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Old 06-21-2013, 04:20 AM   #939
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At the end of their three year vacation,
Here speaketh a man who clearly never had children, referring to maternity leave as "vacation".
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:57 PM   #940
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Saint Petersburg, Russia day 2.

Hi, on this day our tour started with a white bus named MAN. It seemed like a good bus and we had the youngest driver yet. He didn't hit anything, so that was good. They get real close to those little cars. We went to see another palace, a huge palace. It was really fantastic inside, but you will just have to take my word for it because we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside. I might have gone to jail for taking a picture of the sign saying that you can't take pictures. out side in the garden and water show area there were two guys re-doing the gold leaf on one of the statues. All of the gold looked like brand new. The top of the palace was also gold plated; I wonder if it was just re-done too. This palace was so large/long that I used my panoramic mode to get it all. Ready to go to our next stop and I noticed a few bus drivers trying to fix a flat. Well that flat was on our bus. great, now what? We were split into three groups and squeezed onto other buses, going to our next stop. Later we were back together as one group on a replacement bus. I took a picture of a Russian cop; If she saw me, she might have shot me. Things are a bit scary in Russia. No smiling, just serious looks. Well we made it to another fascinating church. You might get dizzy looking up again.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:18 PM   #941
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Day 2 continued.

Hi, we have just over 4,000 pictures, so I felt that I needed to share some more with you. In the next two churches there were many pictures on almost every wall and on up into the ceilings. The fascinating thing about these pictures is that they are all made with mosaics. There were some extra mosaics at ground level so you could take a close look at them. I guess being a June bride is world wide. We saw so many wedding parties near the palaces and churches. [none inside] Notice the high tech tool the worker is using to stomp the granite blocks in place as they re-do the sidewalk, Some of the buildings, Churches, Mosques, Chapels were almost in-describable. Once again in the second Chapel were wall to wall to ceiling mosaics. And the last picture was of the inside on another Church. Russia is almost over run with churches and palaces. They say there are hundreds of palaces in Russia.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:04 PM   #942
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Helsinki, Finland.

Hi, We took our tour bus to Helsinki, Finland. One of the attractions was a piece of art made from, something like, 900 pipes. I didn't know what to think about pipe art, but it was something we have never seen before. There was some other metal art work at the same place and this was located inside of a nice park. I saw this cute little street sweeper while there. Mostly the only thing that they seem to sweep up is cigarette butts. At this time he wasn't working as you can see from the edge of the street. Next was the "Rock Church"; It was made out of, inside, and from rocks. Quite interesting and the sound from music was acoustically great. This church has a large pipe organ; wish we could have heard it play. There was a lady playing the piano and it sounded great. The ceiling looked like it was made like a woven basket. This, Ironically, was the only place that we were warned about pick-pockets. [in a church?????] we made a quick stop by the Senate Square / Government Palace. No time to go inside so I only have pictures of the outside. A big tourist attraction is a bronze statue of a nude woman. If I got the story correct, the artist used an 18 year old, from another country to pose for it. Some locals love it and some hate it. The ones who hate it have tried to tear it down or have it removed. The ones who love it, celebrate the statue by poring champagne all over it and sometimes putting a hat on her head. Due to so much construction in this area, we only saw this statue form our moving bus. Helsinki, Finland, for some reason, only a half day tour. Nice place, just watch your wallet while in the church.
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Old 06-23-2013, 09:47 PM   #943
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Stockholm, Sweden.

Hi, we arrived in Stockholm, Sweden. Once again, as a Scandinavian country, it is similar to some of the previous stops that we made. School children, when being escorted from place to place, all wear a safety vest. Actually all public workers seem to do the same. All of the gardeners in the parks wore them too. I guess you could say that this amusement park is "Ocean Front" even though it looks like it's a river. Sweden is loaded with hundreds of islands and our huge cruise ship had to navigate between them. We had a nice panoramic view of Stockholm. The buildings are very colorful and many on this trip had spiral stair cases, or could also be fire escapes. Walking down some of the cobble stone walkways between the buildings was peaceful and calm. No bikes, motorcycles, or cars allowed. We saw the smallest art sculpture during one of these walks. You're supposed to leave some money [coins] and rub it's head for good luck. Lee Lee found this great looking man hole cover, so we posed our feet for this picture. Even the man hole cover was like art. Down the walking street we met up with what we assume are two baby sitters, each with four toddlers. Now here in the States, to support, or reinforce buildings, we use square plates or sometimes fancy stars. On their buildings they use an iron bar type set-up, but they are like trademarks or something because each building uses a slightly different design. [like on the rust colored building] At the palace there was an armed guard. I told him to guard the palace and I would guard this lamp post; I told him not to shoot me.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:02 PM   #944
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Nice photos Bob, thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:10 PM   #945
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ICE BAR by ICE HOTEL.

