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Baltic Cruise and Railway trip - 2012

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S: Baltic Cruise and Railway Trip in Europe - May 20, 2012 - June 19, 2012

BC: Terry was such a trooper! We lived out of these bags for a month! We also walked our butts off all over Europe playing tourist. We got home and our "girls", Trouble & Twiggle were happy to see us. | Another ToeJaM Production / Vacation - 2012

FC: Baltic Cruise and Eastern European Railway Trip May 20, 2012 - June 19, 2012

1: Left Las Vegas on a Southwest flight to Denver on Sunday, May 20, 2012. Called grandpa Chuck and he drove out to meet us for lunch at DEN. We then fly non-stop to Reykjavik, Iceland on Iceland Air. While there we have a six-plus hour layover.

2: The Denver airport has some interesting things hanging out over the train that runs through the airport. The walk from the main terminal is over a sky bridge that planes can taxi underneath.

3: Snaefellsjokull is a 700,000 year old stratovolcano in western Iceland. This is the entrance used in the Jules Verne novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). | Landfall in Iceland. We arrive 8am, Monday, May 21, 2012 and gain entry to the EU. Reykjavik, Iceland

4: Found a taxi outside the airport with an english-speaking driver for our tour of Reykjavik. Left - The landscape looked almost like the moon from the airport at Keflavik to Reykjavik (48km/30mi).

5: Reykjavik is the northernmost capital of a sovereign state. A former Parliament building to the left. | A wide variety of buildings and sculptures in Reykjavik. | Opposite page - Recreated old Icelandic / Nordic buildings.

6: Picturesque harbor in downtown Reykjavik. Plenty of whale watching tours available.

8: Sights around Reykjavik with beautiful ocean inlets right up against the volcanic soil. Iceland is called the "Island of Fire & Ice".

9: The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal area near the airport. Great for swimming and power. | Power generating plant right next to the spa...

10: Above & Below - Blue Lagoon. Left & Right - Sculptures outside the airport.

11: Plenty of sculptures inside the airport to ponder. The Icelanders have to do something during those cold, dark winters. | Back at Keflavik airport waiting for our flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. | Yep, Tim converted some cash to Iceland krone to try a local food.

12: CopenhagenDenmark Arrived Monday evening, May 21. Found a McDonalds for dinner near our hotel (Imperial) and called it a night. Tivoli (left) was a block away from our hotel.

13: Tuesday, May 22, Day 1. Using Rick Steve's guidebook we explore Copenhagen on foot & boat. | A quaint creature sculpture outside City Hall at Radhuspladsen (the city's main square). | The Weather Girls above (not moving and broken) are supposedly the only girls you can trust in Copenhagen. | Hans Christian Andersen is a famous Dane who wrote many classic fairy tales that made him famous.

14: Weather Girls overlooking Radhuspladsen. | Lur Blowers sculpture. | Start of the Stroget. Morning time. | Nope, not lost. Yet...

15: Below - The city's first public telephone before they became private. Also in Gammeltorv ("Old Square"). | Terry gets a real taste today of the likely amount of walking during our tour of Europe. | Gammeltorv, the original center of Copenhagen. Above the Fountain of Charity providing water since the early 1600's. | Sights along Stroget a pedestrian - only street in the core of Copenhagen.

16: Sights near Christiansborg Palace (Top Right) Nytorv and the Royal Theater (Lower Right).

17: We beat the crowds by starting at 8am. By about 11am the streets begin to fill with Danes.

18: Cobblestone streets and sidewalks are tiring on the feet. Ask Terry... | Nytorv and Christiansborg Palace. The restroom is down the stairs. Great sculptures all around. The Danes love their bicycles.

19: Toward the end of Stroget near Nyhavn.

20: Upper Right Christiansborg Palace. Various buildings and statues along the Stroget.

21: Canal Boat ride through Copenhagen. We rode on the Netto boats and left out of Nyhavn. Nyhavn was probably our favorite place in Copenhagen.

22: The Opera House. | The Royal Yacht. | Holmen (Old Guard House). | The Palace Dock. | Converted warehouses. | Mix of old and new.

23: More sights of Copenhagen during our canal boat tour. Just across the water (30km/20mi) is Malmo Sweden; easily connected by train or roads. Denmark is one of the more expensive cities to live.

25: More sights of Copenhagen.

26: Most of the old warehouses have been converted to homes or businesses. We very much enjoyed the charm of the architecture and colors.

27: Fountains just outside Amalienborg Palace and Square. We were fortunate to watch the changing of the guard.

29: Opposite page - Amalienborg Palace Square. Frederiks Church. Saint Albans Church. Gefion Fountain. Area around Kastellet (near Little Mermaid).

