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Anna32

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About Anna32

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Hamburg, Germany
  1. Day 16 - Amsterdam and home All good things must come to an end. But not before we have the chance to immerse ourselves in some serious Dutch culture. Cheese, anyone? After our last breakfast on the Prinsendam, and last goodbye to our wonderful stewards Pras and Buda, debarkation was fast and painless. Holland America allows you to stay in your stateroom until your luggage number is called. There are no queues anywhere, and we immediately found our suitcase in the baggage hall. Since we have an afternoon flight, we booked the ship‘s airport transfer-sightseeing tour. First stop was the beautiful village of Edam. None of the residents were out and about, it being earlyish on a Sunday morning. Our group wandered through the town, admiring the beautiful houses. At some point, the local cheese store opened. However, our guide promised us a cheese-making demo at our next stop, so we moved on. The open-air museum cum tourist shopping mekka Zaanse Schans was our destination after Edam. The promised windmills appeared next to the parking lot. And then: cheese! Mr. Duck got very excited about all the yellowness around him. And we were quite happy to sample the goods. Smoked jalapeño cheese had to come home with us, yummy! We were given some free time, and admired the pretty scenery, before returning to the bus and onwards to the airport. Byebye, it has been a lot of fun!
  2. Thank you Marianne! Yes, the itinerary is absolutely wonderful, and has a high sentimental value for me. Glad to hear that you had the opportunity to connect with family in Rostock. It makes travelling so much more meaningful to have this king of personal experiences.
  3. Day 15 - Kiel Canal and North Sea Early and not so bright, a good description of my status when we entered the Holtenau lock into the Kiel Canal at 3am this morning. The canal had been one of the main reasons I decided on this itinerary. Close to home, I have crossed and passed it many times. But never on a big ship, that has been pretty high on my wish list, and got crossed off today. Bleary-eyed, I watched us transit the lock, and decided to go back to sleep for a little bit. When I woke shortly after 6am, it was light out. Small patches of morning fog were visible above the water, and the swans and ducks, plentiful in the canal, were just waking up. I spent the morning moving about the ship, watching our transit from different vantage points. Due to the bridges, the canal has a height restriction of 40 meters. The top of our mast had to come down in order for us to fit. It was quite exhilarating to see us pass the bridges from deck 13, were it seemed like we almost wouldn’t make it. The transit also involved a lot of horn-tooting, as many of the small ferries and feeder ships along the way gave us a friendly greeting, which of course had to be reciprocated. A sentimental moment came when we were in the Brunsbüttel locks, about to leave the canal. Cruise Director Samantha invited us all up to the Lido Pool to take a memorable picture together. Today marks the last time that the Prinsendam, and also very likely any Holland America ship, will have passed through the Kiel Canal. The other ships are all significantly bigger than our small explorer. Sad to think about it, but glad I could be a part of this milestone. Lunch time had some nice views of Cuxhaven, a city at the mouth of the Elbe river into the North Sea. Afterwards, it was suitcase packing time. A well deserved nap followed, rudely interrupted by our first-stage ship‘s alarm. When the captain came on the loudspeaker, we learned that a small fire had broken out in the Java Café, due to a wire in the wine fridge short-circuiting. Everything was under control promptly, and the captain was communicating very thoroughly. Dinner in the Lido was German night. All kinds of sausages, sauerbraten, suckling pick, dumplings, red cabbage, and all sorts of delicious sweets had a lot of takers. Funny to have traditional German cuisine presented by the enthusiastic Filipino crew. And it was delicious!
