Monday, August 30, 2010


We have had a very busy day and a half in Stockholm. We got off the ship early and headed into town. A few minutes later one of us (she will remain nameless) realised that we hadn’t collected our luggage! Oops. That was quickly corrected and we headed off again. We got to our B&B, settled in and were on the way back to the city by midday. We explored Gamla Stan, the old town, and took a ride on a Hop-on Hop-off boat.DSC_0507 IMG_0993 We didn’t buy the 1 metre long chocolate.

We bought a Stockholm card. It gives free public transport, including the boat and free entry to a lot of attractions. It means that you can pop into a lot of places that you might have thought twice about if you had to pay for it. One of these was the Photography Museum. We thought it might be interesting and it turned out to be holding an Annie Liebovitz exhibition. It was great.

Next day, after a typical Swedish breakfast of yoghurt, fruit, cereal, Swedish crispbread, cold meat and cheese, we adventured out again. This time we went to the Vasa Museum and Skansen. You could easily spend a whole day at both of them. The Vasa was a Man of War that sunk in Stockholm harbour about 30 minutes after being launched in the 1600s. It was raised in 1965 in near perfect condition. It is absolutely fascinating.

DSC_0565 Not a great picture, but it gives you an idea.

Skansen is an open air museum consisting of large number of buildings brought from all over Sweden. There is someone in each building to explain what life for the inhabitants would have been like.

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There is also a zoo and an aquarium. The aquarium has open cages of lemurs and tamarins that you can walk through. They were even climbing on people.


There were also squirrels everywhere. Claire spent a fair bit of time chasing them to get a good photo! Finally finding one who posed beautifully.


Regent Baltic Cruise review

Wow is the only word to sum up the cruise.

We had lashed out on this top shelf cruise mainly because of the three days in St Petersburg and the following reasons-Normal shore excursions were include free - Gratuities were included in the price - No bar tab ( only exception was if you want the exclusive stuff like blue label scotch etc) - No charge for the extras that the other cruises charge for, tea & coffee , bottle water, use of the washing machines and dryers and irons, etc). We also had a balcony and there were only 700 passengers on board.

It lived up to our expectations and beyond. All the meals were exceptional ( both of us need to lose weight). Everything you could think of was included in the room including a sewing kit (Claire souvenired that). On board shows were great as were all the other social events. The staff were amazing without being intrusive.

The cruise cost a lot but we were happy with the value for money aspect if you”re prepared to pamper yourself for once. However the bar has been set rather high for future cruises if we go with another cruise line.

We were a little worried about mixing with the other passengers on the first day as some of them claimed to own a ranch that starts just south of Canada and finishes near Mexico. However we soon teamed up with a number of people and had a great time.

It was very hard to get off the ship and start paying for things again.

Over all we would rate the cruise a 9.9 out of 10.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last day and night on the cruise

We have had a lovely last day and night. Helsinki was such a pleasure after St. Petersburg. We did a Highlights tour in the morning, then spent 2 hours exploring the city on our own. We visited an amazing church built into the solid granite on which the city is based.

DSC_0466The Rock Church

DSC_0478 Sibelius monument

There are wonderful open air markets with food and handicrafts, so we had some lunch and bought a few souvenirs. Claire couldn’t resist the cute reindeer soft toy and has managed to add to her earring collection with reindeer horn earrings.

Dinner this evening was very enjoyable, we spent it with 2 of the couples that we have met on the cruise. It was great fun.

Friday, August 27, 2010

St Petersburg last days

We are leaving St Petersburg this evening. In total we had 5 shore excursions, two to the Hermitage, a St Petersburg Highlight sight seeing, a canal tour and shopping and finally a visit to the Peterhoff grand palace.

The second visit to the Hermitage covered some of the same areas as the first, but that was OK because there were side galleries that we didn’t see the first time so we could wander off, just a little.

DSC_0370Gallery of Statues

I think we spent almost as much time looking up and admiring the ceilings as we did looking at the artworks on the walls.DSC_0372 Ceiling of the gallery above.

We have taken over 800 photos between us so far. It is almost a relief when we visit somewhere where we aren’t allowed to take photos.

The canal cruise was good. It is becoming our favourite way of seeing a city. I think we have one planned for Stockholm.DSC_0424Palace of the Stroganoffs

Guess what we had for tea last night!

The Peterhof Palace was well worth a visit, though we would have preferred to spend longer in the gardens. They are said to rival Versailles. We only saw a small part of them and they are beautiful especially the fountains. They all operate by gravity feed, no pumps.


Helsinki tomorrow, then our last night on board. It is hard to believe the cruise is almost over.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

St Petersburg after day 1

Before we start we thought that we would post a photo of our ship the Voyager. This was taken in Tallin.


Our first shore excursion in St Petersburg was to the Gold room at the Hermitage Museum. Passengers from the cruise ships on these tour get access to the museum before it opens to the general public. Thank goodness, because by the time we were finishing the place was packed. It is impossible to describe the museum. They say that to spend one minute in front of every piece would take you 11 years. We had 3 hours! There was one large room dedicated to Rembrandt and we looked at just 2 or 3. We are going there again this morning.


