Baltic Cruizin’ – Epilogue and ‘Don’t & Dos’ of a Baltic Cruise

by Bob Sparrow

Home at last after 13 fun-filled days – OK, maybe only 11 were fun-filled; the getting there and coming home weren’t that filled with fun. But the fun included traveling with three most enjoyable couples (Billhams, Budds and VanBoxmeers),


John & Mary at Peterhof, Russia


Jack & JJ

Jack & JJ in Tallinn, Estonia


John & Judy in Copenhagen

visiting six very interesting and diverse countries, ‘sneaking’ into Russia, cruising on a great ship with so many restaurants that we couldn’t get to them all, imbibing on the ‘Unlimited Drink Package’ and of course, meeting up with our former Finish au pair, Mira in Helsinki.

no photos

Photo of the ‘No Photos’ sign at Russian customs

We enjoyed such a variety of experiences, from our two pre-cruise days in Copenhagen, to the sobering experience of visiting a concentration camp in Germany, to the antiquity of Tallinn, Estonia, to the historical grandeur of St. Petersburg and the pristine waterfront cities of Helsinki and Stockholm.

But if you’re planning a Baltic cruise in the near future, I’ve asked my travel mates to help me put together a list of ‘Don’t and Dos’ to help make your trip more enjoyable. Here you go . . .


Don’t:   Bring your workout clothes

Do:      Buy and bring clothes a couple of sizes larger; you’re going to gain weight


Me getting an up-close look at a cannon in Finland

Don’t:   Go to the public WC (Water Closet)(bathroom) in Estonia  – it cost me 2 Euros          Do:        Go in Stockholm, it’s free (if you can hold it that long)

Don’t:   Expect the Russians to understand anything you say

Do:      Understand that they started learning English in the first grade; they just don’t want to give you the satisfaction of knowing that they learned our language. Yes, the old Cold War is heating up.

Don’t:   Fret over what you should drink next or what it will cost

Do:      Get the ‘Unlimited Drink Package’ and try everything

Don’t:   Get Tatiana, the Alla Tour guide, for St. Petersburg, she walks and talks too fast

Do:      Get Slava, who took our friends the Houstons and Despies to the top vodka bars in St. Petersburg

Don’t:   Be an ugly American

Do:      When you’re going to do something rude or stupid, say your ‘outs’ and ‘abouts’ funny and tell them you’re from Canada

Mira Dana

Mira and Dana circa 1985

Finally, a couple of THANK YOUS . . .

Thanks to Suzanne for editing and putting photos in my blogs. Because she was in Nipomo and away from her computer, she had to use her iPad to laboriously insert photos into my blogs; I thus limited the blogs to one picture, which is why I’ve included some more here.

Thanks to Louise at Alla Tours, who, when I was apoplectic about getting my passport Russian-ready, made multiple calls and ultimately assured me that I was good to go.

I really love to travel AND I really love getting home, albeit with a pocket full of change in rubles, krona and Euros. Oh well, great ball markers for golf.

Hope you enjoyed the trip.




Baltic Cruizin’ – Day 9 Beautiful Stockholm

by Bob Sparrow

The Islands of Stockholm

The Islands of Stockholm

I must have gone to bed too early the night before, or perhaps fell into bed in a drunken stupor, but I woke up alert as can be at 5:00 a.m., stepped out onto my balcony and saw the narrow channel we were passing through on our way into the harbor of Stockholm. Over the public address system, our captain was telling us that Sweden is made up of some 30,000 islands. The homes on these islands were beautiful and the grounds meticulously manicured. We were told that many of the homes on these islands are ‘summer cottages’ for the wealthy of Sweden.

Once we arrived in the port of Stockholm, we found, as you might suspect in a country with so many islands, there is not only a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus, but a ‘Hop On and Hop Off’ boat as well. We chose the boat. Once on board our driver tells us the name of the boat is ‘Take A Chance On Me’; not exactly a name that instilled a lot of confidence in the driver’s ability to navigate the busy port of Stockholm, until we learned that all the boats in this line were named after ABBA songs. The singing group, ABBA is still big in Sweden, very big. In fact, there is an entire museum dedicated to them. To me, it would be akin to having a museum in the U.S. dedicated entirely to the Monkees.

