Sunday, October 11, 2015

Family Reunion on Ocean Princess

The six of us had a wonderful time cruising through the Baltic Sea.  We started and ended at Dover, and made port calls at Amsterdam, Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Riga, Klaipeda, and Copenhagan.  Tom has posted some pictures from his camera, and added nice narratives to document the trip:  I am adding some pictures from my camera.

Amsterdam:  I took a walk with Ed first, then took a canal cruise with Dean and Maria.


This is my second time visiting the city.  So I decided to walk about a bit then go to the history museum.  Tom and Janice went to the Palace museum.  Dean and Maria went on a mission to find two bottles of wine.  Ed went on to the Vasa museum.

Dean, Maria, and Ed certainly got all caught up with updating their smart phones with free Wi-Fi outside a cafe.


We had a very nice local guide whose name is Margaret.  She led a walking tour of upper town for us.  Then Tom, Ed and I did a bit walking at the lower town on our own.

 St Petersburg:
Dean, Maria, and Ed are visiting this city for the first time.  So they signed up fully with the excursions provided by Princess, and had a wonderful time.  The rest of us have visited the city before and decided to just join a canal cruise and a folk dancing and singing evening performance.
We tried to take some pictures in front of the Hermitage museum:


Ed and I walked all over town for hours.  We saw buildings, cafes, churches, parks, statues, canal, train and bus, the famous black cat on the roof, little children, and also, many deserted buildings.  This is certainly a city with old scars.


There was a time we were not sure which direction to turn, and stopped by for some coffee, cake and direction:
When we all went back and ready for our dinner at the Italian restaurant, some of us were quite tired.  But the dinner was rich and delicious.


Klaipeda is the third largest city but the only port of Lithuania to the Baltic Sea.  It was not too impressive, but has interesting sculptures.  Tom and Ed actually walked to the Sculpture Garden. Janice and I joined a Princess's excursion to tour the city, visiting a brewery,  to sample some local beer, and to see the ruin of an old castle - Castle Museum. Dean and Maria walked around the old town.



It was about 20 years ago when I first visited Copenhagen, and I entered the city from land.  This time coming from the sea gave me a different perspective.  First there were all those wind mills sticking out from the sea.  According to the guide, they have already been making money with very good payback even though the maintenance is a bit more difficult.
Then there was the tunnel bridge:
Tom and Ed decided to walk on their own to explore places that they have not been in previous visit of the city.  Dean and Maria went on a hop on hop off bus for the tour of the city. Janice and I joined a Princess excursion to visit the Kronborg Castle and the Frederikborg Castle,
The drive northward was quite pleasant.  We passed areas being called as Danish Riviera.
Some nice water front properties:
.The Kronborg Castle was built as a fortress in the 16th century to defend the kingdom of Denmark.  It was used as the setting for Shakespeare's "Hamlet"
The castle was once used as a toll booth.  No ship can pass unless the toll was paid, or get shot at.
We stopped at the Royal Family's residence and took a picture.  Bush had once paid a visit here.
The Frederiksborg Castle showed the magnificent Dutch Renaissance style, and now is a historical museum with an outstanding collection.


 When we say good-bye to Copenhagen, we are ready to head back to Dover, and say good-bye to the wonderful reunion.  Good-bye, Copenhagen.

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