Showing posts from August, 2014

TRIP: Stockholm Sweden

We're rounding the corner home with Stockholm Sweden . We entered the port through the Swedish archipeligos, which was a beautiful site. The Stockholm archipelagos are made up of about 30,000 small islands some of them no bigger than a car poking out of the water some large enough for several houses. We arrived around 6am and it was a very quiet glide through the islands. This shot was from our balcony. Once in port there were water taxis to take you to various points of interest including an amusement park, the ABBA museum (which I'm a little bummed we missed), and historical district. Since these are the things we missed I only have this picture of a family of fearless barnacle geese to show you. We opted to spend our time with the Vasa Museum. Above is the remains of one of two famous 17th Century warships to herald the greatness of the power of Sweden sea power. Her name: Vasa. Unfortunately, she sunk within 25 mins of launching out of port. #epicfail #headsw

TRIP: Helsinki Finland

We've passed the half the point quite a few points to hit on the way back and we start with Helsinki, Finland. Helsinki is a nice clean modern city we chose to just walk the city and wandered into the city center. This is St. Luther's cathedral it's situated at right at the town square next to the Parliament building. We did a little shopping here to replenish some clothing, the weather was amazing and the people were very friendly and helpful. I realize this is a rare sunny season for the area so it'd be interesting to see what winter looks like here. We did swing by the tourist center and they suggested going Zetor for lunch, it featured a "rustic country" cuisine. There were tractors, wooden benches and rusted signs everywhere. They really did it up with the ambiance. It would have fit right in back home in Texas. The printed the menu in multiple languages and presented like a newspaper. I saw, Finnish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Ge

TRIP: Faberge Eggs Pt2

By request I'm posting the pictures of the rest of the Faberge eggs I was able to capture from the Celebrity Constellation exhibit. I don't know enough about the history of these eggs so I'll just be posting the pictures. From the egg talk this last egg is one of the first ones produced by Theo Faberge. He was a wood worker by trade and it was the first time the Faberge eggs featured wood as a material to produce the egg. The inside is hollow and meant to hold something of value. The wood on the inside apparently will take on a darker purple shade as the egg ages. It was a cool exhibit.

TRIP: Saint Petersburg Russia

Our third stop was a two day port call in St. Petersburg Russia. This is a new port, the ship terminals were brand new and very clean. They have an internet cafe after the checkpoint in which does have fast wifi (it's how I managed to get the other posts uploaded) Everyday the Cruise Director (JC) and the Activity Manager (Mark) put on a show (they tape it the night before) basically telling you about the day ahead facts about the destination, stuff happening on the ship and of course they read our letters. It's always entertaining and they've managed to put it up on youtube. Anyhow, this particular day they did warn us about the passport people when you enter the country. Unlike the rest of the trip in Russia in order to go out of the terminal you had to pass through customs and passport checks and you had to be part of a tour in order to do this (no tour = no leave ship). Apparently the tours take responsibility and have a visa deal with the government. The passport

TRIP: Faberge Eggs and another dinner at Blu

The ship has a standing Faberge egg collection (for sale of course) they range from $4000 to $35000 per egg. We got a history of the original Russian eggs up to modern day operations when Karl  Theo Faberge passed away taking the egg legacy with him. He is survived by a daughter (Sarah) who helped create an egg but she chose to let the egg tradition pass with her father. Each egg is hand made and takes upwards of multiple years to create and is held to a high level of quality or they face the merciless hammer of Theo Faberge. If he was dissatisfied with the quality instead of allowing for correction he would take a hammer and smash it to bits and order the egg restarted. This one is a blown lead crystal egg with a set of delicate butterflies that spin and dance to Tchaikovsky when you wind up the base. If there was an egg that I was to buy I think this would have been it. The wings on the butterflies were soon thin and delicate and the egg shows brilliantly in the light. Each of

TRIP: Tallinn Estonia

Our second port of call is Tallinn, Estonia. We spent our day in the city center historical districts with it's old cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture. We found the oldest still operating pharamacy. It was pretty neat being part museum and part pharmacy, I'm sure the native population gets pretty annoyed whenever the ships roll in and clog up their place to pick up prescription medication. They had examples of medicinals, equipment (such as a ticture making device), and plant pressings with their medicinal usages all of them look older than say my whole country (which from anyone but the US point of view isn't that big a deal, but it's still a neat statment to make). Wandering up this very steep hill found the King's garden, which would have overlooked the whole town if not for the modern buildings and condos (the price of progress). It looked more like a castle/fortification than a garden but it was meant to be open to the people, they convert