Hi, this was something really different; We were taken to the Stockholm "ICE BAR" in the ICE HOTEL. I have heard of something like this, but didn't know what to expect. When you enter, they put this thick blue coat on you so you don't freeze to death. [not really that cold] The coats have gloves attached to them because you will need the gloves when you order your drink, which is served in a glass made out of ice. For people like us, they have non-alcoholic beverages too. The entire Bar room is made out of blocks of ice. The ice blocks have some art work done on them and there are ice sculptures too. well these pictures might help you see what I'm talking about. I considered this a highlight of our tour of Stockholm.

In the last picture, is one of hundreds of islands in Sweden. Some are quite large, some are very tiny, and some are just right for a single family home. Therefore small boats are a life style and we were told that they don't need, or have to have, any license to operate these boats.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:15 AM   #946
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Bob,

Trying to catch up after 4 days in limbo.

How do you make ice toilets in the ice hotel? Wouldn't they melt upon application of the products they are intended for?

The bus wasn't named "Man", the manufacturer is. I think Man is owned by VW.

I thought your observation about Russia was very telling—a grim place to live again. All those palaces show how Russian domination by a small group of people has been going on for centuries and continues. Sad story.

I didn't think I knew how to spell it either, so I looked it up— Papier-m‚chť - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia —and we both did know how to spell it in English.

Sorry to see you haven't gone to Riga, Latvia. My paternal grandparents grew up there and left more than a century ago. My grandmother grew up in a one room stone house and worked in a button factory as a child. My grandfather went to England, changed his name, and must have sent for grandmother. They came to N. America, probably Canada, and moved back and forth between Canada and NYC and settled in NYC in 1914 or 1915. I'll probably never get to Latvia (or Prussia where my other grandparents came from in the 1880's) since I'd rather drag a trailer around N. America than suffer the misery of flying anywhere.

It is nice to see some countries have lots of public art, even on manhole covers. It doesn't cost much more and certainly adds to the pleasures of living in such places. We need more of that sensibility in the US.

As I recall you thought you wouldn't have wifi except at a very high price for a couple of weeks. Looks like that got solved. I am enjoying following your travels, especially since most of mine this summer are to remodel our new house. As for X-rated pics, they are art and may get past the Forum censors.

Keep it up, Bob.

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Old 06-24-2013, 08:03 PM   #947
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Hi, Gene; Here is a picture of the Ice toilets.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:32 PM   #948
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Day at Sea.

Hi, today was another day at Sea and I was going to get some bikini shots for you. Unfortunately it was cold and trying to rain all day. Anyway, I took some pictures from on deck which is mostly pool related. There are four pools on deck, a bar, a food counter, a spa area, lounging chairs, outside theater, ice cream and pizza counter, hot tubs, and today no bikinis. Also the food courts are on the same level. [15] Since the Emerald Princess is almost identical to the previous cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, it was easy to find our way around. They also have ship maps to help you. This one was very close to our room.
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:09 AM   #949
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Bob, what was the weather like , overall? I was following on the web cam and they did post some temps. Is the weather better, say , in late summer or June when you went? Were euros accepted everywhere? How were prices ? Is there anything you would do differently?
Thanks, Kos
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:45 AM   #950
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Bob, thanks for the photo of the ice "toilets". Would that be a four-holer?

Sorry to miss bikinis, but I'm told cruise ships have topless pools.

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Old 06-25-2013, 01:08 PM   #951
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Bob,

You must be the only one on the ship. Your pictures on the ship do not show any other passengers.

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Old 06-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #952
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Gene , not on a Princess ship, ha ha. You have to book on Carnival for that. Mostly older crowd on princess.
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