  4. Day 14 - At Sea There is a mystery about sea days. You wake up in the morning, looking forward to a day filled with fun activities. You muck about, mainly doing not very much. And then *poof* the day is gone already. That pretty accurately describes today. We had a lazy, late breakfast. So did almost everyone on the ship. The Lido was still packed at closing time. We got lovely Cappuccinos at the Java Café, and drank them in the library, checking out some of the board games. Chilled in our cabin for some time. Can‘t skip lunch, even if it feels like you just had breakfast. Lido had awesome Chinese food and do-it-yourself salad. EXC Guide talk about the Kiel Canal. Weird to hear an American speak about my home turf. All in all fairly accurate, even though there were a couple of minor falsities. Mixology again was a no-show by everyone but us, so I spontaneously decided on the Indonesian Crew Show. That was fun, and always so great to see the talent and joy of the crew members. Who knew that our cabin steward Buda is a rad bass player?! To the spa to get a haircut. Change to gala attire. Have our picture taken by ship‘s photographers for mother-in-law. Pre-dinner martini and then food again. Shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, lobster, chocolate lava cake. Yumyum! Movie time: „The Trollhunter“, Norwegian pseudo-documentary. We had the whole ship‘s cinema to ourselves and enjoyed the film very much. *Poof* Day gone.
  5. Day 13 - Helsinki, Finland Sunny blue skies greeted us on our approach to Helsinki, and would stay with us the whole day. It was not too warm or cold, with a nice breeze blowing. Perfect! We had breakfast in the winter garden part of the Lido, and could see from there that we were docked pretty much in the center of the city. In the distance, two other, larger cruise ships were visible, but we had the prime spot. We sighted a hop on - hop off sightseeing bus parked next to the ship and decided that we would give it a try. Conveniently, they were able to charge the ticket price directly to our room cards. Setting out, we first saw the water side of Helsinki, along the coast. The city seems to offer a number of public beaches, picnic areas and recreational facilities along its coastline. Everybody can take advantage of the rare warm summer days, and be out and about. There also is a pattern of re-using old factory or shipyard buildings for public or cultural purposes. Helsinki has a very good public library system, and is committed to provide access to education and digital infrastructure to everyone. There weren‘t many architectural highlights, as in the Baltic States, but the city is very charming, open and pleasant. Modern mixes with old, and the proximity to the sea makes for a very nice setting. Reaching the furthest point of the sightseeing tour, we decided to get off the bus and walk back to the ship, with a couple of stops here and there. First, we discovered a Sea Life aquarium. One of us has a soft spot for all the things swimming in the oceans, rivers and lakes, so we have been to aquariums in many parts of the world. This one was very nice, however we were missing a bit of local context. The different tanks were filled with diverse marine creatures, but none were specific to the Baltic Sea. The shark tunnel was thrilling, as they always are. Next to the aquarium sat an amusement park, housing many rides on a hill high over the city. Strangely, it was almost empty, and none of the rides were moving. It was after noon at this point, and didn‘t seem to fill up in any significant way. We wandered out of the park, and along the railroad tracks toward the central station. This was way more scenic than it sounds, as there was a walkway along a lake or inlet, lined with beautiful old wooden houses. Back in the city center, we found the market place and had some lunch at one of the stalls. Moose meatballs! The Prinsendam was parked basically next to the market square, and we saw many happy crew members heading out for some shopping. I am always glad to see them out and about, being able to take advantage of what our ports of call have to offer. Sailaway was beautiful, along the many smaller and bigger islands. One of them houses the fortress Suomenlinna, the main reason for Helsinki‘s existence. It was a strategic asset during the many wars between Sweden and Russia. Finland was sandwiched between the two historical powerhouses and an important asset for the Swedish king. We had a lovely dinner in the dining room, chatting to our table neighbors and almost forgetting the time. Not good, because we wanted to go to happy hour in the Crow‘s Nest! With the second drink only two dollars, each of us had two Wang Wangs, to the delight of the cocktail waiter. Never heard of the Wang Wang? It‘s the bigger and meaner brother of the Long Island Icetea. The bartender pours seven or eight different liquors in the mixer, and tops it off with pineapple and orange juice, and a dash of grenadine. The result is a smooth, fruity concoction, you never realize how potent it is before you a thoroughly tipsy. Second Wang Wang in hand, we went to the Showroom at Sea to watch Rubén Villagrand, an illusionist and mime who we greatly enjoyed. Afterwards, I decided to postpone writing my report to tomorrow and let the Wang Wang put me to bed.
