Baltic Cruise

The Baltic cruise included capitals surrounding the Baltic Sea including Saint Petersburg.   Cruise included many ports but by far the highlight was Saint Petersburg .as evidenced by the last three blog posts.  This post covers the cruise and ports other than St. Petersburg.

We flew from Moscow to Copenhagen, where we embarked on the Regal Princess and 12 day journey.  Our kids lived in Copenhagen a long time ago and I fully expected a 5 year old grandson to still be at the airport waiting and happy to jump into my arms. He is now 15 and lives in Qatar, but a person never really forgets these things. Copenhagen is still beautiful, bike lanes in full use and the weather was cold and rainy; so no pictures.

Oslo was the first stop. The boat moored right next to the Akerhus Fortress, steps from the downtown area. Oslo, famous for Vikings and Viking ships and Thor Heyerdahl for Kon Tiki and the Ra. Thor Heyerdahl gained worldwide fame when he crossed the Pacific Ocean on this balsa wood raft in 1947.  He was trying to prove the theory that the south sea islands were originally colonized by South Americans.  We knew the theory from the peoples of Easter Island who believed they originated in Peru.  Thor later built a reed boat “Ra II” and sailed it from Morocco to Barbados.  Thor wanted to prove this type of vessel could cross the Atlantic Ocean using only the current and trade winds.  This amazing man was truly and Adventurer (Capital A) and the wanderer in us got to see “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say.

Warnemunde Germany, a gateway to Berlin was another stop.  We opted to stay near the port city and made a trip to the town of Schwerin and its Schwerin Castle.  The Market Square at the center of the Old Town is proudly guarded by a statue of Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony.  The column on which the lion sits depicts scenes from his reign. One of the more curious scenes features several people’ pants pulled down to reveal their buttocks in what came to be known as the “bottom parade.”  It seems that when Henry arrived to conquer the town, it’s residents mooned him in order to show their contempt!

The town has a lovely pond and the cathedral sits along its edge, it was made in a Brick Gothic style.  Build in 1260 – 1416 it is the oldest building in the entire city.  It was not damaged in World War II because the townspeople took it upon themselves to climb on the roof during the bombing and throw off any shells that landed on it.

The Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It actually sits on its very own island, surrounded by gardens and a park. During Communism (this castle is in the former East Germany) it was turned into a public building and it currently serves as the State Parliament for the German State of Mecklenburg and a museum showing the public rooms of the Duke, including his throne room.  It was stunning.

Tallin, Estonia on the Gulf of Finland retains its walled, cobblestoned Old Town, and it’s 15th-century defensive tower.  The architecture remains one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. It survived this way because it was part of Russia and not a strong defensive position.  For a birds-eye view of the city, we went to the observation deck overseeing the entire city.

Helsinki and Stockholm were not camera days for us. Some days it is good to just roam and not be a tourist.

We disembarked in Copenhagen and the same day flew to Paris.  Stay tuned for blog posts of Paris and Normandy.