30: The "famous" Little Mermaid, just north of Amalienborg Palace and just south of our cruise ship pier. | Opposite page - Rosenborg Castle & Gardens. Lower Right - Copenhagen's Central Train Station.

32: We spent the evening in Tivoli Gardens (amusement park since 1843). Enjoyed drinks, dinner and watching Danes at play.

33: Some type of hyper-mileage vehicle. Couldn't understand if the guards were asking questions or questioning the driver... | Sights and sounds of Tivoli Gardens.

34: Day 2 in Copenhagen, Wednesday, May 23 A canal behind Christiansborg Palace. Terry is realizing how much walking there will be... | Another "Little Mermaid" just outside the Royal Library a.k.a. the Black Cube overlooking the main canal.

36: Christiania is a wonderful counterculture squatters' colony. It's the site of an old army base that has been taken over by hippies promoting a different way of life involving illegal substances, hence no pictures allowed.

37: Enjoying a late brunch at Nyhavn. | This orange timbered building is one of the oldest wood buildings. | After two full days in Copenhagen, it is time to board our cruise ship, The Emerald Princess around 4pm.

38: Oslo, Norway - Thursday, May 24 This was to be our first port of call, however..the pilot boats decided to go on strike and we couldn't get into this port. At least we got to see the beautiful fjords. The Oslofjord extends approximately 100km/60mi from the Baltic Sea to Oslo.

40: Wonderful views of the calm waters in Oslofjord.

41: Views of Norde Kaholmen and Sondre Kaholmen where Oscarsborg Fortress is located. | Oscarsborg Fortress guards Oslofjord about 25km/15mi from Oslo. A Nazi WW2 ship was sunk here by these guns.

42: Just across from the fortress is Drobak, Norway. A very pretty town with tons of pleasure crafts. We were informed there is a 100+ year wait list for a boatslip.

43: Aarhus, Denmark Friday, May 25. Off the ship and another walking tour following Rick Steve's guidebook in Aarhus.

44: Everything is centered around Cathedral Square. Aarhus is Viking for Mouth of River. The Vikings protected their boats more than their homes.

46: The paintings and sculptures within and around the Royal Hotel are by local artist Hans Krull.

47: The Cathedral Square area (more of a triangle).

49: The sights and sounds of Aarhus in the morning. Terry liked these mini-street sweepers. We leave downtown and walk up to Den Gamble By, a recreated Danish old town. Along the way, Tim give directions to fellow cruisers.

51: Den Gamble By is an old town open-air folk museum with roughly 75 half timbered houses and craft shops. It is complete with craftsman and tour guides dressed in period costumes.

52: Den Gamble By is centered around the canal running through Aarhus.

53: Terry getting a "lesson" from one of the locals...

55: We then walk to ARoS Art Museum. City Hall is nearby and we walk through the Concert Hall next door.

56: On the roof of ARoS Art Museum. The circular skywalk "Your Rainbow Panorama" by Olafur Eliasson completed in 2011. | The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum was opened on 8 April 2004 and is 10 stories tall.

58: Lots of provoking and entertaining artwork throughout the museum. It really made you think at times, "What were they thinking...???"

59: The squatting sculpture called Boy by Australian artist Ron Mueck is realistic yet 15 feet tall.

60: In the area called Mollestien. Locals call this the quiet little cobbled lane the "most beautiful street in Aarhus."

63: Previous pages - The churches would have models of ships praying for safe return of the local sailors. When they returned, they'd donate funds and put up a crest. This page - An old Viking dig under the local bank.

64: Above and Below - On top of Aarhus Theater is a Devil overlooking Aarhus Cathedral. The local bishop made "quite a stink" about the "house of sin" looking over the church. A hit with many of the secular modern locals.

65: Back on the ship after a great day in Aarhus..Enjoyed the beautiful sunset and await Berlin, Germany tomorrow.

66: Warnemunde & Berlin, Germany (Berlin 3 hours away) Saturday, May 26

68: We arranged a small tour with 10 people on our bus. Boris Coronado a transplanted American was our tour-guide. boris@berlincitytours.com www.berlincitytours.com | Tim was in Berlin about 20 years before. The city didn't look the same. Opposite page - In the Tiergarten the Bundestag with Platz de Repubik near Brandenburg Gates.

70: Bundeskanzleramt. | German Flag. | Tiergarten. | Local Artists.

71: Brandenburg Gates and Plaz des 18 Marz. This was in the former East German area controlled by the USSR.

72: The USA embassy is right next to Brandenburg Gates inside the former USSR East Berlin. A snub to a cold war enemy? | Unter den Linden is the street that runs from Tiergarten through Brandenburg Gates and Platz des 18 Marz to Museum Island.