  6. Day 12 - Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation Bus 6 showed up bright and early at 7am for another day of heavy-duty sightseeing. Fascinating how, after just one day of touring together, it almost feels like a reunion to see the rest of the group again. There were only 20 of us on Bus 6, which was, of course, the best bus. Our day started with some classic sightseeing, including several photo stops. We got up close to impressive Isaak‘s Cathedral, not without several „Beware of pickpockets“ from our guide Elena. Elena has been absolutely great throughout our two days in Saint Petersburg. She seemed to dislike the crowds even more than we did, and was very good with instructions of leaving stuff on the bus to avoid having to go to the cloakroom. She even potty-trained us, to take advantage of the best opportunities. „Ladies and gentlemen, even if you don‘t have to go, please let‘s everyone at least try. I‘m also going!“ Fortunately, she never forgot to turn off her transmission piece before she went. The small earphone devices worked like a charm through many a chaotic situation. Our main stop for the morning was the Hermitage museum in the Winter Palace. We got in at early opening, and the queue for regular opening an hour later was already halfway around the square. The rooms of the palace and the adjacent buildings were as much a wow as the collection of art. In the Rembrandt gallery, we were able to watch art students in the process of copying some of the masterpieces, with their easels right in front of the originals. Looking out of windows here and there, we could see the queues getting longer and longer. Elena‘s tipp: come in the winter! Lunch was on one of the floating restaurants in the Neva river. Arriving there, we saw an armed policeman guarding the entrance, looking very serious and telling us the restaurant was closed. Not good, as one group was already in there, and the rest of our ship‘s groups were arriving behind us. Debating our options, we saw one of the waitresses waiving us in, and the policeman stepping back. Going in, I was hoping that this was a tax fraud issue rather than a problem with the hygiene (apparently it was taxes, as Elena later told us). After lunch, we drove an hour to Peterhof Castle and Gardens. Our destination was the beautiful cascade of fountains and the park. Like a lot of the classical architecture, everything was displayed to impress. Really beautiful, but even better was the chance Elena gave us to explore on our own, on the promise that we would be on time for our Hydrofoil transfer back to the city. We took her up on the offer and left our group for a while, simply enjoying the beautiful landscape on our own. The boat trip back to the city was faster than the bus ride out to Peterhof. We caught up with Leonid and Bus 6 in front of the Winter Palace and had a smooth ride back to the ship, which we reached three minutes before the all aboard time, being welcomed back by the hotel director himself. Even though I am really tired after two days of heavy sightseeing, the whole process has been extremely smooth and glitch-free. We did encounter some crowds, but it was much better than we had been warned about. On the ship last night, we also had a nice fountain display in the neighbouring hallway. Buckets were catching the water pouring from the ceiling - apparently a pipe broke. That led to no water in the shower this morning. Fortunately, the issue was fixed when we returned. We have had a couple of plumbing issues so far, the old lady is showing her age in some areas...
