Eating, Shopping and the end of the Baltic!!

September 2, 2010 - Saint Petersburg, Russia

September 2

So I'm nearing the end of my Baltic summer, which is very exciting because that means the Mediterranean is around the corner!  We are so close to the end of our contract and it's bittersweet.  I've gotten so used to living on a ship now and my routine here, but can't wait to be back home with family, friends, and communication!  It's pretty much been the same around here, just cruises back and forth from Copenhagen and Stockholm.  We're down to 45 days left, which is just crazy.  We're back to doing our shows regularly, with our replacements, Dan and Sharmaine.  Things are working just fine with all of that.

Since I last wrote we have had a 7-day, 10-day, 7-day and are in the middle of a 10-day.  The 10 day cruise added in Latvia, Germany and Poland, so that's always fun.  I'll give a little run down of what I've been doing now in each port, which tours and things I think are interesting!  It is going to be out of order since we repeated ports so much.


St. Petersburg-

I did another tour in St. Petersburg which was my favorite.  It was a Russian Folk Dance Performance.  It was great!! There was a lot of traffic on the way in so we missed the first dance, but it didn't matter I enjoyed the whole show.  The dancers seemed young, I would guess high school age maybe just a little older and wore colorful costumes, with a live band behind them.  They had cute little red character shoes and many of the movements I recognized from my ballet classes when I did RAD (Royal Academy of Dance).  It was so lively and they were smiling, which was new to see in Russia!  It was fun to see their cultural dances and how expressive they were while performing.  It was me, Kaitlyn, Erin, Nic and the youth coordinator Andy that escorted and then we actually sat with the captain.  His wife and daughter had just left from staying on the ship for a while so he sat with us.  It was hands down my favorite St. Petersburg tour!

This final time in St. Petersburg were my favorite days here.  The weather was considerably cooler (instead of shorts and a tank top, we were in jeans, jackets and scarves!).  The weather seems to make all the difference!  The first day, we had a little picnic at the park.  We grabbed some Subway sandwiches and sat on some benches while birds tried to attack us.  It was lovely (the Baltic seems to have some ballsy birds...).  Then we walked over to the Spilled Blood Cathedral since Carly and I hadn't been inside it yet.  It was beautiful.  Huge, Mosaic art on the walls, the entire place was immense.  It's mind boggling to try and figure out how they could possibly get mosaics up that high.  After the Cathedral, we went to the little market across the way and we all bought some Matruschka dolls (Russian stacking dolls).

Carly, Nic and I continued to St. Issac's Cathdral and went inside.  It was even bigger than the last Cathedral.  So crazy how gigantic it is.  It makes you feel so tiny!  This Cathedral was much bigger inside, lots more to walk around and see.  Everything is so well preserved in these places, it's incredible.  I was glad I got to go into the Cathedrals I'd been driving by on the shuttle bus for 2 months!

The next day, Beckie, Erin and I set out for an adventure.  We kept seeing this indoor waterpark place right by the port and we decided to check it out.  We got there and luckily for us it was open!  It was the first day of school for all the local kids, so it wasn't busy at all.  We got these bracelets that you use for the lockers, they are magnetized or something and you also use them to buy drinks in the water park so you don't have to bring money.  We were like little kids and just laughing at ourselves because, who'd of thought we would be in a water park in Russia??  There were about 5 big slides, a wave pool, lazy river, lap pools, and one slide/river thing you used a tube for, but we kept getting stuck and smacking in to other people.  I didn't know how to say "Sorry" in Russian, so people probably weren't too happy with us.  Another slide was this giant toilet bowl thing.  You go down the slide and it shoots you into this big thing that looks like a toilet bowl and you slide around and around until you just fall out of the bottom.  It was pretty hilarious.

When we were done we dried off and went to the attached hotel for some internet (which ended up not working) and lunch.  It was an expensive lunch, but so worth it to eat actual food!  We headed back to the ship, then got on the shuttle to go to town to our usual internet place that happens to have some of the best ice cream ever.  We each got 2 servings of the ice cream...  It was a lovely end to St. Petersburg, although I think I've had my fill of Russia for quite some time now...



In Warnemunde, Beckie, Erin and I walked to the beach.  It wasn't the warmest day ever, but still nice to be out in the sun.  It's such a cute little town to walk through.  Afterwards we went to a little cafe right by the water and had lunch.  I tried some German beer and we all split a German sausage specialty.  Of course we also got dessert and it may have been the best apple strudel I've ever had.  It was a fun and delicious day.