73: Above, the Adion Kempinski Hotel where Michael Jackson held his kid out the balcony to the crowds. On Unter den Linden.

74: Sights and views of tourists on Unter den Linden.

75: Jewish memorial to commemorate the Jews killed during the Nazi period. Starts out shallow, gets very deep. | 2,711 concrete slabs vary in height from 8in to 15ft 9in. "A supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason."

76: Terry is pointing to Hitler's bunker where he and Eva von Braun ended their lives. This has not been made into a museum. We are only a couple of blocks away from Brandenburg Gates.

79: Two stories to tell in Berlin. WW2 and the Nazi rise to power. Then the USSR and the "Berlin Wall" started 13 Aug 1961. | The "Berlin Wall" was prefabbed concrete and put in place topped with barbed wire along with a "death strip". The "Berlin Wall" came down in 1990.

80: Lunch at a Bavarian restaurant. Museum Island. Checkpoint Charlie tourist area.

81: Everyone needs stretch limo based on a mini. More tourist sights around Checkpoint Charlie. About six blocks south of Unter den Linden.

82: Above - Famous picture of USSR soldier leaping over the wall. Our "exit" (Ausfahrt) to return to our cruise ship in Warnumende.

83: Tallinn, Estonia Monday, May 28

84: We organized a private tour of Tallinn with Eva-Maria and her husband. evamaria@estonianexperience.com www.estonianexperience.com Tallinn is considered the place to go and party on the cheap from Finland.

88: Tallinn is a wonderful old city untouched by modern history. Well worth a visit!

89: Tallinn is divided into the upper town, Toompea and the lower town, with Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). Narrow, quaint streets & shops.

90: Probably the most picturesque medieval town in the Baltic area. | The medieval wall remains remarkably intact.

92: Pickpockets have become a problem in the tourist areas. | The streets and lanes zig-zag according to the lay of the land.

93: Church of the Holy Ghost (Puhavaimu kirik) sporting a great clock from 1633. | Always shopping available. Lots of handmade wool items.

94: Eva-Maria (our tour-guide) opposite page with Terry. | Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats).

96: McDonalds with a restroom at the edge of the Old Town. Right next to it is the Tallinn flower market. We'll see many markets during our travels.

98: The White building is Kadriorg Palace. Originally the palace of Catherine I of Russia built in the early 1700's. Then abandoned in the 19th century. In the 1930's it was rebuilt. | Flags of Estonia and the EU. Occupied by Russians and Nazis. Independence restored 20 Aug 1991. Population of 1.3 million.

99: The pink building is the Presidential Palace (Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei) Still home to the president of Estonia.

100: The Song Festival Grounds. Every five years, these grounds host a national song festival with 25,000 singers and 100,000 spectators. In 1988 Estonians sang in defiance of Soviet rule.

101: A bit further out in the country where we enjoyed a taste of local coffee and pumpkin soup (very tasty!) Then back to the cruise ship where we head to St. Petersburg, Russia.

102: St. Petersburg, Russia Tuesday, May 29 and Wednesday, May 30, 2012

103: St.Petersburg (formerly Leningrad). Founded on Islands at the edge of the Baltic Sea by Peter the Great in 1703.

104: Our driver had "Tigger" in his window matching Terry's "Tigger" pendant. We had a private tour for two days through Ulko Tours www.ulkotours.com. Our tour guide was Tatyana Obukhova tobik80@mail.ru | The bridges of St. Petersburg. It is amazing what the Tsars built using essentially slave labor.

105: The architecture of the Tsars along the Neva River.

107: Views of the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum on the Neva River.

108: St. Isaac's Cathedral and Peter the Great

109: The many canals & rivers along with the bridges of St. Petersburg.

112: Soviet era Hammer and Sickle. Not many around...

113: Doors of St. Isaac's Cathedral

114: The columns surrounding the Cathedral were solid and the model shows how they were installed. | The interior of St. Isaac's Cathedral was breathtaking.

116: More St. Isaac's Cathedral | The interior is made of mosaics. Originally they were paintings but they deteriorated in the damp cold.

117: St. Isaac's Cathedral was ordered by Tsar Alexander I. Groundbreaking was in 1818 and completed in 1858. The architect was Frenchman Auguste de Monferrand 1786-1858. His bust is on a previous page. He requested and was rebuffed by the emperor to be buried in the basement.

118: The Hermitage Museum Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. It was difficult to absorb because of the opulence and quantity of artwork throughout the museum.

126: Rembrandt | Reubens | Van Dyck

127: Monet | Renoir | Cezanne

128: van Gogh | Matisse | Gauguin

129: Matisse | Picasso

130: Leonardo da Vinci. The Madonna Litta 1490

131: Michelangelo The Crouching Boy 54cm / 21in tall Marble Statue c. 1530 - 1534 The only Michelangelo in the Hermitage

132: Upper Left - Alexanders Column. Above - Peter and Paul Fortress Left - Russian Mint next to Peter and Paul Cathedral

133: Interior of Peter and Paul Cathedral. Burial place for the Russian Tsars from Peter I to Alexander III.