  7. Day 11 - Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation Last night there was some concern among passengers that immigration and sightseeing might be a mess today. We were pleasantly surprised, especially after crowded Tallinn and the fact that there were even more cruise ships visiting Saint Petersburg today. I stopped counting after seven, among them the huge Norwegian Breakaway. But Prinsendam was in a terminal all on her own, at the relatively new Marine Façade facility. After our tour was called, we were through immigration and on our bus in under ten minutes. Our guide Elena and bus driver Leonid did a fantastic job today. Elena herself seemed a little surprised how smooth everything went. First, we drove out of the city to the suburb of Pushkin, or Tsarskoye Selo as it used to be called, to see beautiful Catherine‘s Palace. From the outside a marvel in white, blue and gold, the inside is even more stunning. We took advantage of early opening times and were one of the first groups in, accompanied by a marching band. The representation rooms are spectacular, especially the Amber Room. As told by our guide, the inspiration for this was a dream the Tsarina had. She let the Tsar know that she had dreamt about living in an amber jewelry box. And he had nothing better to do than have huge amber panels made to decorate the walls of the room. The Germans made off with them in WWII (they are lost to history until now - care for a treasure hunt?) but the replica on display today is still impressive. After the palace, we had a stroll through the park and admired all the little bath houses. Elena explained that Russians fear nothing more than the cold, and adore the heat. If you have an illness that a steam bath and Vodka can‘t make better, you are probably incurable. We also learned that Catherine the Great drank a very strong coffee in the morning, made from a whole pound of the stuff. Only she could drink it that strong, and never had to share. Our next stop was lunch, with a little Russian cultural show included. There was singing, dancing, and accordion music, all accompanied by one of the Lord of the Rings movies on the overhead tv screens. The picture of Gandalf singing „Kalinka, kalinka“ is still stuck in my head. Next up, we drove into Saint Petersburg proper. At a youthful 315 years of age, the nucleus of the city is very beautiful, with classical façades lining the streets and canals. Our first stop was the Ressurection Church, better known as the Church on the Spilt Blood. It was erected in the classical Russian style on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated (the 8th attempt on his life was finally successful). Dangerous job, Tsar... The church was very beautiful, but insanely crowded. So we were glad to leave after a brief walkthrough. Peter-and-Paul Fortress was somewhat lesser populated, but seeing the graves of all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great onward, including the murdered family of Nicholas II, was quite sobering. Good that we had a shopping stop including free vodka sampling next! Our last sightseeing highlight of this day was the Yusupov Palace, owned until 1917 by one of the wealthiest families under the last Tsar. It‘s claim to fame, apart from being an extraordinarily beautiful city palace, was that Rasputin was murdered here, in the palace‘s cellar, in 1916. Being very tired after all this beautiful and bloody Russian history, we were quite happy to put our feet up, as tomorrow will be another long day in port.
  8. Day 10 - Tallinn, Estonia I woke up to a man making an announcement over loudspeaker - in German. It took me a moment to realize that something was not as it should be. Opening one eye to look out of the balcony window, I looked right into the balcony window of a huge Aida ship parked next to us. At breakfast, we realized that another big Costa ship was docked on our other side. All in all, there were five cruise ships in the port of Tallinn today. It made the old town insanely crowded, and I have to say took a little bit away from our enjoyment. Undeterred, we set out. It was easy to find the way to Old Town - just follow the stream of tourists from the terminal. Tallinn has a lovely, medieval city center, with a lower and an upper town. Today, navigating through the narrow, cobble-stoned streets full of human bodies was at times frustrating. It didn‘t help that one of the cobble stones successfully tripped me, so I took a fall and kissed the ground of old Tallinn. Ouch! Nevertheless, we enjoyed all the lovely architectural details, and the view from the castle hill over the roofs of the old town. For lunch, we found a nice place on the market square, and had some boar stew and pelmeni (Russian ravioli), all washed down with a delicious honey beer. Walking back to the ship (well, I was mostly limping at this point), we discovered a more modern part of town, with lots of retail outlets build into old port storage buildings. A lot of the crew from all the cruise ships seemed to be spending some of their hard-earned Euros there. Back on the ship, I put some ice on my knee and ibuprofen in my body. With some help from Mr. Duck, I felt better soon, and am pretty sure that my knee will hold up for the two days of heavy sightseeing coming up in Saint Petersburg. In the evening, we had reservations for the Cellar Master‘s Dinner, a one-night-only affair per cruise. We enjoyed some lovely dishes with corresponding wines. As you can see, there is a bit of a theme here: sightsee, eat, drink, nap, repeat. Hard job, but someone‘s got to do it!
