Day 29 – 9/24 – New York, NY, USA

Early this morning we sailed into our final port – New York, past the Statue of Liberty.

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Even early on a Saturday, the city is lit up.

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Perhaps the worst part of any cruise is the end – not just because it is over, but because the debarkation process is usually a pain.  Maybe because it is primarily driven by the passport control process.  The process begins the night before when you have to have all of your luggage packed and outside your cabin shortly after dinner – some times this can present some logistical problems, particularly if you pack all of your clothes, not remembering to leave out the ones you intend to wear off the ship.  By 8:00 in the morning you are asked to be completely out of your cabin.  Depending on when your “group” is called, it may be 11:00 by the time you get off the ship – so there is a lot of jockeying around for spots to in which to wait.  When at last your group is called, you exit the ship into a big warehouse full of luggage (supposedly arranged by group) and find your luggage and hopefully a porter (they are all longshoremen members of the ILA) and queue up for passport and customs.  Regardless of the amount of your luggage – get a porter – their knowledge of the process is worth the tip.  Bus trip to La Guardia, wait for the flight – and back to DFW and the land of omnipresent cell and internet service.

As always – I close with my favorite travel picture and quote.

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It Doesn’t Matter Where or How You Go – It’s Who Is by Your Side!

Day 27 – 9/22 – Boston, USA

After five days at sea we docked in Boston at was once a Navy facility, and is now being converted into office space.

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Five days at sea may seem like quite a long stretch, but they are great opportunities to rest, relax and recharge.  Also, the ship changes its menu of on board of entertainment to include lectures on a variety of topics such as a question and answer session with the Captain, a presentation by the chief engineer, a session on anger management, several sessions on the history of medicine, navigation at sea, etc.  Between attending these and getting caught up on the blog, the time flew by.  Our avoidance of all things “Titanic” in Ireland paid off – we sailed across the Atlantic with nary an iceberg in sight and without incident.

In Boston, before we could get off of the ship we had to have a face to face Passport inspection.  There was one line for US citizens and one for foreign nationals, and I had not realized what a minority we Americans were on this voyage – I would say it is 80% foreign nationals.  This probably accounts for the variety of food in the buffets – baked beans for breakfast, etc.

It is always a shock when we get back to the US and suddenly our phones come alive with voice mails, messages and calls.

All three of us having been to Boston several times before, we elected to do a circuit on the hop a bus (big surprise), have lunch and come back early in the afternoon.

Boston’s version of the hop a bus The Old Town trolley, picked us up at the ship.

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A very short distance from the dock, we passed the Boston Convention center.

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As we crossed the bridge into Boston, we passed the “Tea Party” experience commemorating the Boston Tea Party where the colonists refused to purchase tea arriving from Great Britain because of the excessive tax on the tea, and threw 2 tons of it into the harbor.

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Boston’s historic North End is Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood.  in revolutionary times – the home of Paul Revere, the Old North Church, and many other significant sites.

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In Charleston can be found the USS Constitution, which is now in dry dock for repairs, and the Bunker Hill Monument – patterned after the Washington Monument.

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Coming back into Boston, we crossed the Charleston Bridge with a good view of the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge.

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And the Garden – Home of the Boston Bruins Hockey Team.

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We next headed on Beacon Street to the back bay area.  This area, a former swamp was filled in in the 1800s and became one of the premier neighborhoods in the city.

It is the home to the bar that was used for the outside “location” of “Cheers”, although all of the interior scenes were shot on a sound stage in Los Angeles.

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Here is some typical Back Bay architecture.

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At the western end of the Back Bay is the famous Fenway Park – home of the Boston Red Sox.  This ball park was built before auto traffic was an issue, so there is no parking in the area.  Some businesses, on game day, make several thousand dollars, charging up to $75 to park a car.

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This neighborhood, across from Boston Commons, on Beacon Hill, contains the most expensive real estate in Boston – some dating from the 1700s.

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The Massachusetts State House – across from the Commons.

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The Old South Meeting House, was a gathering point during revolutionary times.

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We completed the circuit and hopped off – making our way up to The Old State House, which was the site many events during the revolutionary period.  Prior to independence, it was headquarters of the British Commander.  It was the site of the Boston “Massacre”, and after the war, the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston for the first time from this balcony.

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This marks the spot where 5 colonists were shot by British Soldiers in 1770 – known as the “Boston Massacre”.  As a side note, John Adams was the Attorney defending the British soldiers and he got three of the five exonerated.

