Baltic cruise , part 2

We got to spend 2 days in St. Petersburg.  You cannot leave the ship unless you have booked a tour or have applied for a visa.  The last time we were here it was 1990 and it was called Leningrad.  There were hardly any tourists when we were here, now you can hardly find space to move in the big attractions.  We went to the Hermitage (the former Winter Palace of the czars).  The palace is huge and filled with priceless art.  This is the grand entrance staircase. 2018 Baltic cruise Hermitage stairway  Everywhere in the palace there is gold leaf and white walls.

2018 Baltic cruise Hermitage Museum ballroom

The ballroom

Here is a marble statue that I believe is called three sisters.2018 Baltic cruise Hermitage Museum 3 sisters

And of course, here is the throne where the czars sat when receiving dignitaries. 2018 Baltic cruise Hermitage throne

We saw lots of churches with gold leaf accents.2018 Baltic cruise St. Petersburg church

2018 Baltic cruise church JesusAnd more Romanov palaces; the top 1% of the Russian monarchy lived very rich lives.

Here is Peterhof, one of the summer palaces used by the royal family.  It is known for its many fountains and lovely gardens.  It was built by Peter the Great in the 18th century.

2018 Baltic cruise Peterhof fountain

 

2018 Baltic cruise Peterhof fountain 2

2018 Baltic cruise peterhof Adam fountair

And a small resident who was keeping a watchful eye on us .

2018 Baltic cruise Peterhof squirrel faceThe last palace that we saw was the Catherine Palace, another summer palace that the royal family enjoyed.2018 Baltic cruise Catherine Palace frontI want to end this blog on St. Petersburg with the end of the Romanov family.  In 1917 Czar Nicholas II and his entire family were shot to death in a basement in a house in Siberia.  We saw where the burnt remains of the family are interred.2018 Baltic cruise Romanov's graveA sad ending for the royal family.

Here is a photograph of our family group.  It was so much fun to do this together.2018 Baltic cruise St Petersburg familyWe went on to visit Helsinki in Finland and our final stop was Stockholm, Sweden.  There was one more day at sea to recover and then we were back in Copenhagen.  Some of us flew home, some of us flew to Paris and David and I flew to London to start our first pet and house sit.  I am afraid the photos stopped in Russia because my camera broke. I just got a new camera in England and so the blog will continue with photos as we begin our English adventures.

Baltic cruise, part 1

We went on a family Baltic cruise a week ago.  We were on the lovely Regal Princess and traveled from Copenhagen to Oslo , Germany , Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. We had a great time.   I am going to divide this trip into two blogs and this part 1 will include Oslo to Tallinn.

We (two sisters and five other relatives) spent 4 days before the cruise in Copenhagen before we got on the ship.  Copenhagen was lovely but so expensive.   We were shocked at the prices and were kind of happy to get on the ship and start saving money.  We had  drinks and appetizers on our balcony.  My sister Sandi shared a cabin  with us.2018 Baltic cruise david sandi.jpgThe next day we landed in Oslo, Norway.  David and I decided to spend the afternoon in one place; the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.  It is a museum of cultural history with extensive collections of artifacts from all social groups and all regions of the Norway. It also incorporates a large open air museum with more than 150  historical buildings, relocated from towns and rural districts.  It was interesting to see how these remarkable and clever people lived through the harsh winters.

2018 Norway to Oslo ocean 5x7

The ship arriving in Oslo

2018 Baltic cruise Oslo Norwegian dancers

Norwegian folk dancers

The oldest building in the park is the Gol Stave church. The church has been dated to the years from 1157 to 1216. 2018 Baltic cruise Gol Stave church roof

2018 Baltic cruise Gol Stave church full

Here is a farmhouse from around 1750;  2018 Baltic cruise Oslo old farmhouseWe walked around the entire museum and are feet were very happy to take the ferry back to Oslo and to walk back to the ship.

Then we had a sea day to rest and recover;  Sandi and I went to the gym but it was small and very crowded.  The rest of the day we spent filling in our travel journals from all the adventures we had had in Copenhagen. Warnemunde, Germany was our next stop.  We had signed up for a small private tour that took use in a bus to Schwerin castle in the countryside.  It was a fairy tale castle set in a lovely garden.2018 Baltic cruise Schwerin castle

We also saw the city of Rostock which has a famous astronomical clock that has been running since 1472.2018 Baltic cruise Rostock astronomical clockIt was a wonderful tour but there was not much time to take photographs.  We had another sea day to finish our travel journals before starting the big push of five port days in a row.

We landed the next day  in Tallinn, Estonia.  Tallinn has an intact medieval old town that is enchanting, except when there are 3 cruise ships in port that disgorged 8,000 tourists.  This was so disappointing because it was so crowded.  We had to wait in line for 30 minutes to use the 3 toilets available for women and men.  We have decided that we would like to go back to Tallinn in the late fall when there are far less people to ruin it.

2018 Baltic cruise Tallinn dragon 2

A dragon gargoyle on Tallinn city hall

2018 Baltic cruise Tallinn church

A mosaic from a church in Tallinn

Here is a photo of the Tallinn presidential palace.  We walked right up to it; there are no barriers just 2 guards protecting their female president.2018 Baltic cruise Tallinn presidental palace

To be continued…

We fly to Copenhagen today

We are off to Copenhagen today from LAX.  Our dear son and his love will be taking care of the house and doggie.  We will be on a family cruise to the Baltic states starting next Saturday.  So excited about going back to this part of Europe.  Because we will be on a cruise ship and there is very little internet I will be posting when I can.  I am sure I will have lots of photos to post of our adventures.

 

After the cruise we will be going to London to begin to pet and house sit in England for 3 months.  It will be fun to meet new people and to resit for 2 of our families from last year.  Bon Voyage and I will be posting soon.

Doing some Pet sitting in California

We took care of two sweet kitties last month for a week near La Jolla, California. Here is a photo of Eddie. _DSC0597 It was a nice break from the house and the routine.  The sea lions, seals and cormorants were all having babies in La Jolla this February.  We drove down to see them.  Here are some sea lions who are lying on the rocks in the sun.  sea lions la jolla Feb 2018 netsea lion nursing feb 2018And here is a mom still nursing her pup.

Here is a photograph of a cormorant sitting on her just hatched babies.  I love seeing new born  animals in a natural environment. bandt cormornds nest feb 2018 netThis is an interesting adjunct to pet sitting in Europe.  There are people in the USA who want pet sitters too.  We have another pet sit lined up for Portland next month for 6 days with 2 sweet kitties.

I am lining up our summer pet sitting schedule and it is almost finished.  We have two people that we sat for last summer who we will sit for again.  Plus 4 other new people to meet and some new pets to love.  We will go on the Baltic cruise then pet sit until the beginning of Oct.  It should be another fun summer.

We are home and getting ready to go back to Europe

I have not posted in a while because being at home is not that interesting.  We have gotten around to all of our doctor appointments and we are healthy and ready to hit the road again.

We have been doing household improvements since we have decided to keep the house for a while.

The new plan is a family Baltic cruise in June and then to stay on in Europe until October or November of 2018 and cruise home.

I am so excited.  I will keep you informed of our progress. Mac our dog is very happy that we are home. destination England 2 I have been working on some travel journals to sell in my etsy shop ( www.etsy.com/shop/LDphotography)  and I will probably post some information as I prepare my travel journal for this summer.  I make up my travel journal ahead of time so all I have to take with me is the journal,  water color pencils, glue, tape and scissors. destination Scotland 2