  9. Day 9 - Sea Day After five days in port, we were looking forward to a relaxing day at sea, mostly doing nothing. To give you an idea how that works, here is an extract from the „When & Where“, the daily program on board. 9am: EXCTalk: The real Vikings 10am: GoPro Vacations Series Presentation or, alternatively, presentation on how to make Salad for Dinner, in „America‘s Test Kitchen“ 11:30 Music Trivia 3pm: Line Dance Class (K-Wang and the Biker‘s Shuffle) or „Around the World Wine Tasting“ - that might have been fun doing both activities together 4pm: Win a Cruise Bingo And so forth... We did none of the above, though I will probably forever regret not knowing how to do the Biker‘s Shuffle. We had a nice stroll around the ship, which has some beautiful interior spaces, decorated with some amazing artwork. I especially like the library, with lots of books, games, puzzles, and some deep and comfy leather chairs. At 11am, we were invited to the Mariners‘ Lunch, a special recognition for returning cruisers. Which was almost everyone on the ship, the dining room was bursting at the seams. We had a beautiful haddock filet and a very citrusy cheesecake, and some nice conversation with our fellow cruisers. With only around 800 passengers, after a week you start recognizing a lot of people, which makes for a lot of „Hello, what have you been doing today?“. It gives the ship a small-town appeal, which we enjoy very much. The afternoon was mainly spent relaxing in our beautiful suite, getting ready for Gala Night. That plan went somewhat pear-shaped when we realised that most of the Gala treats, like my beloved shrimp cocktail, were also offered in the Lido buffet. Which meant no need for dressing up, and in my case having two shrimp cocktails instead of one... I did get dressed up later on though, to enjoy some of the evening entertainment around the ship. There is live music everywhere, from a classical trio in the Explorer‘s Lounge, to a small band playing favourite dancing tunes in the Ocean Bar, and a piano bar entertainer to hum along to in the Crow‘s Nest. I enjoyed two Negronis, people watched and tapped my feet to the music, before going to the theatre to watch this evening‘s variety show. Comedian Mark Palmer opened with 25 minutes of stand-up. He got some giggles from me (though that might have had to do with the Negronis). That was followed by Russian Broadway singer Igor Portnoi. A great voice, and fantastic sense of showmanship! The internet has been very slow today, so my little report will get posted tomorrow, when we are in Talinn. On Facebook, I have added some pictures from our beautiful cabin, and from the Lido buffet.
  10. Day 8 - Riga, Latvia There once was a lady from Riga Who smiled as she rode on a tiger. They came back from the ride With the lady inside And the smile on the face of the tiger. Enough with the limericks already! Riga, what a beauty! We started our day with a sightseeing tour by bus, to get the lay of the land. The city must be every architect‘s dream, with building styles from several centuries. Around each corner, there are new marvels to explore. For me, the main attraction are the wonderful Art Nouveau ensembles, complete with striking figurines and Medusa‘s heads. But there are also baroque, neo gothic and eclectic buildings. Red brick houses look familiar, the influence of the Teutonic Knights in this region is visible. Can you tell I‘m a little infatuated with the city? Having been here once before, I mainly remember visiting the occupation museum, and seeing the elaborate spying technologies the Soviets used in the Grand Hotel, making sure that every foreign visitor got their stay in Riga well documented. Today was all about architecture. Michail Eisenstein created his best works here, with his take on the Russian Jugendstil. His other claim to fame is his son, Sergei, who directed the classic „Battleship Potemkin“, among others. Both great artists in their own right. After our bus tour, we explored the Old Town, discovering many more hidden gems. And we had lunch, sauerkraut soup and elk stew, both delicious and just right with the cooler temps today. We slowly made our way back to the ship, deciding that we will have to spend some more time here very soon. Dinner brought another highlight: we had prebooked the „Sel de mer“ dinner, a pop-up restaurant featuring French seafood. After a huge pile of fruits de mer, we each enjoyed the catch of the day, a beautifully cooked Baltic salmon filet. The meal came with an extra surcharge that was well worth the price to us. Chapeau Holland America, magnifique!
