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Celebrity Century Nordic Cruise

August 25 - September 6, 2009

Click here to see the Cruise Itinerary
The ship left Amsterdam through a long canal past windmills, goats grazing in flat fields, and small villages.
After nearly two hours we passed through
the locks that led to the North Sea.
  We met our lovely tablemates for the cruise -
Bill & Lexie from Banff, Scotland and
Glen & Amy from Mission Viejo, California.

Warnemünde, Germany

After months of going to Catholic churches and cathedrals, we felt at home in
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Warnemünde.
  The town itself is a beautiful resort city with lots of
sailing ships and miles of sandy beaches.

A Day at Sea and Guess What?

Paul was chosen to assist the Cruise Director in a Cook-Off in the Celebrity Theatre
against the Executive Chef of the Specialty dining restaurant. . . Guess What? We won!

Stockholm, Sweden

Our friends from Sweden, Gören and Connie (who we met on a cruise last fall), met us when we got off the boat in the morning and gave us a wonderful tour of their city.   The colors of the buildings really caught our eye. The green copper statue in the park near the orange-red Lutheran church was beautiful.
On our walk through the open-air and covered markets we saw local mushrooms, lingon and blue berries; plus, lots of fresh fish and seafood.   Our lunch at the market was fried herring with mashed potatoes, cheese pie (made with a local parmesan type cheese) served with sour cream, chopped onions and caviar - and two types of bread.

Helsinki, Finland

The long Esplanade park and walkway near the harbor
was full of interesting things to see,
including a puppeteer that all of us enjoyed.
  There was an outdoor market selling furs and skins from reindeer, fox, mink and rabbit.
And, of course, the market Smörgäsbord included salmon, white fish, and reindeer served in
meatballs, casserole, and paella.
  In Senate Square along with the Government Palace and university buildings was the first
Lutheran Cathedral we had ever seen.

St. Petersburg, Russia

The luxurious Catherine's Palace (as in Catherine the Great) was filled with gold leaf and amber on the walls.   The grounds of the palace boasted
a lake and formal gardens.
We lucked into a private tour in a limosine with a driver and an English speaking guide when the other 4 people who had booked the Red October tour canceled.
Katya, our guide, showed us into the apartment where a Russian family had prepared lunch for us.
  The apartment was on the 5th floor of the building, up cement steps with exposed pipes and electrical wires.
Our hostess, Tatyana, was an absolute delight. She prepared a salad, cabbage and potato soup, fried chicken fillets with boiled potatoes and a variety of desserts in her sunny 5'x5' kitchen. We were served generous shots of Vodka throughout the meal, along with orange juice and purified water.
Katya took us to a local market after we told her we would love to see the types food available. The market had piles of slaw fixings and large bowls of caviar.   It was a Monday afternoon, but we saw brides everywhere because August 31 is like a holiday -
the last day before the school year starts.
So. . . Which hat do you think he bought?!?
P.S. The mink hat in the middle costs $180.00 and the silver fox on the right costs $300.00!
The Church of the Saviour on the Spilt Blood
was classic Russia. . .
  and the inside of the Hermitage,
the State Museum and former Winter Palace of the Tsar's was just as spectacular.
Peterhof, the Summer Palace of Peter the Great located 20 miles south of St. Petersburg,
had over 300 acres of gardens with 147 fountains that worked without pumps.
The water is fed from springs and gravity forces the sprays of water which eventually run into the Baltic Sea.
Ornamentation on both the outside and inside of the palace is covered with gold leaf.
We went to lunch at the Stolle café and had Beef Stroganoff, mushroom pie, Budweiser (Budvar) beer from the Czech Republic, hot tea and lingon berry pie.   I was sad when Oleg opened my door for the last time and we had to leave St. Petersburg.
Read more about our Russian adventure in our BLAB.

Tallinn, Estonia

Paul didn't waste any time meeting the local nut roaster (yes, you read that right)
in the 13th Century section of the city.
  In many parts of the town,
the buildings looked Scandinavian. . .
but the Russian Orthodox and Protestant churches with onion domes showed Moscow's influence.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid,
dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen, must be freezing.
We were bundled up in summer!
  The famed Tivoli Gardens were really nothing more than a small version of Six Flags. I couldn't imagine
doing a water slide in this weather.