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We headed into Quincy Market and discovered a “Cheers” replica, where we enjoyed lunch.

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We hopped back on, for the brief ride to the ship – and spent the afternoon resting.

We got a great sail away picture of Boston as we left the harbor.

Headed to New York, and then home.

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Tina’s Take

I enjoyed the tour of the Boston area and learning the history.  It reminded me of Philly in the importance the city played in our early history.  That Sam Adams, John Adams and Paul Revere were quite the instigators back in the day.  I did enjoy getting a Yuengling which is impossible to get in Texas.  YUM!  Got some Lobster Sleeping pants and talked to the Roomies and then was ready to get back on the ship.  During our cruise through the Atlantic, I finally settled down into a non-internet relaxation state and became very enamored with the “afternoon” nap.  When I got home from Boston, I enjoyed my nap and was ready for my next day at sea! 

Day 21 – 9/16 – Cobh, Ireland (the port for Cork)

The small town of Cobh, serves as the port for Cork, which about 30 miles away.  This is one of those ports that we can dock right in the center of town, making the logistics of getting on and off the ship quite nice.

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We walked around the town for a few minutes and then, in the absence of a hop a bus, settled for the local train ride.

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Given that Cobh is quite hilly, rising straight up from the seashore, the train was quite an advantage.

These houses are called “The Pack of Cards” locally because it is said that if one fell over, they would all go.  They were built in the mid 1800s.

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The Cobh Cathedral, built in the 1800s is still an active Catholic Church.

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This is a tribute to a famous local boxer – Jack Doyle

 

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He also has a popular local pub named in his honor.

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Speaking of which, the little town is full of pubs.

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In 1915, a German U Boat attacked and sunk the liner Lusitania, believing that it was carrying arms to Britain.  The liner went down a few miles off the coast of Cobh, and many survivors as well as victims were brought ashore here.  This is a monument for those lost on the ship.

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There is a strong emphasis on the “Titanic” connection here in Cobh, as in Belfast.  On its fatal crossing, Titanic stopped here before crossing the Atlantic, taking on passengers and offloading mail.  Once again we passed on diving into the Titanic experience.

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On the main street is a tribute to another local hero, Sonia O’Sullivan, Olympic medal winner.

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In the afternoon, Sally and Tina took off on a tour to Cork.  An example of the wider streets in Cork.

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A famous store in Cork.

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They just got a “drive by” long distance shot of Blarney Castle, in the background beyond the owner’s private residence.

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The Blarney Woolen Mills at Blarney Castle.

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The Heineken Brewery, with the Cathedral in the background.

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They rejoined the ship about 10  minutes before we sailed.

We leave this enchanting little town, and set out across the Atlantic – 5 days to Boston.

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Tina’s Take

Loved this little cute town.  The train was a bonus for running around the place and after a thorough run through with pictures and one of the BEST Bailey’s and Coffees we have ever had on this trip or at home  (And Mom and I are experts on tasting the Bailey’s and Coffee to ensure a proper quality control) we were ready for our next adventure in Ireland.  In this vein, Mom and I continued on to Cork and into Blarney’s Castle territory to have some more Irish Coffee and do a little shopping.  The Blarney Woolen Mills shopping area was huge and we scoured around for close to two hours and came away with some scores but alas most of what was there would kill people from heat exhaustion.  The sweaters, the coats, the material all were so heavy and thick that they were totally unpractical for Texas.  We got our goods though and scampered back to the ship for some relaxing days at Sea!!

Day 20 – 9/15 – Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland (the part of Ireland that belongs to the U.K.).  It was founded in the 17th century and prospered, becoming famous for its linens and shipyards.  More recently, Belfast has rebounded from years of political strife known locally as the “troubles”.  Though I am sure I am oversimplifying, the “troubles” basically were strife between pro United Kingdom protestants and pro Irish Catholics.  They ended with a treaty in 1998, but the signs of strife are everywhere, and one gets the feeling all is not permanently resolved.

Another item that Belfast is famous for is the shipyard that built and launched the Titanic.  We are docked directly across from the shipyard from which it was launched.

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A part of the old shipyards has been converted to a movie studio and sound stage and is the home of “Game of Thrones”.

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We caught the ship’s shuttle in to the city center and it dropped us off at Belfast City Hall.

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We bought tickets from one of the hop a bus companies, and then learned it would be 45 minutes before the first bus left, so we had time to do some shopping.

