London and the Baltic, 2013
In the summer of 2013, despite a recent tragedy in the family, Ron and Carol spend 3 days in London before going on a 12 day Baltic cruise. The vacation was blessedly diverting.
One day in each, except two days in St. Petersburg, crossing four time zones. (The tours in northern Germany started in Warnenmunde.)
Chantilly, Virginia – Air and Space Museum. As usual, a stop at the Air and Space Museum before going on to Dulles for the red-eye to London. Here is the Space Shuttle Discovery that was installed in the museum on April 19, 2012.
London – Big Ben stuck 12 noon as Ron and Carol departed on a tour boat up the Thames. For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/07/18/
West London – Albert Bridge. Built in 1873, it is one of the many cable-stayed bridges that cross the Thames.
Richmond – The Richmond Lock. One of two locks that separate the tidal Thames from the freshwater Thames.
On the Thames – One of many boat houses on the upper Thames.
London – National Gallery. One of the best art museums in the world. (Medieval and beyond, the really old stuff is in the British Museum.) For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/07/19/.
London – Trafalgar Square. Unusual art on one of the plinths . Part of the Fourth Plinth Project. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_plinth,_Trafalgar_Square
Greenwich – National Maritime Museum. A rather disappointing museum, mainly for kids. Did have few interesting things. Here the Royal Barge completed in 1732 for Frederick, Prince of Wales.
Greenwich – ‘Goddard’s at Greenwich’ Restaurant. Good ‘Pie and Mash’ since 1890.
Greenwich, under the Thames. Ladies chatting in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel that goes from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. Opened in 1902, 1,215 feet (370.2 m) long.
Dover – Dover castle and the white cliffs of Dover, as seen from the ship. The castle has been built and rebuilt all the way up through the Napoleonic Wars. In WWII a set of tunnels was added.
Copenhagen, Denmark – The famous Little Mermaid. By Edvard Eriksen, 1913. [You will see, she turned out to be one of many merpersons to be seen on this trip.] For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/07/22/. ( 55.692863, 12.599275 )
Copenhagen, Denmark – Carol discovering the Demark air defense system. Ron had to warn her not to get on. In the Citadel (Danish: Kastellet), built 1662.
Copenhagen, Denmark – One of the sand sculptures in a competition in old town.
Copenhagen, Denmark – In the center is a mast crane constructed
in 1742. The frigate F352 is known for accidentally launching a missile into a
Copenhagen, Denmark – Canal Tour. There were lots of low bridges.
Copenhagen, Denmark – The National Museum of Denmark. A really good history museum. Here is the famous Chariot of the Sun, 1400BC.
Copenhagen, Denmark – The National Museum of Denmark. Lur horns, distinctively Nordic. 1200-700 BC.
Copenhagen, Denmark - The National Museum of Denmark. Memorial stone with rune writing, 1000AD. From a wife for her husband. Says, in part, "Few will now be born better than him." Must have been quite a guy.
Copenhagen, Denmark – near the dock. A polar bear petting Carol.
Copenhagen, Denmark – near the dock. Across from the polar bear is a mermaid for the sailors.
Bad Doberan , Germany – Minster Cathedral at Bad Doberan. Wonderful red brick church, finished in the 14th century. For detail see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/07/24/ .
Bad Doberan , Germany – Molli, a narrow gauge steam train. The Molli has connected Heiligendamm with Bad Doberan since 1886 and is still in use today, chugging at an approx. speed of 35 kph (22 mph). This was the highlight of the trip for Ron.
Bad Doberan , Germany – Molli passing through the center of town.
Wismar, Germany – Market Square. Sculptures on the Wasserknust Fountain of ‘Nixe’ (mermaid) and ‘Nix’ (merman). [Merpersons?] For detail see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/08/06/ .
Wismar, Germany – One night in a NOVA on the building of cathedrals they spoke of the Great Wheel. Ron recalled seeing one displayed outside Wismar's Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church).
Wismar, Germany – Typical side street in old town. A UNESCO world Heritage Site.
Wismar, Germany – A building from 1402. A brewery since 1452 (off/on). Now the only brewery in Wismar. The beer samples they gave out were just OK, but the huge pretzel they gave out was wonderful.
Wismar, Germany – The brew master showing us the mash.
Somewhere on the Baltic – The only way Ron could talk to Carol and still be on the balcony. For details on the days at sea see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/07/20/ .
Helsinki, Finland – Senate Square. The government center of Finland. (Normally Ron and Carol would go to the museums, but this happened to be Monday when all the museums and churches were closed.) For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/08/08/ .
Helsinki, Finland – Esplanade Park. Mermaid and merchild?
