Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today we board the ship, Crystal Symphony. After my 4am outing and a short nap we met our friends for breakfast. Bags went out and we headed for the bus. Our tour took us to old town which we’d done twice already, the Vasa museum, and Milles Garden. The Vasa was an old warship which made it’s maiden voyage in 1628, all of twenty minutes before it sank. Staying under the water 350 years when it’s rescue mission was started. It is an impressive site and is an on going experiment in preservation. We then headed to Milles Garden the once home of Carl Milles (1875-1955), Swedish sculptor. The villa and gardens have an Italian influence and feature his sculptures, ok so I guess you figured that out already. His works are represented in most every country in the world. Milles spent 20 years in the USA, and was not only an artist but a teacher. 

We then went to the pier and proceeded to go through the process of boarding, picture taking and credit card swiping. Our cabin was not ready, deja vu, so we explored the ship and had lunch. The afternoon was taken up with meeting our butler, stewardess,and unpacking. We then regrouped and headed back to the city for the Absolut Ice Bar. This is a bar made of ice; walls, tables, and benches are all made of ice. You are given a parka and mittens when you enter and your time is limited. They sell, obviously, drinks made with Absolut vodka. The place was deserted but the drink was yummy. Mine tasted like apple pie with cinnamon. From there we walked down the longest shopping street in the city into old town, did I mention deja vu. Finally weary and with feet failing me we headed back to the ship and dinner. It is now 12:25am and I am running on reserve battery so will say goodnight before the bloody sun comes up!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Find myself awake at 4am, sun has already started to rise. Went for a walk and took some photos. It's good to see we have some followers... comments and words of wisdom welcome. Will jot today's thoughts and activities later tonight, if I don't fall asleep before dinner!
Dateline Stockholm.....
Arrived at 7:10am, flight uneventful but little to no sleep. Flew SAS and was pleasantly surprised by the food, airline food is not the best but this was edible. Greeted by the cruise rep and luggage came off quickly, I guess when your the first flight of the day things run smoother. When we arrived at the hotel our room was not ready, gee only 6 hours to kill. Walked around "old town" very charming lots of kitchy shops, cobble stones, and tourist restaurants. By the way neither one of us fell or twisted an ankle! Took an hour and a half canal trip which was a great way to see the city and kept us off our feet for awhile. Though "Intrepid Traveler" did nod off on the boat a few times. By the time we got back to the hotel our room was still not ready, so off to the bar for lunch. No we didn't have any alcohol because we needed to stay awake until Susie and Charlotte got here! Finally got a room, showered and napped a bit. Off now to the bar again for some liquid libations with the girls and maybe some dinner too. Tune in for tomorrow's episode.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I landed at JFK last night and was greeted at baggage carousal by "intrepid traveler." Always good to see a smiling face at the end of a long day. Can't imagine why I was up at 5am. I swear "intrepid traveler" has been channeling her early morning hours across the country because I haven't slept past 6am for the last two weeks. Even with staying up late and jet lag I was up bright and early at 5am today. I thought I was on vacation! Actually I, (and some others I won't mention) say my life is a vacation but sometimes I get to go away. The day isn't even close to half over and I'm ready for a nap, not a chance that's happening. 

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One week to go - who cares about shoes and clothing??? My big worry is making sure I pack the chargers for all my electronics and wondering if the "universal" plug that I throw in the bag will actually work this time!!! If history is any indicator, it won't!!! To set your collective minds at ease, all cameras, batteries, sd cards, ipod and kindle are in a pile on my bedroom floor!!!!
Thanks to Charlotte for checking on weather; now I won't have to pack the bathing suit - didn't want to take it in the first place - imagine the room it would take up in the suit case!! In place of the bathing suit, I will now throw in my exercise clothing - you can all now place bets on how much use they will get - and I promise never to lie about how many times I hit the fitness center or walk around the ship!!!
Furthermore, don't believe us when we say we will pack carefully; it'll never happen - we'll both still have two large suitcases that we won't be able to lift and a carry on!! Oh well, maybe SAS & BA won't charge us for being overweight (uh, luggage that is!!)!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

One week and counting. 
There are business travelers who can live out of a carry on for a week, I know because I've talked with them and I still can't figure it out. Then there's the guy with the travel show on PBS, he lives out of a backpack and washes his clothes in the hotel sink, right I don't think I'll be doing that.
If I were my mother I would have been packed a month ago, if I were my nephew I'd wait another week. Not to say I haven't been thinking about what to pack. The ever present thought running through the brain, "Will I really need this?"  Worry over packing to much or not enough. I pride myself on being a great packer, though sometimes the bag is heavier than I can lift. I invariably seem to pack items I never get around to using or wearing. So if baggage weight and efficiency are the concern of the day what's a gal to do. How many shoes are too many, and maybe this trip will be the time I get to wear those purple Louboutin's!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This is a first time blog so everyone needs to be forgiving. We are sisters who travel together. We started traveling as a family every summer, and ended up visiting almost every capital city in the U.S.A. (something our father always wanted to do, go figure). The places were not always the garden spots that highlight a typical vacation, but the journey and shared experiences remain in our psyche today years later. The fighting over who had to sit in the middle seat (let's face it, it was always me), who would have to sleep on the roll away at the Holiday Inn (ditto, above comment), and just plain sister issues (come on we all have them if we have sisters). As we grew up and apart geographically we came to the conclusion that to keep in touch meant making a concerted effort. We started with hitchhiking along on trips our parents took, and evolved into "Sister Week" in the Big Apple every September, add on a few cruises, the typical family get-togethers and we seem to be making a go on the staying connected thing. The parents are no longer on this planet, the core that kept us connected gone, so the job of tying the family together, of giving our children generational continuity is left on our shoulders.
Now that you know a little bit of what makes us tick, the adventure begins.
We're off to the Land of the Midnight Sun, in concert with two ladies we met on a previous trip (Rome, 2001). After that trip the four of us decided to meet up every summer for a weekend not only to reconnect but to plan the next years meeting place.  
This year our journey officially starts on June 28th, but because of geography I'm heading out early to meet up with sis. Out trip takes us to Stockholm, St Petersburg, Helsinski, Berlin, Kiel, and Copenhagen. We are on the Crystal Symphony. We take a three day layover in London on the way home.