Our last visit to Riga was mostly just a wandering and shopping day.  We ate some delicious Sushi and I got some souvenirs.  I love all of the hand crafted souvenirs in these ports because, even though they are technically "souvenirs" they are original, well made and aren't tacky.  I also love these little medieval towns!



For our second visit to Poland, we didn't have enough time to get in to the main town so we went to Pizza Hut (which is a classy establishment every where outside of the US) and had pizza and internet.  We didn't have a lot of time because of rehearsal and it was a short port day, so we had a productive day.



I finally got to get off in Visby and explore.  I loved it.  As I just mentioned I love medieval ports and the old town in Visby is just so cute.  I did some more shopping, I got some ice cream (I'm only noticing now how much I've been shopping and eating ice cream...).  The shops were so cute and unique, it was fun to just browse.  I want to come back to Sweden again in my lifetime.



Helsinki has been pretty much the same every time.  Except for the time we all went out and spent the day at a Mexican restaurant, Iguana eating and drinking buckets of Margaritas.  Other than that day, we usually do some grocery shopping, and shopping.  The last time, our final time, we went to the white church, and they were setting up an art display with big bears from every country, painted by an artist from that country.  It was so cool!  We took pictures with them, but at that point they were only up to K, so the US wasn't on there.  It was funny too because in my pictures from Berlin, I had taken a picture next to the Germany Bear from this exact art exhibit.

I will miss Helsinki.



Tallinn is another spot I'll miss.  Lately we just wander around, get some internet and shop.  We have our last time tomorrow and I plan to get some gifts I've been eyeing and these really yummy sugar and spice nuts they sell in these little medieval push carts on the street.  It will be sad to not come back to Tallinn, but I'll always remember how much I love it there.



Copenhagen has always been an embarkation day and so I wouldn't normally get to get off the ship, but one day I was off of embarkation!  I was the only one, so I went in to town and had a pastry tour for myself.  The pastry sign is a gold, upside down pretzel, so I made my way in to about 4 pastry shops.  I tried whatever they recommended and took pictures.  I had so much fun!  It was nice to just have a day on my own, walking around and trying yummy little things.  Everyone made fun of me when they asked me what I did, but I was on such a sugar high it didn't matter :-)



We had an overnight in Stockholm, which I was so excited about since I hadn't been able to get off there at all during the whole season.  The first day we had to work embarkation all day, but then it was Gabe's birthday so we all went out for Sushi.  We were supposed to all meet up at a bar, but our cab's took us all to different places.  Beckie, Carly, Erin and I ended up near a McDonald's so we got a late night snack before heading back to the ship...

The next day we went off to explore.  I got a cute Sweden Moose shirt and some other knick knacks.  The city was bustling because there was a World Cardiologist Convention going on.  I really wanted to find an Ikea, since that's where they originate from and I also wanted to get some real swedish meatballs.  I didn't find either but I'm planning on getting some meatballs in Visby hopefully!

We went to the Palace in the city and took some pictures.  It's such a cute city, a lot going on and it seems like it would be a lot of fun to live there.  It's just really expensive, ah!



As I wrote this, I'm realizing how much I like to eat out in port and talk about it.  Maybe that's because I'm sick of ship food, or maybe I need to do a more extensive World Food Tour...  I just love to eat!


This whole year of travel is just starting to set in now.  It's hard to realize the magnitude of what you're doing while it's happening.  I'm really happy I've been able to have this blog (even if I've been slacking lately) because now I'll be able to look back at more than just pictures.  I am ready to go home, the last leg of our journey feels like it's our prize for such a long contract.  I keep getting excited when I think about landing in New York and seeing my family.  I will have been gone 3 weeks shy of a year, how crazy!  I can't wait to see everyone when I get home and hug my dog!


We have 5 sea days coming up randomly throughout the next 45 days, so there will be time for journals!







September 2, 2010
visby and talinn--the two coolest places in the baltic i take it. good to know. keep up the blogging--i'll be a reading.XOXOXOX
September 2, 2010
It actually sounds like you've been on an eating tour of the world! Mostly since you've been in the Baltic though. I think it's a good way to remember the places anyway..
September 2, 2010
I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic.
September 2, 2010
It is good to see you verbalise from the heart and your clarity on this important subject can be easily observed. Thanks again!
Nancy (Auntie):
September 2, 2010
Kelsey, I had just commented on face book about your keeping up the journal and lo and behold it arrived in my e-mail! You are in places I will never see and they sound wonderful. I just loved the Cathedrals in Italy. I hope you will be able to spend a little time there too. Thanks for the update, I feel better now!
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