134: Tsar's place to pray. There are no seats in Russian Orthodox churches. Everyone stands. The emperor stands on a slightly elevated platform. | Sarcophagi of the Tsars.

135: Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated on 31 March 1881. | On the Griboedov Canal. You'll notice the canal wall juts out to provide a foundation for the church. Built 1883 to 1907. Mosaics make up the interior.

136: Sights along Nevsky Prospekt. It is the main street running through St. Petersburg.

137: Russian museum. Formerly the Mikhailovsky Palace.

138: Market on Vasilyevski Ostrov island The Maritime Passenger Terminal is on this island. A fun point... Tim spent 10 minutes with Russian immigration trying to enter Russis because his passport picture didn't look like him...

139: St Petersburg Day 2 - Wednesday, May 30 | Rain, rain, go-away.. Today we head to the suburbs of St. Petersburg

140: Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoe Selo (the Tsar's Village)

141: This palace was virtually destroyed in WW2 during the siege of Leningrad by the Nazis. Leningrad did not fall but the surrounding area was occupied by the Nazis from 8 Sep 1941 until 27 Jan 1944.

142: Catherine I started this palace in 1717. Her daughter, empress Elizabeth "finished it"... Finally her daughter, Catherine II (The Great) rebuilt it to its present state until Nazi occupied in WW2. | Fortunately, prior to WW2 the Russians had documented the palace and grounds fairly well, allowing them to rebuild the palace to its former splendor.

143: One small part of the painted ceiling is original in this magnificent ballroom. The floors are a masterpiece of inlays.

144: The ornate furnishings and gilding was a sight to behold.

145: The Amber Room. We were not supposed to take pictures. (We did anyway). Each room was decorated in its own coordinated palette.

147: Gardens of Catherine's Palace are as beautiful as the palace itself.

148: The Great Pond. | Out Buildings. | Orthodox singers - Wow! | A canal. | Trying to stay dry. | Palace from the gardens.

149: Views from the gardens. | More we see, the more we understand why the Bolsheviks overthrew the Tsars. These were all built with "slave" labor.

150: Peterhof Palace All these fountains are fed by gravity. There are no pumps used. The complex takes advantage of a 100 meter bluff overlooking the sea.

152: Rain and Fountains. They go together.

154: Supposed to ride hydrofoil back to St. Petersburg but the weather and seas were too foul.

156: Opposite page -On the way back to St. Petersburg, we rode the Red Line on the Subway. The Soviets knew how to build glamor. The subway stations are glorious. | Interesting comparisons between Russia and USA: USA = 312 mil people Russia =140 mil people Russia = 17.1 mil km2 USA = 9.2 mil km2 USA = $15.1 Tril GDP Russia = $2.3 Tril GDP

158: We say goodbye to St. Petersburg and re-board our cruise ship to sail away. On the way out through the Gulf of Finland, we sail right past Kronshtadtskiy radon, which is an old submarine and naval base.

159: Views from the Emerald Princess leaving St. Petersburg. It was cold and wet!

160: Ring road around St. Petersburg on the west side. | Naval Base of Kronstadt (Kronshtadtskiy radon).

161: When the barometric pressure suddenly changes in the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg can flood. These gates swing shut to prevent flooding. They were recently completed. | Goodbye Russia!

162: Helsinki, Finland Thursday, May 31

163: The giraffes are saying. "it's your turn to laugh at the tourists..."

164: The three blacksmiths statue from 1932.

165: Lots of trams running all over Helsinki.

166: 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. (the 1940 Olympics planned for Helsinki were canceled due to WW2.) | Paavo Nurmi a Finnish runner lit the Olympic Flame. (He wore clothing except when posing for the statue...)

167: Beautiful White Birch trees surrounding the Sibelius Monument. | Eila Hiltunen designed the monument and then included a bust of Jean Sibelius to quell discontent.

168: Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer that played an important role in the Finnish identity. | Sibelius b.8dec1865 -d.20sep1957 created a number of symphonies. December 8, Finland celebrates Flag day also known as the "Day of Finnish Music."

169: Just a stuffed reindeer to promote their goods. | Sights of Helsinki.

170: Temppeliaukio Church. a.k.a. Church in the Rock. A Lutheran Church in the Toolo neighborhood of Helsinki. Designed by brothers / architects, Timo and Tuomo Sumalainen and opened in 1969.

171: The church is blasted out of rock. The roof is a winding of copper around and around. Beautiful!