Our first stop for our water shuttle was the Vasa Museum. Vasa was a ship built in 1628 at the request of the Swedish king, slated to be the most powerfully armed vessel in the world. Unfortunately it was built too high and too narrow, with not enough rocks in the hull for the proper ballast and the ship sunk on its maiden voyage before it ever got out of the harbor! It remained at the bottom of the harbor for hundreds of years, until a crew in the late 1950s was able to salvage the hull. Over the next decade, 98% of the ship and all that it carried, was salvaged and restored and put on display in the Vasa Museum. The museum would seem to be more a tribute to the Swedish salvaging abilities than their ship building expertise.

We were back on the water shuttle and headed for our next stop, ‘Old Town’. Unfortunately, because Stockholm was our last stop, and thus the last of five ‘old towns’ we’d seen in a week, we were suffering from a bit of ‘oldtownitis’. But nevertheless we strolled along the cobbled streets, popping in shops and ultimately stopping for lunch. Stockholm was our shortest shore stay, so after hitting the stops along the water shuttle route, we were back on the boat for a late-afternoon departure.

The journey out of the harbor lasted over four hours as we weaved (as much as a large cruise ship can weave) in and out of the many islands on our way back out. We sat on the Budd’s luxury suite deck in the late afternoon sun sipping wine and watching the islands go by. Beautiful scenery. We had one more day on board and it was all at sea as we crossed the Baltic on our journey back to Copenhagen.


Next: Epilogue and Don’t and Dos of a Baltic Cruise


Baltic Cruizin’ – Day 8 A Reunion in Helsinki

by Bob Sparrow

Typically any place after St. Petersburg would be a let down, and the people who we’d talk to who had been to Helsinki said there really wasn’t a lot to do at this stop. But we had a special reunion planned.

A wonderful visit with Mira

A wonderful visit with Mira

When our daughter, Dana was not quite two years old, we had a live-in au pair (babysitter) from Finland, named Mira, who was about 20 at the time and attending near-by Chapman College. When I wrote my blog about Dana’s open-heart surgery two years ago, Mira, who had returned to Finland, read it on Facebook and re-connected with us. After we had booked this cruise, we wrote to her and told her we would be in Helsinki this summer and would love to see her. She responded in kind and set up a meeting for the afternoon we were in port. We disembarked in Helsinki and first took a water ferry to see the island fortress of Suomenlinna and toured there for about two hours. We then came back to Market Square in the town center to meet up with Mira.

She arrived with a big smile on her face and was simply delightful. She brought a couple of pictures of Dana and her from when she was with us in 1984. We spent the afternoon just catching up on what we had each been doing for the last 30 years!   She is doing well and lives in a very nice area just blocks from Market Square in mid-town Helsinki with her daughter Nova, who is 14. Nova’s father and Mira separated years ago. Mira had been a professional photographer, but is now working for an ‘electric company’ and is an avid tennis player. Regarding her social life, she said that after living 15 years in the U.S. then returning home, that she found Finnish men a bit wimpy compared to American men, so is not in a serious relationship.

After lunch she walked us through the Esplanade (the main street of Helsinki) and told us about her life in Helsinki and we up-dated her on our family. We stopped by the open market and she said she wanted to buy something for Dana. Linda picked out a Helsinki necklace piece that she really liked and Mira bought one for Dana and one for Linda. She took a cab with us back to the ship and we had a tearful goodbye. It made our trip to Helsinki very special. She promised to come and visit us with her daughter, but said she wants to wait until her daughter, who is an aspiring model, is 18.  Mira said that when Nova sees California, she will probably want to stay!

Next: Day 9   Stockholm



Baltic Cruizin’ – Day 6-7 St. Petersburg, Russia

by Bob Sparrow

imageFor me, St. Petersburg is a tale of two cities; one tale of being a city filled with a rich history and unbelievably beautiful and opulent palaces and museums that are beyond compare; the other tale being a city filled with people who match the ‘modern’ architecture – dull, gray and tired. We’ll focus on the former and summarize the contrast with, “It’s a great city, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

It had been raining most of the summer in St. Petersburg, so parks were resplendent in foliage. Our private guide reminded us of how lucky we are to have two such beautiful days to explore this magnificent city.

If you ever plan on visiting St. Petersburg, let me start with a travel tip: To help keep all the Elizabeths, Catherines, Alexanders and Peters straight (I’ll avoid the sophomoric remark about keeping your Peters straight), you must read, Catherine the Great by Robert Massie; it is a wonderful book and it will not only help you keep all the Russian monarchy in order, but it will give you an appreciation for most of the venues that you’d be visiting.

