Scandinavia, Baltic & Russia

Old Feb 4th, 2012, 08:53 AM
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Traveller69:

It may be a feat alright( climbing the steeple staircase) but the views you are rewarded with are breathtaking.

Yes, The Blarney Stone was a feat alright.
Spiral staircase... single file to ascend up and then when you lie down , another person holds you so you do not slip throught the opening..

Then you bend your neck backwards and kiss the Stone!!

jacketwatch:

An escalator would take the fun away, but you never know about Eschew
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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The whole gang is here!

Traveller69, thanks for the tip fro Percy's TR, I will look it up and bookmark it right away.

Percy, it will be on the Emerald Pricness. They offered us balcony for the pirce of oceanview so the price was very good. Then we found out that they offer the outside for the price of an interior. The price difference is $1,000 per person so we downgrade to oceanview (paying interior) and waiting for a "free" upgarde back to balcony. For $2,000, DW said it will cover all the shore excursions plus more. We have not been on the Emerald but had been on Ruby (a sister ship) so we are familiar with the layout. Where about are you in Palm Sping? Are you anywhere close to Royal Palms by Date Palm or you are in the more expensive neghiborhood.

Larry, your beloved blackhawks had lost in a row . There were just ripe for the taking. Mario was the last one who got 8 in a game. The record is 10 by Sittler.

I am scheduled to travel to St John Newfoundland for meetings and flying home on May 30th or 31st. Cruise leaves June 3 so more than likely, I'll fly out to Europe on June 1 leaving me not that much time in Copenhagen.

We are considering the Airport Hilton over any downtown or dockside hotels. Taking the train to downtown and cab to the dock(or Pricness transfer to avoid issues).

SPB, Alla and Red October are on my list for excursions but it appears St Pete is the 2 days that I am looking for booking anything and we will try to do it on our own for the other stops. Also considering joing the group that is already organized in cruise critic roll call if I don't have time to plan.

We usually take the "long" trip in the October/November and the easy one in the spring/summer as my workload is heavier in the spring and I have less time to plan. We have to reverse it this year as summer is really the only time for the Baltic unless you want to experience their winter.

I have heard the steeple is over-rated, probably less demanding than the statue of Liberty, but the view is spectacular. It certainly will be on my list if I have time. This year is the 250 anniverssary of the completion of the spire and may draw bigger crowd.

Larry, I actually didn't want escalators installed. I want it to be wheel chair accessible so I can use my walker.
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Eschew: Well its been 5 in a row down for the Hawks. Yuk! They still have 7 games left on this road trip too. Better get going.

You will be in the Baltic for white nights. m,an thats great. You will love it. We were on the Star Princess then and at the back of the ship way up is a viewing area/lounge. We were there one night around 0100 or so and its almost like you can see night transitioning into day on the horizon. I'll never forget that sight.
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Eschew: I was in Rancho Mirage Area a block from Palm Desert Area.

Everything about Palm Springs is lovely at this time of year.

All people seem to do is play Tennis and Golf ( those that can!!)

I drove down Date Palm Drive.

About the Steeple...it will be the 260 year Anniversary.

There was not really any wait time when I was there.

They says there are 400 steps going up ( on wooden staircase)... I was not counting!!!

then the last 150 steps are all outside .
Was I scared? Does a duck love water !

I went right to the very tip....just to say I did it.
I remember holding on the the rail with white knuckles and taking pictures with the other hand.

Oh I see.... You want wheelchair accessibilty!!
Then make sure you do the Round Tower a blcok off the Stroget ( main shopping street).

It is a circular inside ramp. Peter the Great rode his horse up here in 1716 and NOT 1726 like Wikipedia says !!
Because he died in 1725.

and Catherine ( Not the Great) rode up in a carriage with three horse abreast pulling the carriage..so you know the ramp is wide.

wide enough for your walker
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Hi Eschew - Again taking Percy's advice we bid on a four star in Copenhagen on Pricline and got the Mariott I think for $125CAD. It seems to be the only 4 star that comes up in that price range. It was is an excellent location - not too pricey cab ride from the airport or to the dock. We walked the downtown area, Tivoli etc (and Percy's church) easily from the hotel. Also took Percy's advice and upgraded to a waterview room for not a lot extra.