173: Helsinki train station and buildings around downtown.

175: Opposite page - Lutheran Cathedral with Senate Square spread out below. | Market Square with the local merchants selling a bit of everything.

176: Goodbye Helsinki...

177: Stockholm, Sweden Friday, June 1 more rain...

178: This day started off rather ugly and got better with the cold rain. First we had no umbrellas so we were getting wet. Went to Stortorget and found a shop and bought umbrellas. Ahh... much better. | The fountain is in the middle of Stockholm's oldest square.

179: Colorful buildings line the Stortorget. The Nobel (Peace Prize) Museum is right off the square.

180: Rune stone, | Rune stone | Opposite Lower - Rune Stone built into a building. Iron Boy (littlest statue) was hard to find. St George, the dragon-slayer. | Took a coffee break in a small café off the Stortorget.

182: Enjoyed the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace. | Opposite page is City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.

184: Here in Stockholm we were educated there is no "bad weather," just a poor choice in clothing. And we had missed the "One Day of Summer". Those funny Swedes...

185: Leaving Stockholm and sailing through the Stockholm archipelago. Tim had been to Stockholm a number of years before in the middle of winter and thought Stockholm was right on the sea. He was wrong...

187: Sailing out of Stockholm through the archipelago and headed to Copenhagen to disembark. It's probably 80km/50mi through narrow channels to reach the Baltic Sea.

188: The Emerald Princess May 23 to June 3, 2012 | Cabin 741 was our two week home.

189: We sail back to Copenhagen and fly to Krakow, Poland.

190: This was our third cruise on the Emerald Princess. We sailed on the christening of the ship in May 2007 through the Mediterranean. March 2012 we sailed the southern Caribbean. And May 2012, this cruise, the Baltics.

192: Our table mates at dinner: Olivia & Emilio from Florida. Roger & Marie from California. Our wait staff, Saivie and Gabriel. David from Mexico was our cabin steward. John Lawrence and excellent port lecturer above right.

193: Krakow, Poland We arrive Sunday evening June 3 and are met by our tour-guide-driver Andrew Durman.

194: In the Krakow Main Market Square a block away from our hotel (Saski). The gigantic head is by local Igor Mitoraj. Locals don't agree on the location.

195: St. Adalbert's (oldest church in Krakow - 10th century). | Trams all over Krakow. | Lots of sculptures on the sides of buildings.

196: Barbican Gates. People are lined up to buy commemorative coins of the football world cup.

197: This was the main road in to Krakow in the old days. | Planty Park is where the old city walls stood surrounding Krakow. Barbican Gates are the only remaining walls.

198: Collegium Maius (University) near old town Krakow.

200: Outskirts of old town Krakow. Views of the Vistula River.

201: Kosciuszko Mound. A man-made mound overlooking Krakow. Dirt from each of the 50 states in the US is part of this mound. It's a long ways up and Terry made it! | Our tour-guide-driver Andrew Durman was confirmed by John Paul II when he was a bishop in Poland. andrew@tour-service.pl

203: Views of Wawel Hill overlooking Krakow from the south. Here is also located the Wawel Cathedral. Fantastic chapels within.

205: The Chakra of Crakow is located in St. Gereon's Chapel in the inner courtyard of the cathedral on Wawel Hill. It is a "so-called" energy stone that provides positive energy. Both of us felt a throbbing... | Opposite page - John Paul II statue. Inner courtyard of Wawel Cathedral. Top picture a mammoth's tusk.

206: More views of Wawel Hill and Cathedral. Opposite page - Streets of Krakow.

208: Kazimierz area, the old Jewish section of Krakow. South of old town Krakow.

210: The chairs represent the images where the Jews were told they were going to a better life.

211: Opposite page - Pharmacy Under the Eagle, located in the Jewish Ghetto of Krakow. It was ran by a non-Jew. Right - Gates of Shindler's Factory where many Jews were put to work rather than the death camps.

212: Entry gates to the Steel Mills and Concrete Factories placed there by the Soviets. The dust and smells have not helped Krakow. | Middle - Andrew Durman's parish. Near the Steel Mills and Concrete Factories. He grew up in a factory town.

213: Wieliczka Salt Mine Just SE of Krakow. We went down 3 of 9 levels (135 meters). The mine operated from the 13th century through 1996.

214: It was amazing to see what these miners did! Opposite - Tim had to taste test - Not like table salt...

217: Amazing engineering feats over the past 700 + years. Today, Wieliczka Salt Mine is now only for tourists.

218: Day 2 in Krakow. Tuesday, June 5 Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps and countryside views.

219: Aushwitz I was initially a Polish Army camp the Nazis took over in 1940. There the Nazis deported Jews from all over Germany and their occupied territories and started a mass extermination. The infamous motto, Arbeit macht frei (work makes you free) was here.