Our first stop was at the Hermitage Museum, which holds so many works of art that it is said if you stood in front of each piece for just one minute, it would take you 11 years to get through the museum. We did not select that option, but we did stand in front of some Rembrants, da Vincis and Rubens among many, many, many others. Adjacent to her ‘Winter Palace’, the Hermitage was created by Catherine the Great, as she became the foremost collector of art in all of Europe during her reign. The Hermitage is magnificent, not only for the art that it holds, but for its spectacular gilded and mosaic interiors. It is truly magnificent. If you see only one thing in St. Petersburg, this is it. But it was just the beginning.

For pure iconic Russian architecture, the Church of Spilled Blood, site of the assassination of Alexander II is hard to beat. During the course of our two-day visit our tours included visits to Peter the Great’s summer ‘cottage’, Peterhof, situated on 100 acres of beautiful park grounds with water features that rival Versailles, France; in fact Peter’s goal when it built it was to build something better than Versailles.  He may have succeeded. We took a canal cruise up the Neva, Fontanka and Moika Rivers to see the ‘high rent’ district of St. Petersburg, then continued on to see Catherine’s palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter and Paul’s Cathedral and Fortress, the room where Rasputin was assassinated. We took a ride on the super subterranean subway and finally hitched a hydrofoil ride back to city center. Toward the end of our second day we convinced our tour guide to make an unscheduled stop at a Russian bar, where we not only got a taste of a local brew, but of the local culture as well. The beer was better than the culture.

It was an exhausting two days, but we absolutely got our rubles worth.

Next: Day 8 A Reunion in Helsinki


Baltic Cruizin’ – Day 5 Estonia and Getting Through the ‘Iron Curtain’

by Bob Sparrow

Day 5 – Estonia   In the morning we find ourselves docked in the city of Tallinn, capital of Estonia where we can get off the ship and walk into town for the day. I must admit that, prior to this trip, if someone had asked me to locate Tallinn on a map, I might have been looking around Saudi Arabia. Fortunately I wasn’t driving the ship. Because it is strategically located on the Baltic; countries like Russia, Germany, Sweden and Denmark have all had their turn at occupying this country. We walk past the gates in the wall that once encircled the entire city and walk the streets of ‘Old Town’. John Billham, the Canadian member of our group has done his homework and guides us through the history of this picturesque town with the help of his Rick Steves guidebook. Lunch is in an Irish Pub; yes, the Irish seemed to have occupied every county we visit – thank goodness!

Getting In   With my soon-to-be-expired passport in hand, I sheepishly disembark in the port of St. Petersburg and head to customs and get in line. I check out the Russian immigration officer who is working the line I’m in. I walk up and hand him my passport – he gives me a stare that could chill beer; he says nothing and doesn’t smile; it appears to me that he’s having a bad day, but as I look at the other immigration officers, they all look like they’re having a bad day. They’re Russians for crying out loud! Contrary to popular belief, being an immigration officer in Russia is not all kicks and giggles. I fear that he’s going to take one look at my passport, see that it doesn’t have the required six months on it before it expires, blow his whistle and have me thrown back on the ship or who knows where. My heart is beating out of my chest, I feel like I’m reenacting the scene from Midnight Express, trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey.

I search his face for a clue as to what’s going through his mind. He looks at my passport again then looks back at me, then looks back at my passport again. Oh shit, I knew it; I’ve been caught! I try to look exactly like the picture in my passport, but it was taken ten years ago, so that’s not happening. I’m sweating and I’m sure he can hear my heart beating from inside his little glass box. These guys are highly trained to notice people who are nervous. I know he knows I’m hiding something. Again, he looks back and forth between my passport and me several times, expressionless. I put on an encouraging smile as I start to wonder what they will do to me if I’m in violation of their passport/visa laws. Will they just send me back to the ship, or will they make an example out of me and let everyone know that I was trying to get into the country on an invalid passport and . . . OK, I can’t think about what they’d do. The inspector now seems to be studying my passport in depth. How long have I been standing here, twenty minutes? An hour? I wonder if I should run, I look for an escape route. I consider the possibility that perhaps I’m over-reacting. No, I know I’m breaking some Russian law and they are not going to just let it slide; these people don’t let anything just slide. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my vacation is going to end with me breaking rocks in some Siberian gulag. Then I hear the word, “Next” and my passport is stamped and passed back through the window to me. I try to act casual, but I’m frozen in place, I’m pale white and the sweat rings under my arms are now down to my waist. “Next”, he repeats giving me a stare that was colder by several degrees from the one he first gave me. I smugly walk through customs – nothin’ to it!

