S: Cruising the Baltic Sea - Book 1
BC: More to see...
FC: Cruising the Baltic Sea
1: We are at the airport waiting to start our next adventure. We have a long flight ahead of us - flying to Copenhagen Denmark to start our cruise. Looking at our schedule, we will have a wonderful time. Sept 4 - Depart Copenhagen Denmark Sept 5 - Day at Sea Sept 6 - Tallinn Estonia Sept 7 - St Petersburg Russia Sept 8 - Helsinki Finland Sept 9 - Stockholm Sweden Sept 10 - Wayne's birthday at sea Sept 11 - Back to Copenhagen Sept 12 - Head back home
2: We were able to upgrade to first class, so we were treated well. First thing, we were handed our menu to make our dinner selection. | Even for an 8 hour flight - that's a lot of food!
3: We watched the sun go down and witnessed spectacle views from the clouds above. It was like we were looking into a volcano with fiery red lava. Eventually it was all black, but just a few hours later, we were looking at the sun rise and having breakfast.
4: We were one of the first on the ship. First stop - check out our Junior Suite
5: Everything looks good - nice blue skies - even had the dog checking our produce to make sure all was good to go.
6: We lined up for the muster drill as the ship pulled away from Copenhagen | We passed a lot of windmills on our way out of the port.
7: We stayed on top deck a while watching the city go by. Later we heard the thumping of a helicopter - it landed on the ship.
8: Tallinn Estonia | We didn't know what to see or do in Tallinn, so we chose the Upper Tallinn and Kadriorg Palace excursion. We toured Tallinn's Old Town, where ancient walls and tower gates can be seen. At Tall Hermann Tower we walked up Toompea Hill to the Palace Square. Viewed the exterior of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Gothic St. Mary`s Cathedral. Then walked to the scenic viewpoint over the Lower Town rooftops. We continued the tour by bus to Kadriorg Palace, built in honour of Catherine I.
9: As we pulled into port, we noticed many colorful buildings on one side and modern glass on the other.
10: Little craft shops were lined up along the pier for our shopping pleasure as sheep were grazing nearby. We drove around the city to the old city walls.
11: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built between 1894 and 1900 | It is Tallinn's largest and grandest orthodox cathedral and is dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky who in 1242 won the Battle of the Ice. | The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral crowns the hill of Toompea where the Estonian folk hero Kalevipoeg is said to have been buried according to a legend.
12: Estonian Parliament building is across the cathedral and joins up to the old city walls.
14: St Mary's Cathedral was established by Danes in the 13th century - it's the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia. It is also the only building in Toompea which survived a 17th century fire.
15: We continued our walk on the cobblestoned streets to the highest point in Tallinn
16: Looking out over the rooftops of Old Tallinn
17: We could see the ship off in the distance. The area had little shops and small carts offering roasted nuts or hot chocolate.
20: Toompea Castle | Public toilets
21: Once we left the city walls, we found more modern buildings. Not sure why a purse was hanging out the second story window. | Pikk Hermann tower built 1360s
22: Part of the grounds of Kadriorg Palace
23: Kadriorg Palace - palace of Catherine I of Russia. After the successful siege of Reval in 1710 Peter the Great of Russia renovated a manor house for his Estonian wife Catherine.
24: The palace currently houses an art gallery.
25: The great hall with Catherine's initials and profuse stucco decor (attributed to Heinrich von Bergen) survives, but many other interiors have been altered.
26: We walked through many of the rooms that held the Russian history of the home. The pink building below is the new palace.
28: Peter the Great and Catherine
29: The fireplaces were unique with hand painted tiles. Each having the symbol of Russian royalty - double headed eagle.
33: Now it's free time to explore Tallinn on our own. We walked back toward the old town. We walked through Viru Gate - two towers - built in the 14th century. Small shops on each side offered crafts and flowers.
34: We walked to Town Hall Square which opened to a common large area. Town Hall building below dates from 1402.
35: We loved walking through the narrow passageways
36: As we made our way back to the ship - Wayne had to try out the swing. | We got back to our room and found this critter flipping through the channels.
37: St. Petersburg, Russia | We had one day to visit St Petersburg - it's not enough. We searched through our excursion and chose 'Hermitage, City Tour with Peter & Paul Fortress'. St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia, formerly the capital of Imperial Russia. The Neva River and a number of smaller rivers flow through St. Petersburg, dividing it in a series of islands connected by some 360 bridges. Former palaces line the numerous waterways and canals and onion dome cathedrals are part of the cityscape. Our papers are ready and we can't wait to explore with our tour guide!
38: We boarded our bus and drove toward the city. I noticed a lot of large apartment buildings along the way. The bridges had ornamental aspects to them. The one on the right was designed like the Eiffel Tower. I was surprised to see the advertisement for Budweiser on their buses. Guess 'this Bud's for you' in Russia as well.
39: We stopped briefly at the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The name refers to the blood of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who was assassinated on that site in 1881. The Church is prominently situated along the Griboedov Canal. On March 13, 1881, as Tsar Alexander's carriage passed along the embankment, a grenade thrown by an anarchist conspirator exploded. The tsar, shaken but unhurt, got out of the carriage and started to remonstrate with the presumed culprit. Another conspirator took the chance to explode another bomb, killing himself and mortally wounding the tsar. The tsar, bleeding heavily, was taken back to the Winter Palace where he died a few hours later. The section of the street where the assassination took place is enclosed within the walls of a church.
43: All tours were able to enter the Hermitage Museum an hour prior to opening to the public. The Hermitage occupies the Winter Palace, the winter residence of the Russian Tzars, as well as four other buildings. Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great as a private court museum, it has evolved into the most remarkable collection of art in the world, containing more than 3 million objects of unparalleled importance. We couldn't see it all! Our tour included the State Rooms, and a collection of Western European art featuring Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck (to name but a few) and also many French Impressionists.