DSC_0318 Da Vinci’s Madonna and Child


The second excursion was a sight seeing tour Highlights of St Petersburg. Unfortunately it was raining so we didn’t spend a lot of time out of the coach. The traffic is terrifying, we thought Italian drivers were bad, but I think St. Petersburg drivers would give them a run for their money.

IMG_0839 Peter and Paul Cathedral

IMG_0853 Spilled Blood Cathedral

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tallin, Estonia

We have had a lovely day in Tallin. The morning didn’t get off to a great start, it started pelting down just after we left the ship and it was quite a walk to the bus for our tour. We were both soaked from the knees down by the time we made it to the bus. The tour we had chosen was a walking tour through the Old Town so we were a bit worried, but the showers stopped for a while and it wasn’t cold, so we started to dry out. Again our guide was very good and we wove our way along cobblestone streets through the old town.  The tour included a concert of medieval madrigals in an old church. The performers were a group of young actors and vocalists and they were wonderful. No backing music, just their voices, it was lovely.

DSC_0291Old KGB headquarters

DSC_0287 Margaret’s Tower

After the tour we headed off on our own and spent a couple of hours exploring the city. We walked along the top of the city wall.


Started to meet all sorts of interesting nice people. Last night dinner was a real highlight. Our dinner party included Richard who was a former ambassador and trade commissioner and his wife Margaret. We had a ball.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Voyager Cruise day 1

The ship is sooo luxurious (way over the top) the cabins are big with a huge walk in wardrobe and an incredible ensuite with shower and bath. Our cabin is on the second highest floor of the passenger floors. Pretty good upgrade. The sea is calm with no rocking of the boat whatsoever. The only way you can tell you’re on a ship is the slight shuddering every now and then.


We are going to put on a lot of weight on this cruise all the food is first class and we haven’t visited their top restaurants yet. We are trying to walk up and down the stairs as much as possible.

We both feel a little out of place.

We have met a large number of very, very rich Americans mostly from Texas. How does that saying go.

I was down having a smoke in the Connoisseur Lounge, which is for cigar and pipe smokers, after dinner last night and the Captain of the ship joined us. We talked and drank for a couple of hours with all sorts of people joining in. That was fun he was a nice bloke. He is an Italian who married a Kiwi and while in his 50’s has a 2 year old daughter.

Just back from our tour of Visby. Lovely old city, it’s a shame we didn’t have longer. The tour guide was very good, just the right mix of knowledge and humour.


The oldest building in Visby


Part of the city wall and Santa Maria Church

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Last days in Copenhagen

We must have walked about 15 k’s round Copenhagen yesterday. We started with breakfast in a bakery in Christianshavn. The bakeries here are amazing. Over a hundred customers took a ticket and were served while we ate our food.

Next to the botanical gardens , the Kings Gardens, Rosenborg Castle, Kastellen , the Queens Palace, checked out the cruise ports , bus tours, up and down several shopping districts and then all through the Tivolli gardens at night (crowds last night spoiled it a little).

I think there are one or two birds and flowers in Copenhagen that Claire didn’t take a photo of, and only half the people in Copenhagen know we are on a 65 day holiday. Peter hasn’t met the other half!  (Claire added the last comment)

We leave on the Baltic cruise today and received an email yesterday to say that our cabin has been upgraded two levels. We’ll see how that works out today.

Anyway here are some more photos


Rosenborg Castle


Gefion Fountain


Amalienborg Castle

Friday, August 20, 2010

Peter’s Copenhagen first post

It’s 5 in the morning and my internal clock is still on Aussie time, so I thought I would post my first blog.

We haven’t stopped for two days leaving early in the morning returning late at night. The Crown plaza hotel is in a great location to get into the city by metro (5 stops) or by train (1 stop).  I made a really good choice with selecting this hotel, classy.

Copenhagen is beyond expectations. The sights, museums, sightseeing tours, food and the people are marvellous.

Copenhagen is a city of one or two million beautiful women and you only have to stand on the corner for ten minutes and two hundred of them will ride by.  Everyone rides.

Anyway here are a few more photos.


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Wonderful Copenhagen

Our first full day in Copenhagen, and I mean full. We left the hotel at 7.00am and got back at 10.00pm. We explored quite a bit yesterday in the rain, but today was lovely. Not too hot and no rain. The people have been very friendly and almost everyone speaks very good English. A few people we met recommended the Tivoli Gardens and I would say if you only do one thing in Copenhagen it would have to be that. It is a bit hard to describe, part amusement park, part music venue,part gardens and plenty of places to eat. We went there yesterday and back again today.


Building in the Tivoli gardens lit up at night.

We escaped from the rain yesterday by going into the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek. We expected to be in there for about an hour, but ended up dragging ourselves away about 2 and a half hours later. It holds a magnificent collection of Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman Art.


We also did a canal and harbour cruise today, a lovely way to see the city.


Lots more to see and do tomorrow!