  11. Thank you! I will write more about the ship tomorrow, as it‘s a sea day. I am also planning to do a ship‘s review at the end of the trip. We are loving the Prinsendam and her crew so far, even though the ship is at capacity, it never feels crowded.
  12. Day 7 - Klaipėda, Lithuania Rain, the forecast said. A very rare commodity these days in Europe. Sailing into the port of Klaipėda this morning, we were greeted with an interesting show of dramatic grey skies, lightning and thunder over the Curonian Spit. But no rain. When we left the ship to explore the old town of Klaipėda, the sun was out in full force. The city is a nice mix of old and new, with some beautiful, well kept wood-frame houses, but also some corners that have seen better days. It has the feel of a well lived-in place, genuine, down-to-earth, homey. And its position right on the Curonian Spit makes it an excellent summer destination. The small ferry boats were busy bringing people and cars onto the Spit all day long. Klaipėda is full of very interesting sculptures. We found a chimney sweep, sitting on the roof of a house (and a plaque on the street level that you could rub for good luck, as the sweep was out of reach). Two pigeons guarding a post box, and themselves from the unwanted advances of Mr. Duck. And a ghost, climbing out of the sea in the harbour, out for unsuspecting humans passing by. Lunchtime found us on Theatre Square, the main square of Old Town. Between the omnipresent stalls of Amber and other souvenirs, and a small marching band, were a couple of very inviting looking open-air restaurants. We ordered the local specialty: big, zeppelin-shaped potato dumplings with a meat filling, accompanied by a bacon-sour cream sauce. Due to their shape, the locals call them cepelinai. Absolutely delicious! We did the dumpling-roll back to the ship, and immediately needed a nap. At sailaway time, the sunny skies had turned a dramatic black again, and finally there was rain. For about five minutes. Afterwards, the sun came out again, and stole the show with another beautiful sunset. The temperatures have cooled down somewhat, and there is a little motion in the ship that will help us sleep well tonight.
  13. Day 6 - Kaliningrad, Russian Federation In 2005, I got this idea into my head to travel once round the Baltic Sea, by car. All in all, it was a wonderful journey, discovering many fascinating places, with a special focus on the Baltic States and Russia. This cruise is covering many of the same regions we visited then. And one city that has stayed in my memory from that trip, both good and bad, is Kaliningrad. The good: the area now known as Kaliningradskoje Oblast (any spelling mistakes are mine, I don‘t share) was part of Germany for more than 600 years, before it went to the USSR in 1945. It was part of East Prussia, the city of Kaliningrad then known as Königsberg. It must have been a beautiful, thriving city in the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century. My paternal grandfather was born there. Travelling there in 2005, when the city celebrated its 750th anniversary, was very emotional for me. Much more so than I had anticipated. It was, after all, part of my family history. (So is, by the way, my Sami great-grandfather on my mother’s side, who used to herd reindeer in the Swedish north, before he met my great-grandmother. But that is a different story...) The bad: crossing the border into Kaliningrad at Tilsit, with our own car, was a nightmare. There was a problem with our double-entry visa, the officials took our passports and my then husband, no one spoke a word of any language I knew, and I was left alone in our car on a chaotic, crowded border crossing between trucks, cars and Russian officials crammed in the tightest of spaces. I locked the doors, hoped for the best and waited for the longest 30 minutes of my life. In the end, all was sorted, and we didn‘t end up in a Russian prison. Compared to that adventure, today‘s immigration procedure was a breeze. Two very friendly female Russian border agents entered our bus, collected all passports, and returned them about 30 minutes later, neatly stamped. They were only slightly irritated by the American gentleman who had left a couple of dollar notes in his passport when handing it over. That‘s what I call taking tipping one step too far, sir! We proceeded on our drive towards Kaliningrad from the