As I finally walk onto Russian soil, the first question to myself is, will St. Petersburg be worth all the anguish I went through? Absolutely!

Next: Day 6-7   St. Petersburg, Russia

Baltic Cruizin’ – Day 3-4 On Board & Berlin

by Bob Sparrow


Guard Tower at Sachenhausen

All of Day 3 is essentially used up getting on the boat and to seeing how well our ‘Unlimited Drink Package’ works. We take a bus from the hotel to the port, get on our ship, the Star, and head to one of 15 or so bars on board. Sorry, I’d like to tell you more about it, but I don’t really remember too much more after that. But I do know that Norwegian Cruise Lines got the raw end of the deal when they allowed each of us couples to purchase unlimited cocktails for 9 days for only $250. We spent that before we waved goodbye to The Little Mermaid.

The morning of Day 4 we cruised into the port of Warnemunde, Gemany, where we got on a train and went to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, which is about an hour outside of Berlin. I’m sure most of you have read accounts or seen movies or documentaries on TV about German concentration camps.  I will tell you, and those who have been to one know this, it is noting like being there. The feeling I got as we were toured around the camp and told the many gruesome and heartbreaking stories, was visceral.   As I stared out over the expansive grounds, saw the weathered watchtowers where machine guns mowed down anyone trying to escape and learned of the harsh day-to-day agony that these people went through, I tried to imagine myself experiencing what they went through. We visited the gas chambers and crematorium, saw the gallows where dissidents were publicly hanged and walked through the barracks to see the unlivable living conditions in which the prisoners lived. I could not imagine this example of man’s inhumanity to man, and yet, it wasn’t that long ago. These Nazi bastards were some sick sons-of-bitches.

Sachsenhausen was not just a camp for Jews, it held any enemy of the state, foreign and domestic, which included gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped, enemy soldiers and essentially anyone who was not in lock step with the Third Reich. It was a very moving and disturbing experience.

After nearly three hours there, we got on our bus and continued on into Berlin where we made several stops along the Berlin Wall, including ‘Check Point Charlie’ which is now Tourist Trap Charlie.   As we traveled along ‘The Wall’, our guide told us of the many stories of families being separated and people being shot as they tried to escape East Germany. We toured through the city stopping at several iconic landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag government building and the Holocaust Memorial. Because much of Berlin was destroyed during the war, many of the buildings are new and the city was bustling with both locals and tourists. But for me, the atrocities of Sachsenhasen still lingered and hung like a dark cloud over the rest of the day.

The ‘Unlimited Drink Package’ came in handy as we arrived back at the ship for dinner.

Next: Day 4-5-6 Estonia and Russia


Baltic Cruzin’ – Day 1&2 – Passports to Nowhere

by Bob Sparrow

The Golden Tickets

Will they get us in?

Day 1 – History is rampant with examples of people struggling to get out of Russia; ironically this journey begins with a struggle to get in. The day before we are scheduled to start our Baltic vacation, I discover that Linda and my passports expire Feb 5, 2016, which at the time we booked this trip seemed like the next millennium. It did, in fact, cover the extent of our stay, however, unlike other Baltic countries, which require traveler’s passports to have at least three months before they expire, Russia requires six. To my horror, I discover that we’re two weeks and a couple of rubles short of six months. The stressful exercises I went through for the next 24 hours are too long and painful to recount; suffice it to say that they included, but were not limited to: a) talking to all the ‘express’ passport renewal companies that are only too willing to charge exorbitant prices to take advantage of distressed travelers like us, b) sending pleading emails to ambassadors at the Russian, American and Denmark Embassies, c) asking our cruise line if there was some sort of ‘work-around’, and d) calling our St. Petersburg tour company and begging and pleading for a remedy to my stupidity. As it turns out they did say they might be able to help us get into Russia, but as for my stupidity, they said they couldn’t help me with that. Clearly it was the wrong day to quit my crack cocaine habit!

As of this writing, while we are still in Copenhagen, we’ve been told by our Russian tour company, Alla, that our tour tickets will act as a temporary visa and will get us into St. Petersburg. Praise be to Alla.

