First, I want to say a huge thank you for all the sweet comments left on Monday's post about the blog being slow this week, they made me all warm and fuzzy inside. I also want to thank all of you for reading the blog and responding to posts even when I wasn't around to answer back, this community of book lovers just makes me happy and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you readers, writers and fellow bloggers!
Sorry to be all mushy, clearly being away from the blog for an extended period of time makes me sentimental:) I know my post earlier in the week made it sound like I had exciting news to share, but really I was just on vacation for two weeks (Kevin doesn't like me to announce to the whole internet we're going to be away from home, so I had to be all cagey with my post). It was an EPIC vacation though, definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime type of trips. I spent 14 days with Kevin and my parents on a cruise of the Baltic. So. Much. Win.
The cruise left out of Copenhagen, Denmark, so we flew there two days early to wander around before getting on the boat and traveling to Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden and then back to Denmark. I took 5,000 pictures (I'm not even exaggerating, I went through three 1,000 picture memory cards and one 2,000 picture memory card), but don't worry, I'm only going to share a handful of my favorites with you today lest you all glaze over from boredom:)
(click to enlarge pictures)
(Nyhavn, Copenhagen's famous canal with its colorful strip of shops and restaurants)
(This large ship was docked right outside our hotel; Copenhagen was teeming with gorgeous sailboats)
(Pretty ivy, and one of the many bikes one can see in Copenhagen. There aren't very many cars, almost everyone rides bikes)
(Copenhagen has a royal guard much like London, complete with a changing of the guard every day mid-morning. On the right is a statue of Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid, perched on a rock in the harbor)
(The lights of Tivoli Gardens. Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park, and at night nearly every single inch of it is lit up)
The cruise docked in Warnemunde and majority of the offered excursions involved a 3 hour train ride to Berlin, but Kevin, my parents and I didn't want to spend 6 hours of our day on a train, so we opted to take a shorter hour long trip to the tiny town of Wismar. It was quite possibly the cutest town I've ever seen with stunning architecture around every corner. I would move there immediately if I could.
Tallinn is a stunning medieval walled city in Estonia. We spent the day wandering the various quaint streets, and Kevin and I both decided it would be fun to climb any and every church tower we came across so I could take panoramic rooftop pictures of the city. The first tower we climbed was a bit of a snug fit and had me wheezing by the time we reached the top, but it wasn't too terrible. The second one though? I nearly died. 300 tiny, winding steps have never felt so long, and while I was bent over sucking in air midway to the top, Kevin was behind me having not even broken a sweat. Damn him for working out on a regular basis. Bastard. I will say the view from the top was worth the climb though - you can see a piece of it third row, right:)
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Whereas all the other stops on the cruise were quick day-long excursions, we got to spend two full days in St. Petersburg which was completely necessary given how much there was to see. I was a little worried initially because our trip to St. Petersburg just happened to coincide with the G20 Summit and it was anticipated that there would be a huge increase in both road traffic and foot traffic at the various tourist spots. Luckily, Kevin researched extensively before we left and booked us a private tour outside what the cruise offered and we were able to see every single thing we wanted with absolutely no trouble.
(Top: shots of the exterior of the cathedral at Peter and Paul Fortress where many of royals are buried, including the Romanov family. Bottom: the ceiling of the cathedral, and a shot of Anastasia Romanov's resting place - she's on the right)
(Exterior and interior ceiling shot of the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. The church was built over the exact spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, hence the name)
On day one we also saw St. Isaac's Cathedral and the amazing Hermitage Museum, but I took so many photos of those that I couldn't sort through them all in time for this post. Fail.
(The unbelievable fountains at Peterhof Palace)
After Russia, we stopped in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden, but again, I didn't have time to get to all the pictures from those stops in time for this post. I did grab a couple from our trip through the Stockholm archipelago though, a group of nearly 30,000 islands off the coast of Stockholm. It was a foggy morning when we cruised in, so below are two of my favorites.
I had an absolute blast on this trip and would go back to any one of these places in a heartbeat, but it is nice to be home:)