Tag Archives: cruising the baltic sea

Beginning our Journey…1 of

Elite District

Elite District

This story is the beginning of our vacation to Sweden, and the Baltic Sea…

It’s 1:23 in the afternoon…

We are now on the plane, & squeezed in like sardines. I’m comfortable, and  compact as I stifle my phobia of small, tight spaces!

Looking around at all the different people, with different dialects, & different ways of dressing, I’m fascinated by how they control their children, & how they interact with others.


Flying out of LAX International is so much more interesting than the smaller airports. I love watching people anyway, but people from a different country, with different languages is most interesting!
Everyone is scurrying around working at finding their seats, and stowing away all the carry-ons.

As the plane is beginning to ready for take off, announcements are made along with instructions for crash landings  in several different languages.  (Yippi)

We find ourselves in a 747 double-decker.. Certainly all the 1st class seats must be upstairs!  For as large a plane as this is, one would think there would be slightly more room for each passenger.


Earlier, prior to boarding we noticed the crew coming down the middle of the airport heading for our plane, dragging their luggage behind – there had to have been at least two dozen crew members. It was quite impressive seeing them prance, and strut as if they were on a runway, and this being  a competition! Walking straight, & tall – never making eye contact with anyone, and all had their best faces on. Clearly it would have been a difficult pick amongst the beautiful people!

With the passengers  settled, and  seatbelts on,  we have taken off, our plane is  now cruising at a comfortable  altitude, and  only 9100+ miles to Amsterdam. Only a hop away!


The man next to me tells me he is a musician, and  is traveling with his loyal companion, his cello. He clearly doesn’t like flying, because while I ordered an apple juice, he started the flight with a double vodka!

to be continued…….

Leaving Russia for Tallin, Estonia



After meeting in the lounge to recap our two days in St. Petersburg, we could hear the ships horn blast, and slowly we could feel the ship start moving.  It was finally time to travel to our next destination…..Tallin, Estonia.

Anu our tour guide in Tallinn, Estonia

Anu our tour guide in Tallinn, Estonia

We cruised all night, the Baltic Sea was like glass, and our ship didn’t show any signs of movement.  This was fortunate for all the light weights aboard.  Les and I left the sliding glass door to our balcony open all night, as I drank in all the fresh ocean air.  That made sleeping much more enjoyable, and relaxing.

Gun towers from long ago!

Gun towers from long ago!

Our guide was a bouncy blond Scandinavian woman of middle age with a big smile, and a personality to match.  She proudly guided us through the streets of Tallinn as she told us of Estonian struggles, and achievements.


We started our tour by stopping at the fair grounds where every four years they have a music, and song festival.  This is where the people of Estonia gathered to sing, and gain courage to build their voices in numbers enabling them to win their independence  from Russian rule.  This only happened some twenty plus years ago, and since then they have been struggling to build back their infrastructure, and becoming the strong country they know they can be.


They are a proud people who literally sang their way to independence!

Looking out from Old Town to the new Tallinn

Looking out from Old Town to the new Tallinn










One of the stops on our day long tour was the oldest Cathedral in Estonia.  It had survived the Nazis, and was still standing.  This cathedral dates back to the 1200’s, and is quite beautiful.

Oldest Cathedral in Tallinn

Oldest Cathedral in Tallinn

The walls were thick, and the church cool.  While we were there we were treated to a short midieval concert with lutes, and midieval song.  I felt like I had teleported back in time!

Coats of armor from the Aristocrats.  The most prominent place in the church, was from the wealthiest family.

Coats of armor from the Aristocrats. The most prominent place in the church, was from the wealthiest family.

As we turned to leave, I was able to take a picture of the old organ pipes.

Organ pipes

Organ pipes

After a long day our tour was over, and we returned to our ship.  I loved the excitement and enthusiasm of the people of Tallinn.   They were happy people, and seemed to be loving life.  In contrast to what many of them had been through, life was now good!


Winding Our Way Through the Countryside to the Ship…



While we were at the Summer Palace, we were treated to a small band of local musicians.  My husband is a trumpet player, so this was of interest to us both.DSCN0197

Once back on our tour bus after touring the Summer Palace of Catherine the Great, we stopped for lunch.  It was interesting because my understanding of Russian food was that it wasn’t very good.  We probably didn’t get a taste of true Russian food, but on both days we were given a small glass of Russian Vodka as a starter.  Admittedly I had to try it, but only a taste,  It was strong, & I don’t usually drink.  The day was hot, stuffy, and I didn’t think it would be a good idea to be drinking vodka, get on a bus, and wind around the county side.  I have never been car sick, but there is always a first time.  The first day we had chicken stroganoff, the second was some kind of beef and rice.  I’m not a meat eater, but I did try it just to see how it tasted.  Everyone else thought it was pretty good, I wasn’t that excited, and couldn’t eat the beef, but again I don’t eat meat.

The country side was beautiful, and if I hadn’t known we were in Russia, the only thing I would realize is that we weren’t in the USA.

Once we came back into the city of St. Petersburg it became more interesting once again.  These two days were long days, and by the time we walked off the bus, there wasn’t one of us that wasn’t exhausted.

TMy husband LesThanks for taking time to read my post on the last day of St. Petersburg, Russia.  Next we traveled to Tallin, Estonia.

My husband Les