You should know that when I was in St Johns Nfld. I was made an honourary Newfie. Kissed the cod, had some screech, tapped on the head with an oar and got a certificate to prove it. In those days (20 years ago) the certificate was signed by Joey Smallwood. The last father of confederation.
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Old Feb 5th, 2012, 05:08 PM
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I agree with Traveller69

The Marriott is a nice location and cheap for being a Marriott on the waterfront.

It cost $10.00 per person more to upgrade to a Riverfront view.
But from my room I could then see the Church of Our Saviour


Gee.. I was in Newfoundland also about 15 years ago..jigged for Cod, had some screech but I was not important enough ( ) to be and Honorary Newfie !!!
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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I will have to look into the Marriot waterfront and see what we can get it for. Thanks for the tip. The ship docks at freeport so we can cab it as we have the berth number.

Percy, I have your TR bookmarked. Thank you Traveller69.

Since I will be at Newfieville till the 30th, best case scenario will give me at most 2 days at Copenhagen pre-cruise. Very tight schedule. In 2010, we had 3 days pre-cruise at Athens and 3 days post cruise in Rome and there were so much that we wanted to see and missed that we will probably go back in a few years.

Other than the hotel and one night at George Street, I probably won't see much of St John. I should ask for the "certificate". Like Percy, I didn't get mine last time. Traveller69, can you do the Newfie speak? I heard they are printing a book to help us commoners to "translate" newfie sepaks to English so we can understand them. (Honest, I am not making it up.)

Percy, let me see if I get this right. 400 wooden steps, teh last 150 are outside, built 260 years ago, probably rotted by now and with non-existing or unsafe handrail, white knuckle asscent to the top, hang on to dear life steep climb, a stairway to heaven (literally?). And did you say how high it was? You mentioned that there wasn't any long line up to climb those stairs. I wonder why? Did you have to sign a waiver to go up those stairs?

Larry, I will make you an offer ... you and Sue doing the CN Tower Edge Walk. It is very safe (you have safety harness) but it is outside, on a small ledge and only 116 storeys high. I will run up the steep if you do the CN Tower edge walk. Deal?

Percy, I will have to check out the "round tower". That might look more like my type of activty at this point. I am still nursing my "injury". (Funny how the story on my "fall" in Peru gets bigger and bigger each time, and next time, the story will have me carried down on a strecther!)

Percy, do you have any fruit trees at your place in Palm Spring? It is picking season now, is it?
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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Shoot we've already done that.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Eschew

You are going to St John's not St John. Such an insult they would never put up with. I can see the headline now "Albertan found buried under a ton of dead cod"

Now, Percy said he jigged for cod - no certificate for that the cod must be KISSED.

For the best entertainment just hire a taxi for a tour around the city and just nod in agreement when you don't understand a word he is saying. Actually I love that place and the people too. Would love to go back.

Don't know about Palm Springs but we are certainly enjoying the grapefruit fresh off our neighbour's tree.

Good luck with PL and the Marriott.

Hi Larry!
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 05:29 PM
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Hello T69!
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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Eschew:

Yes , there are fruit trees everywhere almost.
Picked some lemons right beside my friend's side door and made Lemonade!! Really I am not kidding.

The oranges though were not that tasty !

About the Church of Our Saviour in Copenhagen:

Don't you chicken out on me.
Yes there are 400 steps ,with 150 outside.
The steps are in excellent shape !

( Wait till you try to climb some places in Tallinn !)

I have to admit the views from the top ( once you get there ) are really breathtaking

If you see pictures of the outside staircase you can see it is in very good strong shape.

The Round Tower is very easy to walk around .. I think the ramp circles 7 times.

The views are pretty nice from the top but picture taking is difficult,because they have a tight wire around the lookout.

You will get a nice view of Rosenborg Castle from here.

About the CN Tower.
When I took the glass elevator which runs outside the tower..... I was too scared to even look down !!

Traveller69:

Yes, you have to kiss the cod , but first you have to catch a good looking one .
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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jacketwatch:

Personally I would rather climb the Church Steeple than take the glass outside elevator to the top of the CN Tower again.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 03:20 PM
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Okay gang, I have narrowed down to 3 choices for St Pete.
Alla, SPB and Red October. I know Percy's had toured with Alla and was very happy. The prices and teh palces they visited are similar.

