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rhkkmk's off to Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn via JFK

rhkkmk's off to Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn via JFK

Old Sep 9th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Take 2 on this response - the 1st is somewhere out there!

Your pictures are lovely! Glad to know I'm not the only one to take pictures of train signs or hotel bathrooms! I was able to retrace our trips to both cities through your pictures ... Loved the one of the Baltic Sea Herring being fried up at the outdoor market stall in Helsinki - oh, those are so good! And the awesome beauty of The Hermitage from both inside and out.

Anxiously awaiting your pictures from beautiful Tallinn -
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 05:03 PM
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wonderful photos, thanks,Bob!
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 06:44 PM
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here is an unusual group of pics: some doors of tallinn


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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Bob, those were great photos, thank you! I think I most enjoyed the Overdressed #1 & #2, and the sculpture of your grandfather! The upgraded room at the Kamp Hotel in Helsinki looked very comfy indeed. All the photos taken in The Hermitage were terrific, too, what a great treat to see the treasures there.

Bravo!

BC
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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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a few more st pete pics


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Old Sep 9th, 2009, 07:54 PM
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Great pictures. Had no idea there was graffiti in tiny Estonia. Loved those doors.
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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here are the pics of Catherine's Palace:


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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 07:27 AM
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some more pics of around SP plus a visit to Tsar Paul's palace and a lunch outside the city


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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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here is Peterhof and other pics


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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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we are getting near to the end...


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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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That's it folks....

just some thoughts:

Karen had St Petersburg on her wish list like for ever....when Tengombre mailed me the Finn Air offer I could not stay home....Over all we liked the trip very much but the dour look on most locals faces, plus an apparent rudeness made the trip a bit tideous at times.. This added to the huge expense of almost everything from bottled water to a pizza made my budget strain....In spite of all of this we loved what we saw, especially everything associated with tallinn and the sights of st pete....

finn air was comfortable and pleasant---food was even good
the helsinki hilton was perfectly fine, but not in the best location....the st petersburg marriott courtyard was also very nice, about a year old, but limited for local restaurants---price was right however....the imperial in tallinn was in a perfect location, was a very nice hotel and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.....the kamp hotel in helsinki is a lux hotel that needs some attention to some details...our room was fantastic and comfortable.....the holiday inn at the helsinki airport has the best beds of our trip, is well located, has the best food we had on the trip and is affordable and includes a free shuttle to the airport every 20 minutes...

We did not have a bad meal on the trip....prices as noted were very high...if there is a budget option we could not find it... we did not have a fantastic meal the whole trip really, nor did we have a single not good meal...

Tour guide---Alex was a god-send for us....he was very affordable, very very pleasant and his information was just at the right level for what we wanted....he was on time or early and was totally flexible... we did not have another guide for the entire trip save the very bad ones we had in the gold and diamond rooms at the hermitage...

if my time were limited in st petersburg, i would simply spend as much time as i could at the Hermitage....it tells the whole story....i would not pay extra for either the gold or diamond rooms....neither contains much of anything russian.. there are no crown jewels in SP, they are all in moscow... Un like many "art" museums, this place incorporates art in with the rooms being visited so you cannot become bored with it, unless you hate grand interiors...its not like a great city museum in that regard..

Peterhor and Catherine's Palaces are also worth a visit...

a drive or two around the city to admire the fantastic buildings is well worthwhile...

Would we repeat the trip...probably not, although i could spend more time in tallin and maybe parts of estonia... the finnish coastline might hold some interest too... are we glad we did it---OF COURSE...

next up South Africa followed quickly by our 13th trip to Bangkok...
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Bob and Karen...excellent photography..but so many of your shots were dup's of mine...I could've sold you those for a fair price...AND, Bob-o, you're a fraud...the sculpture is <b>not</b> YOUR grandfather, it's <b>MINE</b>!......could it be we're cousins??? <i>Oy, vay</i>!...never mind!!

stu T. (Panda, take note of your friends's transgressions!)

(Waiting for your South African report).
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Old Sep 10th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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stu...maybe we are kissing cousins??

how do you think i found those shots....you sent me your pics, and i spent most of my trip trying to find the places....you ruined my trip!!

i need roz to help me navigate things....
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Old Sep 17th, 2009, 07:55 PM
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ttt
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Old Sep 18th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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back to the top for billT
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Old Sep 18th, 2009, 09:38 AM
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Great pics- interesting places! Are you going on Safari in South Africa?
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Old Sep 19th, 2009, 06:21 AM
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Yes, we leave Oct 13 for cape Town. Looking forward to another adventure..k
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Old Sep 23rd, 2009, 07:35 PM
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the more i read other reports the better our trip was...
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Old Oct 9th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Bob, based on your trip can you confirm that visas for Estonia are no longer required for US citizens? The Estonia embassy and consulate websites have news items about talks going on late last year to make a mutual waiver but they don't come right out and say "visa no longer required". (Some commercial visa sites do say "US Citizens do not require visas for Estonia but I would not necessarily trust those.)
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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laurie_ann - not to highjack this, but we were not required to have visas when we visited Estonia in June of this year.

Believe Bob & Karen left for South Africa today and won't be able to respond for awhile.
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