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Once we boarded the bus, it didn’t take our guide long to begin discussing the “Troubles”.  Every time she mentioned  it, she followed up with a statement that “everything is better now and it is all behind us” but you got the feeling that there is a sense of wishful thinking, and the underlying problems are not resolved.  There are definite protestant areas of town, flying Union Jack flags from houses, pubs and light poles – marking the territory as being pro British.

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Other areas are marked with the Irish tri-color – showing showing support for having the 6 counties of Northern Ireland joining The Republic of Ireland.

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In each respective area there are dozens of murals on walls and businesses commemorating the fallen heroes of their side and making political statements that were hard for me to understand – too much insider information.

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These are all quite colorful, and some quite poetic – but one should remember the thousands of people who died in this conflict – almost all civilians.

These walls were put up to separate catholic and protestant neighborhoods, when the residents had begun firebombing houses of the “other” side.  Though the peace was signed in 1998, the residents have consistently voted in recent referendums that they want the walls to stay.

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Even in the city center, walls had to be put up surrounding the city offices to prevent the constant bombings, which at their height numbered 2 or 3 a week!

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Our guide said that one very optimistic sign was that since the peace, they have started to build glass buildings, which would never have been attempted during the bombings.

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This hospital was dedicated by Prince Charles, who commented that it was an “ugly” building.  In typical Irish fashion , it is now known to the locals as Camilla.

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As we drove out toward the suburb of Holywood (Rory Mcilroy’s home) we passed the airport, named after soccer star George Best.

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This is Stormont, designed to hold Northern Ireland’s Parliament.  It was closed during the troubles, as all parliamentary functions were performed in London.

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The area around the former Harland and Wolff Shipyard (builders of Titanic) is now called Titanic Quarter and is being developed as a tourist area, anchored by the Titanic Exhibit.  As much as it was touted, we just couldn’t get any enthusiasm for a visit, right before we do an Atlantic crossing.

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A fascinating city, and if they truly have put their troubles behind them, they will have a bright future.

Now, on to Cobh, Ireland.

 

Tina’s Take

 

Belfast was very interesting.  The tour guide was very thorough in describing both the burgeoning city growth and the “troubles” as they were called.  We got to see how close the neighborhoods were that were at each other’s throat and how much of the dialog between the two is still an ongoing process.  This dialog is through the murals that run up and down the peace wall and in the neighborhoods.  We also saw the new glass buildings right up against the thick blast walls of two decades ago.  It was surreal and very interesting.  Dad is right about the Titantic – there were tours everywhere.  I can think of nothing I want to do RIGHT before taking the Atlantic crossing ourselves.  *heebie jeebies*  In other news we did find a Dr. Marten store and am coming home with several pairs of souvenirs.  S C O R E!

Day 19 – 9/14 – Glasgow, Scotland

Our ship docked at Greenock, on the River Clyde, about 15 miles outside of Glasgow.

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After discussing both Glasgow and Edinburgh with Tina, who has been to both, we elected to take the two hour bus ride from our port, in Greenock, to Edinburgh to see the castle.  We drove first through Paisley, Scotland, famous as the ancestral home of my friend Valerie Williams, and also as the place that the “Paisley” cloth pattern originated.  We then passed through Glasgow crossing the Clyde River.

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We have been so lucky with the weather – no rain and mostly sunny days – it looks like Scotland will be our weather downfall, with rain in the forecast.

The trip passes quickly and in no time we are headed into the city center of Edinburgh, the nations capital.  As if on cue, a gentle rain starts and the clouds reach ground, creating fog with rain.   The bus drops us at Waterloo Place in the center of town and we commence our walk to Edinburgh Castle.

A hotel/restaurant on North Bridge Street, the main route to High Street which leads to the castle.

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At the corner of North Bridge and High Street we turn right to begin the walk up to the castle.  This turn adds a cold, strong wind to the fog and rain – we feel like genuine Scots!

The section of High Street is known as the “Royal Mile”, and it is not clear whether the name is derived from the presence of Royal functions, such as the courts, the treasury, etc., or is derived from the hundreds of shops along the stretch of road.

The Royal Mile – the cobblestones of High Street heading up to the castle.

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Step one – load up on some Pounds Sterling for this port and the next one in Northern Ireland.

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As we make our way up toward the castle we pass dozens of shops selling woven goods and single malt Scotch whiskey plus a goodly number of pubs.

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A little local color.

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At the end of the Royal Mile – we reach the castle.

