The Norwegian Star uses Copenhagen as its starting port for both the Baltic and Norway Fyord cruises. We were fortunate to enjoy several “partial days” as we landed after the Trans Atlantic cruise, the Norway and the Baltic cruises. It is a city rich in culture, beautiful buildings, modern architecture and old royal castles. The people we met were delightful. A city we could easily visit again.
We toured on the “hop-on hop-off” bus and got a flavor of the city. We got off at the Ambassador Hotel and used their wi-fi so we could catch up. They suggested a traditional Danish restaurant, it was fabulous. We tried the sandwiches with whole grain bread on the bottom topped with your choice of food, but no top piece of bread. John tried the Roast beef from Kildergarden with fried egg and onions, sensational. Janice had Pan fried fillet of plaice, a wonderful cold water fish we had not heard of, with hand shelled Greenland shrimp and mayonnaise. We were also introduced to four different shots of SNAPS we shared, they were a bit strong but delicious with each different meal. Dill Snaps went with the fish and the Blackthorn Snaps with the beef. We also tried two different older Snaps, one 30 years old.
A trip to Copenhagen and not viewing the little mermaid would be inexcusable! We like so many that get a chance to see her are shocked by how small she is. Good part of the viewing is watching everyone, trying to get their pictures and of course the “selfies”!
When we returned from Norway we headed down to the Ambassador Hotel again for some coffee and wi-fi. The Hotel is only a few blocks from the panel area that served the seaman from around the world for so many centuries. It is now full of lovely restaurants and shops, not a “red-light” to be found. We stopped at a great outside return on the canal and had fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and an antipasto. We sat next to two young students, she was from the Netherlands and he from Hungary. We enjoyed a beer and enjoyed their travel stories and answered all the questions they had about the United States.
We took a tour through the canals.
It was a gorgeous day full of sun audit was just refreshing. One of the sections across from the city center was considered “too far” away, but the city wanted to develop it. You have to love government incentives! The government offered 12 years free taxes if you moved out there. There are still some of the original houseboats along the canal and housing. It is now the most sought after part of the city to live in . The canals go under bridges along the way and each bridge has history and a story. (pic of under bridge and face).
We saw many interesting homes and famous places along the way . This dome was originally constructed to study the environment, it is now a venue for parties and concerts. This building top was supposed to be like an alligator but since no one had ever seen one this is how it was completed back in the 1600’s.
We were told later on the hop-on hop-off bus about how you can enjoy a balanced lifestyle with time for both work and leisure. And while there is a strong respect for the community, there is also a strong emphasis on personal freedom and the opportunity to pursue and fulfill individual potential. They went on to talk about making sure all in the public schools are educated at the same level, so that people are not left out of opportunity. They emphasized that incomes, regardless of what you do, are basically the same. We found this hard to understand.
Janice realized she had left her jacket at the restaurant, once we were back on the ship. We contacted them using Skype, and we were able to collect it when we returned the last time to Copenhagen before heading to Berlin.
Our first stop was Warenemunde, it is a large port with a small fishing village feel along the beach on the northern coast of Germany. Many on the cruise took the train into Berlin, we did not since we are traveling to Berlin after the cruise. We chose to visit a small town just a short train and a tram ride away called Rostock. Rostock was a lovely town with many stores and a wonderful old church.
After walking around the town and browsing the stores we hopped back on the tram to the rail station and back to Warenemunde. We walked around the small fishing village and checked out the local stores and the beautiful canals. We headed back to the ship (it was very quiet on the ship until the return of the Berlin travelers).
Next stop was Tallinn Estonia. This city is located in the gulf of Finland about 80 miles south of Helsinki. The history of Estonia is a part of the history of Europe. Founded in 1248, but the earliest human settlements date back to 3000 years BC, Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved and intact medieval cities in Europe. Old Town streets are very narrow and wind through the town. We choose another walking tour through the city, our guide was Hilti. She had a grand sense of humor about how many times Estonia became a free country, then was lost again to either the Romans, Germans or Russians. One time it was a free country for only 2 weeks. The Estonians never fought against any of their conquerors. Estonia is now its own country, since the break up of the USSR, one wonders how long that might last?
Hilt walked us through the old streets of the lower and upper parts of the city. The rich aristocrats lived on the top of the hill and the poor below in lower town. The poor were afraid of the aristocracy and wanted to build a wall between the upper and lower area, so they convinced the aristocracy to allow them to build it to keep the goats from going to the upper area and eating the flowers (so the story goes). We do not have any pictures, it was here that the camera lens decided to stop working properly. With only one city left on the Baltic’s capital tour we thought we would wait until Berlin to correct the problem and avoid that lens. Yikes!
After St Petersburg our next stop was Helsinki. Janice had been to Helsinki years ago for a meeting with Nokia, her memories was there was not much in the city proper she was not far off. We chose the hop on hop off bus to tour the city, the stops around the water were quite beautiful and we made a stop at the Rock Church, this was magnificent and is a functioning church. We were fortunate to arrive when it first opened so we were able to get some magnificent pictures before the crowds.
After visiting the church we walked down the way past the stores to find a cafe and catch up on the internet. Time went fast so we had to head back to the ship, we caught the next hop on hop off and made our way back. The Presidential Palace and the Administration buildings lined the town square.
Stockholm was the schedule but the weather turned bad and we were unable to get through the narrow channel into the dock so we dead headed for Copenhagen. We arrived back in Copenhagen for another night on the ship. We headed to our favorite place to use the internet, Janice had come down with a bug so she was not up for more touring, this was our third stop in Copenhagen. Janice was able to return to a restaurant we had eaten lunch and retrieve the jacket they were holding for her, so all went well.
We spent the last night on the ship and took our fitness trainers out for dinner. Angie and Johan had been great to us and we are probable in the best shape in a while, we are hopeful to install our own TRX and get some Yogi videos so we can keep up with the training when we return home. Of course the spectacular views during our yoga training will not be replicated!