46: The architecture of the building was amazing. Even the ceilings...
47: The Twenty-Column Hall - two rows of monolithic Serdobol granite columns give this hall its name. The capitals of the columns, the ceiling and walls are covered in painting, the motifs taken from the decoration of ancient vases. The floors stone mosaic.
49: The Pavilion Hall contains a mosaic floor which is a copy of one found during excavations of ancient Roman thermae. It also contains the large Peacock Clock (top). On the hour it would spread it's tail features and the rooster would crow.
50: Many ornate tables were in this room. They appeared to be painted, but it was mosaic. The one to the left was the card table.
52: As we walked through the Hermitage, we had to look on the ceiling as well as the walls for masterpieces.
53: Two works by one of the greatest Renaissance masters - Leonardo da Vinci. The Benois Madonna, one of the artist's undisputed creations, and The Litta Madonna.
54: Rapahel's Conestabile Madonna (1504) and Holy Family or Madonna with the Beardless Joseph (1505-06) | A Crouching Boy Michelangelo Buonarroti
55: The Loggias created for Catherine II in the 1780s was the celebrated gallery in the Vatican Palace in Rome that was frescoed from sketches by Raphael. The vaults of the gallery contain a cycle of paintings on subjects from the Holy Scriptures, that are collectively known as "Raphael's Bible". The walls are decorated with grotesque ornament, the motifs of which appeared in Raphael's painting under the influence of murals in the "grottos" - the ruins of the Golden House (the 1st-century palace of Emperor Nero).
56: The Death of Adonis by Giuseppe Mazzuola
57: Ahead of the time - the building seems larger from one side and as you walk by it appears smaller.
59: St George Hall is the setting for official ceremonies and receptions. Above the throne dais is a bas-relief of St George slaying the dragon. | The detail on the parquet floor matched the ceiling decorations
61: We walked through some rooms to take in the sites. The Winter Palace consists of several buildings and we could see the yellow building that circles the Winter Palace.
65: We were surprised to see a warning sign about the river. Most surprising was how they parked all over the sidewalk.
66: Lunch was good - salad, chicken soup, smothered chicken, pudding, champagne and of course Russian vodka.
68: The only statue of Catherine I in Russia. | Taxi?
69: Look out spot along the Neva river. Notice the wedding party in the background? It's tradition to go to all the historical places for photos.
70: We stopped along a spot on the river Neva. We could see the Hermitage (Winter Palace) and St Peter and Paul Cathedral.
71: The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress | It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Zayachy Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally built under Peter the Great. The cathedral houses the remains of almost all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great and Catherine the Great to Nicholas II and his family who were finally laid to rest in July 1998.
74: The tombs have the double headed eagle on the corner to represent royalty
76: After a long day of sightseeing, we made it back to the ship. Even the towel animal was exhausted.
77: We had a day at sea to rest. Even the dog worked on a Sudoku puzzle.
78: Porvoo & Helsinki Highlights With Lunch excursion - This tour included some of the main sights of the Helsinki City Tour, Sipoo Old Church and a visit to Porvoo, the second oldest town in Finalnd. Lunch was served at the outskirts of Porvoo, at the Kiala Manor. | Helsinki Finland
79: As I stepped across the street to take a picture of Sipoo Old Church, Wayne took a picture of me and the newer church.
81: This church is one of the oldest granite churches in the country. It was built early in the 15th century.
82: Porvoo is one of the six medieval towns in Finland, first mentioned as a city in texts from 14th century.
83: We climbed the cobblestone hill to the central point of the old town. Above the town is the medieval, stone and brick Porvoo Cathedral which gave its name to the Porvoo Communion – an inter-church agreement between a number of Anglican and Lutheran denominations.
87: We had lunch at Kiala Manor and Distillery.
89: The grounds had the old manor house, brewery and old dairy barn.
90: After lunch we drove back to Helsinki and visited the Rock Church. The Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church) was completed in 1969. It was built entirely underground and has a ceiling made of copper wire. The architects chose a rocky outcrop rising about 40 feet above street level, and blasted out the walls from the inside.
91: Helsinki Central railway station - The station is mostly clad in Finnish granite, and its distinguishing features are its clock tower and the two pairs of statues holding the spherical lamps
92: Uspenski Cathedral was built between 1862-1868 and the largest orthodox church in Western Europe | The large icebreaker ships are ready for winter
93: Helsinki Cathedral | The church was originally built as a tribute to the Grand Duke, Nicholas I, the Tsar of Russia and until the independence of Finland in 1917, it was called St. Nicholas' Church. A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Helsinki, with a tall green dome surrounded by four smaller domes, the church was built in 1830–1852, in neoclassical style.
95: Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral and the statue of Emperor Alexander II of Russia
96: Global Bear of Ethics & Golden Rule Bear | Large display of bears called United Buddy Bears - The Art of Tolerance. An idea on its tour around the world! "We have to get to know each other better ... ... it makes us understand one another better, trust each other more, and live together more peacefully." Under this motto, the United Buddy Bears promote living together in peace and harmony on their global tour. Around 140 Buddy Bears (each 2 m tall) represent as many countries recognized by the United Nations.
97: Norway | Sweden | Finland | Denmark | Russia | The Buddy Bears stand together hand in hand in a peaceful circle, promoting tolerance and under-standing among different nations, cultures and religions. We walked around the bears and found each country we visited on this trip - and ones that we have visited or will visit soon. | The US and Great Britian were easy to spot.
98: On the way back to the ship, we past by the Naked Woman statue.
99: Love the dog - we added it to our collection. | We still have lots to see - two more stops - Stockholm Sweden and Copenhagen Denmark.