220: Views of Auschwitz I

221: Museum information explaining the terrible life in Auschwitz I and then Auschwitz II - Birkenau. From 1940 to 1944 it is believed the Nazis exterminated 4,500,000 Jews in this concentration camp.

222: Exhibits at Auschwitz

224: The horrid living conditions at Auschwitz I. The Nazi's were efficient. This location was near a major rail intersection that allowed easy transport.

226: About 3km away from Auschwitz I the Nazi's built Auschwitz II - Birkenau. This was a very efficient camp based on Auschwitz I.

227: Auschwitz II - Birkenau

228: The ruins are where the gas chambers were located. The Nazi's were very careful about keeping their prisoners calm and restricted information. The Nazi's also culled the prisoners to see who was fit for slave labor in the nearby factories.

230: Below, looking out of Birkenau. All the prisoner trains came through this gate.

231: We enjoy the countryside drive back to Krakow reflecting on what we have seen today regarding human atrocities. We have finished our time in Krakow, Poland next stop is Budapest, Hungary via overnight train.

232: Budapest, Hungary Wednesday, June 6 | We are met at the train station by our tour-guide Emesa (MSA) Baliz. We head out on a 4 hour tour of Budapest by car.

233: Budapest is two cities with the Danube River running down the center. Buda is the hilly (west) side while Pest is the flat plain (east) side.

234: On the Buda side on Castle Hill near the Royal Palace. | The Royal Gallery. Opposite page - MSA with Terry near the Royal Palace.

236: Fantastic views of the Danube. The Chain Bridge and Funicular views from above. A great day to be driven around as the hills are steep.

237: On Castle Hill | Hungarian Royal Seal. | Old Roman Arches.

238: Castle Hill sights. | Matthias Church on Castle Hill.

239: On Fisherman's Bastion behind Matthias Church overlooking the Danube. | Hungarian Parliament Building.

240: More Castle Hill sights. Fisherman's Bastion - lower left.

241: More views of Matthias Church.

242: Views from the Citadella.

244: We then returned to our hotel (Opera Garden) and had a nice lunch and rested. That evening, we went on a boat ride down the Danube and saw the sights from the river.

246: More views of Budapest from the Danube.

248: Budapest, Hungary - Day 2 Thursday, June 7 Today we use public transportation and explore the Pest side.

250: Tim is looking at the Parliament Building like the other guy. | Ronald Reagan above near the US Embassy. Opposite - St. Istvan's Basilica.

252: Jewish Synagogue in the Nazi ghetto area. | St. Istvan's Basilica.

253: Jewish Synagogue and Museum.

254: More sights.

255: Our hotel was just down the block from the Opera House. Beautiful!

257: We had a fantastic tour of the Hungarian State Opera House. It was designed by Miklos Ybl and built from 1875 to 1884. It was renovated in the 1980's. We had a special treat listening to one of the opera singers. Maybe we should have attended the Opera that evening... we didn't.

258: Train to Belgrade, Serbia - Friday, June 8. Andrew (Krakow) provided Bison Grass vodka for Tim's enjoyment. | We left the Opera Hotel in Budapest, took the subway to the train station and enjoyed the day on the train watching the country-side.

259: Belgrade, Serbia Friday, June 8 Srdjan Ristic met us at the train station and we went on a quick overview of Belgrade.

260: New Belgrade (Novi Beograd). Serbia was a key part of Yugoslavia. Belgrade is on a rock overlooking the Sava and Danube River meeting.

262: The pyramid in the center of the pedestrian street just outside our hotel marks the "0" mile marker for Serbia. | The former Yugoslavia consisted of Serbia, Kosovo, Vojvodina, Bosnia - Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Starting in 1991, Yugoslavia disintegrated in the Yugoslav wars. Yugoslavia was created by the combination of the Slavic words "jug" (South) and "slaveni" (Slavs).

263: Old Roman Ruins found under the library. Belgrade (meaning white city) has been occupied by the Romans, Ottomans, Turks, and Slavs. Because of its location it has seen conflict.

266: Sava River meets Danube River.

267: This fort (Kalemegdan) at Belgrade has been the site of many battles over history. One scholar estimated that nearly 6 million people have died on this spot attacking and defending this rock. | Terry is "pinching" butt!

268: The archway denotes the start of the road from Belgrade to Istanbul. The hole is for cannons. The Serbs have converted the moats to tennis courts. Srdjan Ristic to the right. office@explore-belgrade.com

270: Josip Broz Tito held the Yugoslavs together. b.1892 -d.1980. | Tito liked his relay batons. They were provided as gifts from all over Yugoslavia.

