Earlier this week, I shared some favorite photos from our time in Copenhagen. But we didn't stay in Denmark the whole time–we hopped on a cruise ship and went around the Baltic Sea for a 9 day cruise.
It was Jeff's first experience on a cruise ship and he came home with mixed reviews. We travelled on the Norwegian Star with NCL. The service was definitely top notch and our room was beautiful.
The main thing lacking was the food. Jeff definitely had stronger opinions on how "bad" the food was, but I would say it was mediocre. Luckily, most of the time we spent was out at port.
And that's what I really want to talk about because that was the fun stuff!
Highlights of Warnemunde, Germany:
Having language barrier issues for the first and only time on the trip (we were surprisingly fine in Russia).
Getting pummeled by wind and rain while walking out on the beach to get a closer view of the lighthouse.
Eating lunch at the Teapott Restaurant was my favorite part of the day. Jeff got German beer of course and I had a really tasty plate of vegetable ravioli.
Highlights of Tallinn, Estonia:
Walking to the heart of the Old Town takes just 15 minutes from the ship. Made it easy for us to do our own sightseeing.
Getting "lost" trying to find St. Nicholas's Church.
Finding many handmade shops featuring a lot of felting and woodworks. We bought some artwork and I found a few neat handcarved wood buttons.
Searching for a public bathroom and finding one outside of a hotel– with an old well inside the restroom stall.
Highlights of St. Petersburg, Russia:
Being amazed at the grandeur of everything. I don't think I saw a single building downtown that was less than 8 stories tall.
Visiting the Hermitage on the first day of G20. While on the tour we passed a room that was blocked off for the talks with Putin and Obama later in the day.
Amazed at the inside of Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. All the walls were covered with tiny mosaic tiles from floor to ceiling.
Getting an extra hour at the gardens at Peterhof because our tour guide screwed up the schedule. It was well worth the extra time there.
Many of the tourist shops serve free Vodka. We didn't partake, but still bought quite a bit. Russia was our favorite stop to get gifts.
Highlights of Helsinki, Finland:
Eating at Konig Helsinki – I had the best salad of my LIFE there (see picture above). I'm scheming to recreate it at home, hopefully.
Walking underneath the Sibelius Monument taking photos. I could have easily spent a few hours there.
Ordering chocolate gelato on our way back to the cruise ship.
Purchasing my favorite ornament of the trip, a handmade porcelain bell. It's my tradition to buy a Christmas ornament at each country I visit.
Highlights of Stockholm, Sweden:
Spending only 30 minutes at the Vasa Museum because of our tour. The museum is 7 floors, so we didn't even scratch the surface.
Enjoying our tour guide's sense of humor. He cracked a lot of American culture referenced jokes.
Visiting the Old Town and finding an orienteering flag on a random alleyway. I haven't participated in orienteering in over a decade, so I giggled when I saw it.
Freezing in the IceBar and realizing it was warmer to sit on the blocks of ice than stand. Our passionfruit vodka shots were delicious.
Deciding to do a cruise was probably one of the smartest decisions we made. We got to see so many different places, yet we could set our own pace. I would definitely like to be able to go back to a few places we visited (especially St. Petersburg and Stockholm), but we came home feeling very satisfied and relaxed.
I hope you've enjoyed my trip photos. Hopefully I can get them all into a book soon before I forget all the little details that made this trip so special!