Alla offers both an open Group and private tour. The price difference is $100 per person for the 2 days. If you go group, they will form the group and you pay a fix rate regardless how many in the groupo (16 is the maximum).

The other two offers both group and private but you have to form your own group and pay whatever the # would be.

Larry, who did you go with when you were there?

Comments anyone?
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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Percy, the glass elevator doesn't come close in comparison to the edge walk. You are actually outide of the tower on the leldge, hooked to a safety wire & harness. You actually walk around the outside of the building, near the top of the tower.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 03:57 PM
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Eschew we went with a ships tours though I sort of had to even though I didn't want to. We were traveling with friends for the first time and I had urged them to try this cruise. Theywere really skiddisk inre to taking a Russian tour company. Maybe they thought they would end up in a gulag. . Well I could not convince them so we went with Princess. Actually for a bit less money we could have done virtually the same stuff with Denrus but our goupr number would have been maybe half of what we had with the ship.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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Eschew:

I would never do the edge walk.! It is too scary.

I would not Bungee Jump either.

Have you done the edge walk ?!

If you read my Trip Report ,on the St.Petersburg section,you will see I formed my own group was formed by others wanting to join us..but in each case Alla asked me if it was okay.

So Alla e-mailed me and asked if it was okay.

It was much cheaper with 10 people, but when I booked Alla, I was prepared to pay her price for the four of us.

It was all okay and I cut it off at 10 people.

The best thing was that we were off the ship so early every morning.
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 02:40 PM
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Thw edge walk is safe, at elast while everything is new, and your foot is on solid ground. Bungee, on the other hand, is dangerous and not so safe. (Heard about the one that the cord snapped just last year?)

Here is another new destination for you. The glass skywalk of China. http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/11...n-side-of.html

This takes it one step further than the glass observation deck over the Grand Canyon,or the propsoed one in Jasper.

I have your TR book marked but did not have a chance to read it yet.

Alla emailed me twice already and gave me some reasssurance on all my quetsions. She said she had not come across any delay from disembarking the ship. She said there are 20 lines for immigration so it should not take more than 15 minutes. The tour ticket would be my visa and that's it!

She had put me in their "open" group which may ended up with just the 4 of us, or 16 maximum. SHe will worry about forming the group and I just pay the "fixed" rate. If I so choose, I can change my mind (up to 3 days prior) and go private as long as they ahve guide & driver available.

They now call the strenuous tour "grand tour", sounds better, I guess. The "slow" one is still called comfort tour.

Based on the comparisons between the Red October, SPB and ship's tours, Alla appears to make at least one or two more stops. As an example: It appears the other tours didn't mention the upper garden but they all tour the lower fountains.

I have also been told that the eggs are no longer on display in the gold room, so we will atke a pass on the gold room unless there are other things worthwhile.

Did you remmeber what type of vehicle they use?
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Hi Eschew:

Alla used a nice 14 passenger van for the 10 of us.

Yes your tour ticket is your Visa.

The Eggs are not on display, the majority of them are at the Armoury at the Kremlin in Moscow.

I agree Grand Tour sounds better... Strenous makes you think you have to struggle to keep up!!

In an Open Group , Alla will more than likely add other to your group.

I visited the Gold Room at the Hermitage ( Winter Palace).

You can ask to be driven by the House of Faberge where the famous eggs were once made, it is only a couple of block from St.Isaacs Cathedral...which is on your list of places to see.

Mine was not an open group but she e-mailed me to ask if it was okay if others joined me.

I toured both the Upper and Lower Gardens at Peterhof.

At the end of the second day Alla will come to the Cruise Ship area to meet and greet you all personally.

I did not pay Alla until the end of the second day.

I tried to pay Julie ( our tour guide) at least half at the end of the first day...but she would not take any money.

I said to her ,"What if I am sick tomorrow and cannot come".

She said, " We trust you will pay us ".

Now wasn't that nice !!
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Old Feb 13th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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I had seen pictures of that sky walk in China !!

I think if I was there I would pass .
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