271: Private car museum finished our tour. The former Yugoslavia was never part of the USSR. It was a socialistic state governed by Tito until his death in 1980. After his death, there were several other "little Hitlers" that tried to rule Yugoslavia without success. Thus the civil war starting in 1991. To this day, Kosovo remains contentious with Serbs.

272: Sunday, June 10. Took a taxi from Beograd Art Hotel to the train station in Belgrade. Enjoyed the train through Serbia, Croatia, Srpska, and Bosnia - Herzgovenia (BiH). BiH is very hilly. Arrived in Sarajevo in the afternoon.

273: Our tour-guide, Jadranka Suster met us at the Sarajevo train station with driver Zoltan. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) That evening, we strolled around the old town of Sarajevo in the Turkish area.

274: Monday, June 11. Sarajevo has had its share of conflict. The yellow building is the Holiday Inn where journalists reported the siege from 1992 to 1996.

275: We visited a wonderful park with natural springs. The Bosniaks were out enjoying the weather. Sarajevo has attracted international attention. In 1914 Archduke of Austria was assassinated sparking WW1. From 1992-1996 the city suffered the longest siege during the Bosnian War.

276: Roman bridge | During the Sarajevo siege, the only way for goods to enter Sarajevo was a tunnel (3,150ft long) underneath the UN controlled runway, built over 6 months in 1993. It is estimated that 20 million tons of food and 1 million people passed through it. The Serbs controlled Srpska which was on mostly high ground surrounding Sarajevo. | Map of BiH and Srpska.

277: The Sarajevo entry point of the tunnel and trolleys used to transport goods. The tunnel was 5ft tall be 3.5ft wide. | Sarajevo also hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics

278: Views of Sarajevo. Bridge to the left is where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on 28 June 1914, sparking WW1. Sarajevo hosts Muslims, Jews, Christians and Orthodox religions. The variety of architecture and markets makes the city very unique.

279: Market, shops, traders hotel, and Mosque.

282: "Rose" blood from where someone was killed by a sniper. | Hillside. | During the Bosnian War it is estimated that 12,000 were killed or missing in the city, including nearly 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 were wounded, including 15,000 children.

283: More markets. Sights of Sarajevo. | Tim learning how to drink Turkish coffee.

284: Water fountains all over for the locals. Eternal flame for the people who suffered during the siege. | New Bridge over the Miljacka River, just downstream from the WW1 spark. It is causing local controversy. Tim liked it.

285: We toured the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque. We, of course, entered through the side entrance where the women entered, not the front entrance where men enter.

286: Salah is the practice of formal worship in Islam. For Muslims of the Sunni and Ismaili Mustal persuasions, obligatory salah is prescribed at five periods of the day. These are measured according to the movement of the sun. These are: near dawn (fajr), after midday has passed and the sun starts to tilt downwards / Noon (dhuhr or uhr), in the afternoon (asr), just after sunset (maghrib) and around nightfall ('isha'). The clock tower at the Mosque was set to read 12 noon at sunset each day. Before salah, a ritual ablution is performed with water or sand if water is unavailable. For more information - wiki Salah. | Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo "Old Town"

287: We visited with a group from Denver University the evening of June 11 at Hotel Kovaci. Tuesday, June 12. Zoltan picked us up at Hotel Kovaci and we headed to the Sarajevo Train Station. Train to Zagreb, Croatia

289: Zagreb, Croatia Arrived 8pm, Tuesday, June 12 | Jelacic Square is the hub of Zagreb. We used Rick Steve's guidebook to tour Zagreb. Croatians claim to have invented the necktie. Zagreb was gearing up for World Cup Soccer. | Josip Jelacic 1801-1859 | Not lost..

291: Wednesday, June 13. From Jelacic Square up to Gradec, the Funicular was broke, so we walked up. Church of St. Catherine in white. St. Mark's with the colorful roof. And the Sabor (government house) across the square from St. Marks. Nikola Tesla was "claimed" by Croatia. Lower left opposite page is Burglar's Tower used to keep watch over Zagreb. | Naive, not a mis-spelling, Art. Showcases untrained artists of Croatia.

293: The markets in Zagreb were wonderful. The vegetables and fruit were open air, while the meats and cheeses were below. We sat and enjoyed a coffee while the Croats went about their daily shopping.

294: Time to catch the afternoon train to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Three hours away.

295: Ljubljana, Slovenia 5pm Wednesday, June 13 | Croatian countryside. | Ljubljana is a wonderful, picturesque town.

297: Varied architecture of Ljubljana. The cathedral and doors on the next page are wonderful.

299: Views from Preseren Square. Clearly the hub of Ljubljana. | Market 5pm Wednesday. | Same photo location. Market 9am Thursday.

300: Ljubljana Castle above town. This Funicular worked. Great views of Ljubljana and surrounding area.