Palace Guard - told us to "back off"

Palace Guard – told us to “back off”

This next event comes under the heading of ‘It’s a Small World After All’. After arriving in Copenhagen and resting up from hours of sitting, which seems like an oxymoron, and meeting up with our travel partners, the Budds, the VanBoxmeers (heretofore to be referred to as the ‘Boxes’ and the Billhams, we have an enjoyable walk through and dinner in ‘Old Town’ Copenhagen and are heading back to our hotel, when, on a crowded sidewalk in this foreign city that is 5,590 miles from home, we run smack into good friends, Mark & Barbara Houston, who, along with other friends Denise & Shirley Despie have just completed the same tour we are about to begin. We spend the next several hours in our hotel bar grilling them about their trip.

Little mermaid - back view

Little mermaid – back view

Little Mermaid - front view

Little Mermaid – front view

Not-so-little "R" rated mermaid

Not-so-little “R” rated mermaid

Day 2 – The forecast was for rain, but we had beautiful weather in the low 70s; our itinerary for the day reads like a Rick Steves ‘Copenhagen in a Day’ Guide Book – we visit the shops and restaurants of Old Town, take a canal cruise (see the Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid sculpture from the back), see the royal family palace, see the capital building,

Segway Riders - half of these people would fall and be injured before the day was over

Segway Riders – half of these people would fall and be injured before the day was over

take a Segway tour (see the Little Mermaid from the front), see a military fort, administer First Aid to the three who fell off their Segways, have a beer, go to dinner in a quaint Old Town restaurant, then finish with an evening stroll through Tivoli Gardens. Throughout it all, as all our tour guides spoke 3-4 languages, we were reminded of how lazy we Americans are by not even learning our own language so good

Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens

. . . er, well.

Tomorrow: Baltic Cruizin’ Day 3-4 On Board & Berlin



By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

GratitudeThis month I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am not unhappy about celebrating another birthday. In fact, this past year has given me reason to be especially grateful that I’m adding a candle to my birthday cake. And not just because it was the Costco All-American chocolate cake or because I got to spend it with my brothers and their wives.  In the past ten months my best friend passed away suddenly, an old friend succumbed to cancer, three acquaintances died, a close friend’s grandson was killed in an auto accident and another’s husband was diagnosed with ALS. Two more friends’ husbands were told they have Alzheimer’s. I don’t even want to discuss the people who have had the ubiquitous Senior Citizen joint replacements.

At one point I thought “Enough!” I don’t need any more signals that I should appreciate each day and every person in my life. I get it. But all of these events got me to thinking about what else – if anything – I’ve learned along life’s highway. I reflected on those philosophies or words of wisdom that have stuck with me. Some I learned as a young woman, some with gray in my hair. There are lessons I learned that are serious and some…well, not so much. Here’s what I came up with – “Life Lessons” if you will – in no particular order:



People who repeatedly tell you how wonderful they are – aren’t. My first job out of college I worked as the head of marketing and advertising for an upscale condominium developer. One of my first clients told me incessantly about her Christian faith and how devout she was. She then proceeded to deal with everyone in an underhanded manner six ways to Sunday (when, presumably, she was on her way to church). It was a good lesson to learn early in life – beware of self-promoters.

Duct Tape and WD-40 are the answers to all home repairs. I read this at least 30 years ago and thought it was a joke. Turns out it was pretty good advice. If it sticks, grinds or squeaks, spray it with WD-40. If it’s cracked, split or fractured, slap some duct tape on it and you’re good to go.

You choose your destiny. Many years ago I read Wayne Dyer’s Book, “The Sky’s The Limit” wherein he states that we have a choice in how we approach our lives, and that choosing to be happy is, in the long run, far easier than wallowing in misery. He’s right.

Perspective is key. I love Robert Fulghum’s philosophy on this:  “Life is lumpy. And a lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in a breast are not the same lump. One should learn the difference.” Wise words.

I need more light and magnification each year

I need more light and magnification each year

A woman’s best friends after age 50 are tweezers and a high-powered magnification mirror. ‘Nuff said.

Enjoy the process. Twenty years ago I was putting together a big conference at work, hosting more than 1,000 people.  It was months in the making and I was stressed out to say the least.  The event planner finally looked me in the eye and said, “You’d better enjoy the process because the actual event is only 8 hours.”  It was good advice that has ended up having broad application for life in general.  Since then I’ve tried to enjoy the journey.  Except during a root canal.