Helsinki, Finland – The old port and Uspenski Cathedral (1868) on the hill.
Helsinki, Finland – Suomenlinna Fortress, an inhabited sea fortress in Helsinki Harbor. On display is the Submarine Vesikko (‘Mink’). Since Finland came down on the wrong side in WWII, the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty prohibited Finland from having submarines. Only this submarine was spared.
St. Petersburg, Russia – Catherine Palace. After 4 or 5 of these things, Ron and Carol decided they really were not into palaces. For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/08/17/ .
St. Petersburg, Russia – St. Isaac's Cathedral. 19th-century, and is the third largest domed cathedral in the world. Now a museum.
St. Petersburg, Russia – The Church of Resurrection on the Spilled Blood. (Finished 1907.) Most churches were abandoned after the revolution. This one was to be dynamited, but WWII started 2 hours before its destruction. Now a museum.
St. Petersburg, Russia – Bell tower of St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral. It has always been closely associated with the Russian Navy. The center of the cathedral was removed when it cracked and separated from the bell tower. The nave and bell tower are now separate buildings. An active church.
St. Petersburg, Russia – A typical canal. St. Petersburg was designed to be the ‘Venice’ of the north.
St. Petersburg, Russia – The Hermitage. One of the world’s best known art museums. Ron and Carol were disappointed with the uneven lighting and glass on many works. Here a beautiful hallway that was part of the original palace.
St. Petersburg, Russia. A building that ran out of room.
St. Petersburg, Russia. Fish selection in a small market.
St. Petersburg, Russia – Peter and Paul Fortress. Peter and Paul Cathedral. The cathedral houses the remains of almost all the Russian Emperors and Empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family who were finally laid to rest in July 1998. It is still officially a museum; some religious services, however, resumed in 2000.
Ron had to look this up. This is the Fort Nikolai “Range” Front Lighthouse. (1891 to 1920) It aligns with another behind it to keep ships on course. Now a simple beacon.
Neva Bay (St. Petersburg) – The Saint Petersburg Dam separates the bay from the Baltic Sea during bad weather. Started in 1980, but delayed by political upheaval in the 1990s, the dam project was completed in 2010 and officially commissioned in 2011. The white wedge swings out to connect with a twin on the other side.
Tallinn, Estonia – Old town from the ship. A UNESCO world Heritage Site. For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/08/21/ .
Tallinn, Estonia – Old town from the other side. Note the Carnival Legend in port. Ron and Carol really like Tallinn. It has a great old town, great shopping, and is really open for business. (The tallest building is St. Olaf's Church. More on it later.)
Tallinn, Estonia – Old town. A young man playing a Swedish Key Harp (Nyckelharpa) for tips. He was good!
Tallinn, Estonia – Typical house.
Tallinn, Estonia – St. Olaf's Church. Competed in 1519, now a Baptist church! For 76 years it was the tallest building in Europe at 160 meters. Now 123 m. or 417 ft. tall. (Lightning is hard on tall buildings.) Carol found a nice place to pray.
Tallinn, Estonia – Fat Margret Tower. Built 1530. Now contains part of the Estonian Maritime Museum. A small, but really nice museum. (You folks in Greenwich listening?) It has a café on top that sells really weird Estonian root beer.
Our friend Darrin said she was not fat, just big boned.
Somewhere on the Baltic - Eye candy for the formal dinner.
Denmark, between Zealand and Funen Islands - Great Belt Fixed Link (Danish: Storebæltsforbindelsen). It connects the two islands. There is also a bridge between Zealand and Sweden. One can now drive from Europe, across Denmark into Sweden. Completed in 1998.
Ship tour! Carnival Legend Bridge – Captain Alessandro Galotto and Carol at the wheel of the ship. Captain Galotto is saying “Carol, do not aim at the light house.” And Carol, laughing maniacally, thinking “I’m gonna’ sink this thing!” (Captain Galotto was a very nice and fun person.) For details see Carol's blogs http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/09/03/ and http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/10/18/ .
Ijmuiden, the Netherlands – The lock on the North Sea Canal that keeps the North Sea from flooding Amsterdam. Build in 1929.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum. A great art museum. Lots of old masters in an upgraded historic building with excellent lighting. The Rijksmuseum is below sea level. Thank goodness for the locks. For details see Carol's blog http://carolbuckles.livejournal.com/2013/10/19/ .
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum. The weepers from the tomb of Isabella of Bourbon. 1475. Only these ten remain out of the original 24. About 0.4 m. or 15 in. tall.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Typical side street and canal. The entire old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Houses lining the old port.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands. One of the few remaining hand operated gate brides.