301: Found the Fish Market in a basement next to the Ljubljanica River

304: Learned about the milk machine at the market from Minka Kahric. The farmers use this to eliminate the "middle man" and control their product directly. The milk was tasty. info@ta-meridian.si | Far Right - The toilet paper was different throughout the Slavic area. No rolls, just this tissue dispenser.

306: Friday, June 15 Today we take the train from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Zurich, Switzerland. The route takes us through the Alps. We make four transfers so we can go through Liechtenstein. At Feldkirch, Tim deviates from plan and takes the wrong train. We recover.

308: Liechtenstein Friday, June 15 Nestled in a flat plain between Austria and Switzerland. Missed train story... Tim thought the train was going to Buchs... It was coming from Buchs...

309: Zurich, Switzerland 8pm, Friday, June 15 | Our hotel is Continental Zurich, near the train station. Zurich sits at the north end of Lake Zurich.

310: Saturday, June 16. After a hearty breakfast at McDonalds ($28USD) we headed out to explore Zurich.

311: On the Fraumunster side we take the funicular up to just below the Erdwissenschaftliche Sammlungen der ETH Zurich (the University). There we find a great overlook to gain our bearings of Zurich. Then we head off down the Niederdorfstrasse, which is a pedestrian street filled with wonderful restaurants that runs parallel to the river on the east side of downtown.

312: Niederdorfstrasse

314: Tim climbed to the top of Grossmunster (a Protestant Church) and captured these fantastic views of Zurich. The steps were steep and twisty. Lower right Fraumunster Church windows done by Marc Chagall. The other windows are from St. Peterskirche.

316: Tim had way too much fun feeding the swans on Lake Zurich. | We sat in the shade and enjoyed the locals enjoying the weather on the shores of Lake Zurich for some time.

317: Saturday Flea Market near Lake Zurich. | Zurich Opera House | Amusement Park at Lake Zurich

319: More pictures of the three main churches in Zurich. St. Peterskirche has Europe's largest clock face and is just below Lindenhof hill, site of a former Roman castle. The doves are to released for a wedding taking place in the church.

320: Bahnhofstrasse (the Shopping street) runs parallel to the river on the west side. Lots of high-end stores from Lake Zurich to the train station. | The neat public fountain was a great place to refill our water bottles. | Views from Lindenhoff Hill looking east.

321: Who's cuckoo? | Locals enjoying the cool river.

322: Art? Or just a purple shoe held hostage along the Bahnhofstrasse?

323: Sunday, June 17 We walk over to the Zurich train station and head to Frankfurt, Germany. | We always had snacks we could enjoy while watching the countryside go by.

324: Frankfurt, Germany Sunday, June 17 - 3pm

325: We arrive mid-afternoon and check in to the Westin. Then a walk about starting on the Zeil. | From the Ziel (pedestrian street) we walk through the Taunusanlage (the old moat / wall) of Frankfurt and head to the River Main. Lot's of interesting sculptures.

326: The "occupy" movement was still going strong in Frankfurt. The young people looked like they were having a good time camped out in Gallusanlage near Willy-Brandt-Platz. | The River Main had lots of boats. Since it was Sunday afternoon, the locals were out in droves with their families enjoying the summer.

328: Romerberg Plaza depicted old Frankfurt as this was the center of town. All of these buildings were destroyed in WW2 and were just recently built in the 1980's.

329: Old Roman ruins. Those Romans sure seemed to ruin a lot of stuff... | Frankfurt Cathedral.

330: Left - Leinwandhaus. Above & Right - Frankfurt Cathedral near Romerberg and River Main. | Monday, June 18 We are out and about Frankfurt.

332: East facade Modern Art Museum. | On our own with a guidebook. | Escdhenheimer Tower. | Subway entrance at Bockenheimer Warte. With the Frankfurt card we rode all over town on the subways.

333: Palmengarten was purported to be a favorite park of the locals. Yes, it had lots of flower and fauna but it needed a lot of maintenance. Kinda past its prime.

334: The Frankfurt Zoo was kinda fun. Much larger than anticipated.

336: Sights of Frankfurt. Right - Eschenheimer Tower. The guy below made his lounging area part of the fountain at the end of Ziel near FreBgass.

337: The Borse. Germany's primary market for trading securities. Gotta love the bull and wrestle the bear. | Hauptwache, once a police station and prison. Now a place to eat and drink.

339: Tuesday, June 19 We take the subway from our Westin Hotel to the Frankfurt Airport. We board a non-stop flight on Condor Air back home to Las Vegas. Bye bye Europe..

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  • By: terry m.
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  • Title: Baltic Cruise and Railway trip - 2012
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  • Published: almost 4 years ago

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