When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose to be kind. This was another great lesson from Wayne Dyer that I heard just last year.  I wish I’d heard it 30 years ago.

Let it Go. Long before Disney turned this phrase into an annoying song, it was a great philosophy for dealing with anger or frustration. It has taken me too long to learn this lesson, but I now think twice before getting mad and saying something I might regret. And I’ve learned that after writing a snarky email if I wait a day to hit “send” it results in 99% of them getting trashed. My Irish ancestors would be proud of my temper control!

That’s it. I’m sure I’ve learned more than this, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. I’d love to hear what your “Life Lessons” are unless it’s “Buy low, sell high”.  I’m apparently incapable of learning that.

Barnstorming the Baltic


Suzanne ‘into’ her chocolate cake

(Editor’s Aside: Suzanne & Alan, Jack & Sharon and Linda and I were all on the ‘Central Coast’ last weekend. California’s Central Coast is known for producing a lot of wine, and last weekend we were known for drinking much of it. The occasion? Suzanne’s birthday! I’ll let her tell you which one, although I can tell you that the old Beatle lyric, ‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?’ has become moot. But I’m here to say, she hasn’t lost a step, although after last weekend there may be a few brain cells missing.)

by Bob Sparrow

Norwegian Cruise Line Star

Norwegian Cruise Line  – Star

After being released from the Betty Ford detox program after Tahoe and sweeping out my underwear, it was time to ready myself for another ‘road trip’. This time the ‘road’ is a bit salty, or at least brackish – the Baltic Sea, more accurately the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.  No, I won’t be hiking it, but rather enjoying the trip from the deck of the Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Star. Linda and I have never been to any of these destinations, so we’re looking forward to checking off these countries from our ‘Visit Every Country in the World’ list. Just kidding about the list – it doesn’t include Iraq, North Korea or Syria.

Our travel companions for this excursion include Jack & JJ Budd (previous travel companions to Ireland, South Africa and Charleston/Savannah), John & Judy VanBoxmeer (Ireland and Charleston/Savannah) and new additions from Canada, John’s sister Mary and her husband, John. I guess it’s always good to have two Johns on board. Come to think of it I guess we actually have three Johns, since Jack’s name is really John. Can you ever really have too many Johns? I’ll let you know in about three weeks!



We will all meet up in Copenhagen; some will get there via ‘1st Class’, some via ‘Business Class’ and then there’s Linda and me, in . . . ‘No Class’. On the leg from Chicago to Brussels I believe we have to serve coffee, make one trash pick up and prior to landing, remind passengers to return their tray tables to their fully upright and locked position; but those chores will give us some relief from our two middle seats in the rear that don’t recline.

Once in Copenhagen, we will have a couple of days to see that fair city, which we will do in part on Segways, a vehicle that the group practiced on recently in Newport Beach – the injuries should be fully healed by the time we get there. We also plan on sampling and rating ‘Beers of the Baltic’, ideally not while we’re still riding the Segways. We’ll start with some of Denmark’s most popular beers, Carlsberg and Tuborg, but we hope to get into some of their more interesting beers such as their top-rated, Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel; say that three times fast . . . after you’ve had a few.

Baltic Ports-of-Call

Baltic Ports-of-Call

After departing Copenhagen, our first port-of-call is in Warnemunde, Germany, where we will take a train to a Concentration Camp in Berlin, which is not known for serving beer, but somewhere along the way we’d like to try Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, a beer that is said to have a smoky flavor that tastes like beef jerky or leather – yeah, that’s what I looking for, a beer I can get my teeth into. Next stop is Estonia’s capitol, Tallinn, a city and country that has had a long history of German and Soviet domination. Then it’s time to move on to the happier countries. Oops! Our next port is St. Petersburg, Russia, that is if Mr. Putin has not annexed anything before then or declared war on someone. If we mysteriously disappear on this trip, this would be the first place I’d look for us.

Our final two ports are the Scandinavian cities of Helsinki and Stockholm, before we return to Copenhagen, where we will undoubtably spend time trying to find all the items we left there the previous week.

I know our ship will have ‘connectivity’, but the frequency of my blog submissions may be determined by just how much they’ll be charging me to use their precious cyber space. I’m sure I’ll figure out a way to ‘bring you along’ on this adventure. We look forward to you joining us.