scrapbook from the Baltic cruise, so it’s on my mind and I’m ready to share. Here’s what I suggest seeing if you have just 2 days in Copenhagen.
What to Do/See in 2 Days
My husband and I arrived early Wednesday morning and caught up with our friends who’d arrived the night before at the hotel. We showered in their room (our room wasn’t ready yet) and set out on this plan. Unfortunately it started raining just before lunch on Thursday, so we gave up on the last few places. I’d definitely like to go back and check out Copenhagen further.
Frederiksborg Castle. “King Christian IV’s magnificent renaissance castle in Hillerød north of Copenhagen was built in the beginning of the 17th century. In the following centuries the castle provided the setting for important ceremonial events, first and foremost the anointing of absolute monarchs. Today the castle has been transformed into a national historical museum.” (VisitCopenhagen.com) It is a really gorgeous castle, so definitely go if you like castles and/or photography. We took the S-train, line E to Hillerod, from Copenhagen (~40 mins) and then a local bus (701, 702, 703, 325), which was included in the Copenhagen Card (~5 mins). It was super easy, especially since the bus driver spoke English and assured us we were on the right bus and told us when to get off.
Mosey on over to Elizabeth Anne Designs Living for a preview of our recent Baltic cruise. My friend “Elizabeth” posted a few pics from the trip, one of which is below. I hope to find some time to post some info for y’all soon. I learned soooo much in researching and planning this trip, and I’d love to share it so that the time I spent might benefit someone else.
Split was, like Corfu, a pleasant surprise. The beach wasn’t too nice, but the city was adorable and amazing. They even have a huge statue of Merlin!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Corfu. I hadn’t heard of it before we researched the trip, so I had no idea why we were visiting the place. Turns out that it’s a beautiful Greek island – but very different from, say, Mykonos or Santorini. Although the towns on Corfu aren’t as charming, the people are nice, there’s plenty to do, the food is good, and the scenery is outstanding.
Mykonos was, hands down, my favorite port we visited on our cruise last year. Thank goodness! My desire to visit the island, and it’s little sister, Delos, were what prompted the whole cruise in the first place. See, back in the early 1990s, I was a huge Christopher Pike fan, and the setting of The Immortal really spoke to me. Since Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas was one of a relatively small number ships stopping in Mykonos, that’s how “we” came to choose that itinerary. Now on to pictures and potentially useful information!
Like Athens, I think of Olympia as another one of those must-see places in Greece. I was thrilled that our itinerary included a stop at nearby Katakolon.