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Edinburgh Castle is built on a natural volcanic rock uplift.  While human habitation of the area has been traced back 3,000 years, and has been a fortified location since the iron age.  It has been a royal center since 1093.  Edinburgh became the capital of Scotland by the 1300s, and the castle became the Royal Palace in the 1400s when occupied by James III.  At the other end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood House, developed by James V as a more comfortable Royal residence, which caused the castle to be used primarily for military purposes.  The castle was central to the Wars of Independence (1296-1356) and wars in the 1540s, 1570s, and 1600s.  It later became an army garrison and housed Oliver Cromwell’s troops.

 

The castle is home to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held for three weeks every August, initially established to display military bands of of pipes and drums, it is now one of the worlds great spectacles attended annually by over 220,000.  The temporary stands were being taken down at the time we approached the castle.

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Bit of a queue to get in.

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Edinburgh from the castle wall.

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An arms display in the Great Hall.

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On our way back down the Royal Mile we stopped at one of the mills to pick up some Tartan gifts.

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We strolled back to the bus pick up point, caught the bus back to Greenock and boarded the boat, headed for Belfast.

 

Tina’s Take:

I love love love Edinburgh.  I have been with Ru, my business partner, several times and once we discovered that my parents had never seen it, I voted heavily for this port.  The weather was a bit misty and cool but I haven’t been to this magical city when the weather was perfect.  We toured up the Royal Mile and shopped a bit then on to the Castle.  I got extra points for going all the way to the top and we toured around.  After a bite to eat, more shopping and then some more shopping, we headed back to our coach and the boat.  We didn’t see as much as Edinburgh has to offer but we took advantage of the time we had to give my parents the flavor.  We drove through Glasgow as well and got a bit of that flavor.  I always want more time in Scotland and perhaps we will have to do just a trip around this area one time soon.

Day 17 – 9/12 – Bergen, Norway

A couple hundred miles from Kristiansand, on the western coast of Norway, lies Bergen.  Originally a Viking trading port, it was founded by Viking King Olaf Kyrre in 1070 A.D.  The town grew as a trading port, and in 1360 it became part of the German Hanseatic League, a merchant guild that controlled all trade in Northern Europe.  Until the middle of the 19th century this trade made Bergen the largest city in Scandinavia.  It is now second in size in Norway to Oslo.

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Our ship docked at a container port and passengers were not allowed to walk into town – a shuttle bus was provided.  The shuttle bus dropped us off at the old dependable hop a bus location, and we hopped on.  Note the Viking hop a bus.

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Here are some shots of Bergen as we toured around – I don’t always know for sure what each building is, but I include them anyway.

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Bergen has a Funicular that goes to the top of Mt. Floien, overlooking the city, and we decided to hop off the bus and ride it to the top.

 

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The views of Bergen from the top were spectacular.

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Particularly the view of our ship.

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It wouldn’t be Norway without a Troll.

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We rode down the hill and re-boarded the hop a bus, traveling down to the seafront.

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A first for us to see – A Segway tour.

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At the seafront.

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Time for a refreshment break before heading back to the ship.

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The lighthouse at the head of the fjord on our way out of Bergen.

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On to Scotland,

Tina’s Take

Bergen…what to say about Bergen.  It was a city.  We enjoyed the Funicular although the line to get to it was enlightening.  It always surprises me when people queue up and you can hear the whining and the make of character.  No one LOVES a line but some of these people you thought were being tortured. We did enjoy the shopping front which was the old town of Bryggen.  If you look carefully the storefronts are all leaning slightly from an accident in port a few centuries ago.  After a refreshing pint, we cruised the fish market and I got some strange sausages and we toddled home to the ship.  On to SCOTLAND.

Day 16 – 9/11 – Kristiansand, Norway

When I saw this port on the itinerary, grouped with Oslo, Stockholm, Glasgow, etc – I thought, “what is this place”?  The only port which I had never heard of, turned out to be a charming little town, with lots of art work, a beautiful park on the seaside and a striking absence of shops selling plastic Viking helmets and gnomes.  It was not just because it was Sunday morning and they would have been closed – there weren’t any.

Originally a Viking military stronghold, Danish king Christian IV founded the town and named it after himself, with the “sand” being added because of the sandy beaches in the area.  For many years Kristiansand prospered as an exporter of timber and dried fish.  In 1940 the town was almost destroyed when German naval forces attacked and occupied the city.

There was a small shack that contained information about the area.

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It appears to me that Kristiansand is enthusiastically working to attract the cruise ship trade – they are tearing down a warehouse on the pier, surely to be replaced by a cruise terminal.  There is a large, modern performance theater near the pier.  The harbor area has been completely renovated, turning maritime and fishing facilities into office space, small hotels and restaurants.

