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Old July 21st, 2002, 01:33 PM
Darrell Deming
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Default Baltic cruise notes

Just got back from the 7/12 - 7/20 Baltic cruise on the Radisson Mariner. I'll post more notes once my body catches up with the time changes.

Visby - a walled town. really attractive. We just walked around for a few hours and saw a few sights. Walked up some backstreets to see how people lived. It was the weekend so the ferries brought tons of young people from Stockholm to visit. Gave the town a great European feel.

Stockholm - Our first visit to this town so we stuck to the old town, also a walled city. Saw several sights, got lots of neat pictures of the architecture and did some shopping. The city was crowded with tourists, but there were few Americans. We were the only ship in port. Caught a taxi to and from the old town. Less than $10 each way I think. Won't be our last visit so we did not try to do too much. Its more enjoyable if its not rush rush.

Tallin Estonia - Also a walled city. Some neat architecture and a few sights. Did some shopping, lots of good pictures. Only walked around for a few hours. Complimentary bus to town.

St. Petersburg - 3 days here. This is why we picked this trip. The 3 days allows a full day Moscow trip on that middle day. I recommend getting a Russian visa as it gave us the ability to do things on our own. Gave us total flexibility and it turned out we used it. Several couples we talked to were bummed they did not have that flexibility.
Day 1 - we hired a guide $7, car and driver $10 hourly. After seeing the town we went to the Hermitage and gave up the car and driver (didn't need to pay for that for the 3 hours we were in there). We were with our guide for about 9 hours. She was as good as it gets. I wanted to buy a good bottle of vodka so she took us to a grocery store so I could do that. Most of the buildings we wanted to see were covered in scaffolding as they are preparing for the 300th anniversery next year.
Day 2 - Moscow day trip was a ship tour. $500. I'd do it again. It is a brutal day, about 13 hours or so. Lots of busses and a charter flight. Got to see the Kremlin, Red Square and lots of sights around the city. Had an outstanding lunch at Hotel Pushkin.
Day 3 - we went to Peterhof. Got a taxi, rode the hydrofoil both ways and got a taxi back to the ship all by ourselves. Very doable. You must have a guide to get in before noon, otherwise you are with the masses standing in line to get in later in the day. Since the ship left we had to get in before noon. We got lucky and found a private guide with two women that allowed us to tag along just until we got thru the door. Wonderful place. Worth seeing. Make sure you find the trick fountains on the grounds.

More notes to follow
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