Lisbon

We had a good four days in Lisbon before waving goodbye to Lois this morning as she jets back to the USA. I know we both will breath a sigh of relief when she texts us this evening that she has arrived in Miami and successfully made it to her hotel for the night.

She is staying tonight in the same hotel we stayed in 17 nights ago inside Miami Airport. But the really big sigh will be when we get a text from her on Friday that she is back in Danville.

We rented a two bedroom/two bath Airbnb for our short stay in Lisbon. The apartment was great except that it’s eco air conditioning system didn’t seem to do anything to cool the apartment off. Thank goodness the temperature at night dropped to the mid to lower seventies and we could open the doors and use the two fans to help make it bearable.

We laid low the first full day in Lisbon as it had been a rough travel day-left our stateroom on Breakaway at 7:30, off the ship around eight, then the joy that is checkin and security at the airport for our flight. Lois got to enjoy the comfort and food in the SAS business lounge as she was flying her return ticket on TAP. Mike and I got to sit at a coffee stand and pay $15 for a cup of coffee, one of tea and a sweet roll since we were flying our return Econ ticket from Mike’s infamous birthday flight from Lisbon to Copenhagen.

Monday night we ate at one of the restaurants at Lisboa’s former market which is now half market and y’all food hall. Readers from last spring will remember we are here several times. lol

On Tuesday we visited the cloister of the monastery in BelĂ©m (and had pasteries!) before we took a sunset cruise (ah, the weather was so comfortable) up and down the river on a 55′ sailing yacht. There were a total of 7 guests and two crew so it was very personal and enjoyable.

On Wednesday we rode the train to Cascais, the beach town Mike and I enjoyed so much in the spring. There were more tourists this trip (maybe the heat was bringing them to the beach) so while beautiful, we think it might not be the great town we initially thought.

This morning we left the apartment at 7am..ok 7:08 for the airport. Lois’s flight took off about 10:30 am and Mike and I have spent the day in the lounge waiting for our 4:30 flight to London. Only two more hours!

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Copenhagen to Lisbon

We left the ship about 8:30 this morning and after a taxi, a lounge wait for Lois while Mike and I had to slum it in a coffee shop, a flight on TAP, a bus ride from the runway to the terminal and an Uber (of course there was a taxi strike taking place!) we got to our Airbnb in Lisbon about 4:45 this afternoon.

It is lovely as promised and has a great view of the river.

Unfortunately, it is 94 degrees in Lisbon with a high closer to 100 predicted for tomorrow. UGH. Not sure how much sightseeing we will get done!

Stockholm

Due to high winds, we were unable to port in Stockholm. While I think we are all somewhat disappointed I KNOW we all enjoyed having a sea day. We was tired!

The ship threw on lots of activities but I didn’t take advantage of the line dancing, napkin folding or fruit carving demonstrations. Instead I grabbed a drink (or four) and enjoyed reading on one of the outer decks until it got too windy ….which led to a wonderful nap.

The next day (Saturday) which was our scheduled sea day was a repeat!

Helsinki

Our stay in Helsinki was relatively short-8 am arrival and all aboard at 3:30 pm. We elected to do the HoHo bus for ease of seeing as much of the city as possible in the time available.

We rode to the center of the city to the esplanade and the daily market where we had a hot chocolate as it was windy and chilly. Even though we thought it was cold, there were a number of people swimming in the floating pools-even the unheated one!

We then climbed up the hill to the Russian church because why not!

We then reboarded the HoHo and rode back around (past the ship) to the Rock Church. This relatively new space was drilled and blasted into solid rock. Its roof is a combination of metal and glass.

The time to get back to the ship was getting close so all the HoHo buses were quite full. I ended up riding back sitting on the stairs!

Helsinki was a beautiful city and I was most impressed by the variety of architecture-historic and contemporary. I hope we can get back sometime to really explore it.

St. Petersburg

We had a great two days here in the royal capital of Russia. It is a huge city and has much to see, too much for just two days.

We had joined one of the two private tours arranged by one of the folks on our Cruise Critic roll call. Ours was with “Hey Russia” and I was very pleased with value received.

Our guide Daria and driver Guinea (not right but that is how it was pronounced) were both friendly, very helpful and accommodating. The van was new and more than large enough for our group of 15.

The only problem with the tour is that everything is rushed in order to get even a glimpse. Imagine going to Paris and trying to see the Louvre, Notre Dame, another Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, a boat ride down the Seine, riding the metro and going to Versailles and another Versailles all in two days. Oh and at the sane time as a zillion other folks are all trying to do the same. Anyway, glad we did what we did but hope I get back someday in Winter when all the sights are free and supposedly empty!

Below are some of the many many pictures we took. It is a beautiful city and has beautiful structures most of which have been restored after destruction during wars and revolutions. Peter and Paul Church at their fortress.

The Hermatage, formerly a palace, now a huge museum. I did like that each room was decorated to reflect the art within it.

Church of the Spilt Blood

Boat ride on the Neva River

Metro

Peterhof Summer Palace

Catherine’s Palace including a very quick walk through the Amber Room. The palace interiors are a replica as in addition to war and revolutions, a fire destroyed much of the building. It is still impressive!

Tomorrow Helsinki….I need a sea day!

Tallin

While the day didn’t turn out as planned it wasn’t a complete bust. We rode the HoHo bus so we saw a little bit of Tallin. We hopped off at the gate to the upper city and walked around inside the old walled city a bit. It was long enough to go in two churches and for Lois to buy jewelry.

If the sun had of been out it would have been great fun as the town looks lovely and the people we met were all very friendly. Especially those from the bus company who help locate our drawstring backpack we left on the bus and returned it to the information kiosk at the port. We realized it had been left behind when we needed the umbrella! LOL

Made it back to the ship around 1:30 and had had lunch and am now writing this from “The Waterfront”, Norwegian’s feature on its new ships. This is a promenade off of which there is outdoor seating for restaurants and lounges. During the day it’s a great place to sit and contemplate the world. Here is my current view-the sun is starting to show itself!