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Just past this charming seafront area, was a park, adjoining a marina – the park was filled sculpture, flowers, and fountains.

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The creative theme even carried over to the playground equipment.

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As has been the norm everywhere in Scandinavia, not all of the sculpture is immediately understandable.  These were made of sand.

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At the end of the park was this fort – with its cannons still pointed to sea – the information stated that the cannons were fired in anger only once, during a British blockade.

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Leaving the waterfront area, we explored the small town area.  Father and daughter explore the cobblestone streets.

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Kristiansand is quite different from the normal cruise port of call – but thoroughly enjoyable and quite picturesque.

Tina’s Take

The night before we landed here Dad went to bed at an early hour after discovering that I was not indeed in jail in Oslo.  Getting up early, we went into Kristiansand.  I loved this little picturesque town and quite enjoyed jaunting around in it.  I had no idea this is not the normal port.  Future ports taught me that this little town is unique in it’s quaintness and in it’s quietness. We had the place to ourselves for most of the morning and then when the ship’s crowds started showing up we went back on board and watched everyone from up top.  My favorite thing about this place turned out to not be true but I will always remember Kristiansand for it’s spa-like smell.  Mom and I were amazed at the Juniper, Pine and spicy smell we found when we went outside on our deck.  It was amazing and the wind blowing in the trees made us think that we were in a little heaven-scented spot.  We found out later it was a vent from the Spa below us but for the afternoon that smell was in our noses.

Day 15 – 9/10 – Back to Copenhagen

We had a day at sea headed back to Copenhagen, where Kristina would join us.  I tried all day to email and text her to arrange a meeting place and time, but got no response.  By the morning, when we docked, I called her business partner Ru in Dallas to see if he had heard from her.  By then, I was making plans to cancel the rest of the trip if we couldn’t connect before the ship sailed from Copenhagen.  To my immense relief, Ru emailed back saying he had just talked to her, everything was fine and giving me her address in Copenhagen.  As it turned out, she was responding to my texts, but I wasn’t receiving them – something to do with the settings on my Iphone.

Luckily we linked up before Sally & I jumped ship to find her.

We had a great day in Copenhagen, had brunch, and got her friend Brooke settled in a hotel (her flight got rescheduled to the next day) and boarded the ship.

Day 13 – 9/8–Stockholm Sweden

So many firsts on this trip, and Sweden is another one.  Only smaller ferries can get close to Stockholm because of the absence of a deep water pier, so we docked in the port town of Nynashamn about 50 miles south of Stockholm.  I  say we docked, but I am not sure what you might call it.  Originally the itinerary called for this to be a “tender” port, which means that the ship’s lifeboats are used to ferry the passengers ashore, about 50 at a time.  This can be a lengthy process, requiring everyone to get a number and wait in the theater until your number is called – maybe an hour or more.  When returning to the ship, it is first come first serve and very long lines.  When you only have a few hours ashore, and you have an hour bus ride into the city, it becomes a real pain.

In Nynashamn, a unique solution to the problem has been implemented – they have installed the world’s first floating, self propelled, movable dock.  The ship was secured off shore, and this dock motored out to attach to the ship.  It is powered by a diesel engine inside the little house on the end.

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We went ashore, met our bus and headed into Stockholm.  The bus dropped us off in the city center, right next to the hop a bus stop, and across from the Grand Hotel, Stockholm’s only five star hotel.  When the US President was here for one day, he and his staff took the entire hotel.

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Stockholm is a city of canals and beautiful architecture.

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Rather than jump on the bus immediately we decided to explore the city center area for a while.  Crossing a bridge brought us in to the area known as Gamla Stan (Old Town) which is the first area settled in the founding of Stockholm.  Originally an island, Gamla Stan has been connected to the land to the south, and is a prime attraction for tourists with its narrow cobblestone streets and medieval buildings.  Sally on the bridge to Gamla Stan.

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The cobblestone streets.

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This street, called the “Queens” Street, runs for about a mile and half from the main part of Stockholm across a bridge and in to Gamla Stan where it dead ends.  When we crossed on the bus into town the bus driver said it takes a man 30 minutes to go from one end to the other, and it takes a woman 3 hours – shopping.  Don’t blame me, I am quoting Sven the bus driver.

 

After shopping for a while we decided to get on the hop a bus and I studied the map to see where the closest bus stop was.  I spotted it on the map, and we went to find it.  I missed it, and in trying to locate it turned the wrong direction.  We had a nice 2 mile walk while hop  a busses went flying by, but only found a bus stop after about an hour.  Sally was most kind not to comment on my navigating skills.

 

A nice little hotel bar & restaurant across from the bus stop in Gamla Stan.

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Shortly after rejoining the bus we spotted the mounted King’s guards – I suppose headed to the changing of the guard at the palace in the background.

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I am not sure I understand all of the art and sculpture we have run into in Scandinavia.

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These boats were tied up in the park across from the Palace – what can be the purpose?  Perhaps to remove seaweed or trash from the canal?

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The Parliament building is on a small island between the main part of town and Gamla Stan.

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An amusement park across the canal – this one also named Tivoli, as was the one in Copenhagen.

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Some interesting Swedish architecture.

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We had a cold beverage and some bar snacks at a sidewalk pub before catching the bus back to Nynashamn.  As much as we love cruising, one major drawback is the very small amount of time spent in each port.  We started this trip with 2 days and nights in Copenhagen before boarding the ship, and we thoroughly enjoyed the city and the time we had to explore.

Back across the floating dock and off to Copenhagen where Kristina, our daughter will be joining us for the visits to Norway, Scotland, Ireland and the crossing back to the states.  She has been in Copenhagen for a week with her friend Brooke.  Maybe I can persuade her to add to the blogs.

 

A great picture of our ship connected to the floating dock.

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Day 12 – 9/7 – Helsinki, Finland

On the Baltic Sea, about 200 miles west of St. Petersburg, we arrived in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, the next morning – still game for touring but growing weary after 3 straight days of ports,with no restful sea days to recharge.

Finland is tucked in between Sweden and Russia.  It was part of Sweden almost 900 years, until invaded by the Russians in 1808.  It became independent in the early 1900s.  Helsinki’s population is approximately 600,000.

It looks like this port area, one of several in Helsinki, is being extensively expanded.  Apparently they are dumping rock to extend to fill and extend the area.  There is also a very large area of apartment construction adjoining the port area, with perhaps 25 large complexes under construction.

 

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In this port our faithful hop a bus was right outside the terminal (which was a tent) and we jumped on and headed out.  We decided to stay on the bus for a full circuit to get a feel for the city.  One and a half times around, we jumped off in the middle of the city and found a great little coffee shop, for coffee and a delicious croissant, which was part of a multiplex movie complex, built into a restored building.

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Rather than rejoining the bus, we walked a few blocks to a most unusual church, which is a tourist spot here in Helsinki.  The church,Temppeliaukio, is carved into the top of a rock hill, covered with a dome top.  It is an active Lutheran church, and choir practice was underway as we visited.

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Even in this northern climate, at this late season, flowers are blooming near the church.

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We strolled through the town for a few blocks, and rejoined the bus as it headed into city center, near Stockmann, Helsinki’s premier department store.

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This white tent-like structure was on the main street.  It had an “airlock” type entrance and we could see people inside and a speaker addressing the people, but I never could figure out what it was – a Finnish version of free speech on the streets?  Someone selling something? 

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The bus dropped us at Senate Square, which is bounded by three large buildings. 

On the north, the square is dominated by Helsinki Cathedral, built in the early 1800’s during a period of Russian control, to honor Czar Nicholas I.

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The Cathedral is flanked on the square by City Hall and Helsinki University.

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While in the square I was able to find an ATM and get some local currency, which in Finland is the Euro.  If you have never navigated an ATM in Finnish, you have a real challenge in front of you!!

A few blocks from Senate Square is the market – fresh vegetables and fresh fish – with an amusement park on the far side.

 

Rejoining the bus, we passed this beach and heard a commentary on the benefits of swimming in the winter, which is so popular here that the government keeps several spots free of ice to meet the demand.  No thanks.

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As we passed the shipyards we saw these two azipods being prepared for installation in some ship.  I am fascinated with the evolution of large ship propulsion from the old style where a shaft was paired to an engine with a propeller on the end of the shaft.  The new method of propulsion is an electric engine with a prop attached suspended under the hull.  It allows for much greater mobility for large ships.  This is exactly the same technique used in a trolling motor for a fishing boat – I wonder if that is where the idea came from? 

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This is the ultimate in bicycle and pedestrian lanes – this roadway is for people and bikes only and runs below grade into the center of the city.

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While returning to the ship, we passed this restaurant – a striking design.

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Back to the ship and off to Stockholm.