port of Baltiysk. The hour passed by quickly, greatly helped by the excellent commentary of our guide, Eduard. Should you ever find yourself in need of a great guide or interpreter in Kaliningrad, Eduard is the man for you! In the last 13 years, the infrastructure and general look and feel of the region and the city has improved a lot, to my western eyes. As Eduard explained, there are three types of architecture: old German, old Soviet, and modern. The old German buildings and fortifications are visible all across the city. Oftentimes now used for very different purposes than originally envisaged, they seem lovingly maintained, a solid pointer to the past. We visited the Amber Museum, housed in one of the old fortifications. Some beautiful specimens of very unfortunate insects, spiders, and even one tiny lizard sat encased in the petrified resin. There was also a lot of Amber artwork. And like with all art, tastes are diverse. But Mr. Duck did enjoy some fantastic photo ops. After a drive through the city center, we reached the Cathedral (the Dom), housing the gravesite of Immanuel Kant, as well as Europe‘s largest organ. We were able to listen to a brief concert, while contemplating the Categorical Imperative. All in a day‘s work! On the way back to the bus, I succumbed to one of the many dealers in Amber jewelry, and bought a beautiful pendant for a very good price. On the drive back to Baltiysk, Eduard happily answered all of our obscure questions about life in this Russian Exklave. The border procedure again was painless (no tipping involved), and we soon said goodbye to this fascinating part of the world. I was happy to see that the German past has not been obliterated, but is an essential part of Kaliningrad‘s everyday life. Apparently, young people even say „I am from König“ as in Königsberg, talking about their city. To end our day, we watched a beautiful sunset from our balcony, with lots to think about after a full day. Apologies for the longish post, but this city has a special place in my heart.
  14. Day 5 - Rønne, Bornholm Among all the ports on this trip, Bornholm is the only one I‘ve never been to before. So today was the day for me to discover new territory. But first: tender tickets. If you have never been on a cruise, let me share some wisdom I once learned from a Cruise Director: there are good ports, great ports, and tender ports. Tender ports mean that you cannot leave the ship via the gangway, but get to take a little boat ride from ship to port. Sometimes in local boats, more often on the ship‘s tender boats, driven by crew members who go from ship to shore and back again all day long. Naturally, not all passengers fit onto the tender boats at the same time. Rules of priority say that guests booked on a ship excursion get to go first, and everyone else has to queue for tender tickets, and wait until their ticket number is called. There are some exceptions: guests of high-level status and luxury suites get to cut in line whenever, the rest of us mere mortals have to wait our time. Fortunately Rønne is the only tender port on this trip. And I actually do enjoy the ride on the small boats. Today we even had a little motion of the ocean - the lady with the seasickness patch behind her ear sitting next to me didn‘t look too thrilled. But after ten minutes, terra firma had us back. Rønne is a quaint little town, with small, comfy looking houses lining quiet streets. If it weren‘t for the couple hundred cruise ship passengers, you could believe Sleeping Beauty would feel right at home. The main attraction are glass making and ceramic workshops. As is the case across the globe, the artist communities of every country seem to hog the nicest places to live, be artsy and sell the products of their artsyness to visiting tourists. Unfortunately, I am quite lacking in the creativity department, so that lifestyle is not for me... After we walked around for an hour or so, the leaden-looking skies started to drizzle. We escaped into the local supermarket and upgraded our stash of cabin snacks with some Danish delicacies. Returning to the tender dock, we didn‘t have to wait long for the next boat. We really enjoyed Rønne, but next time I will probably rent a car to see more of Bornholm‘s country side. A good part of our afternoon was spent chilling in the hot tub on the aft deck, gazing out at sea and doing nothing. And the evening ended with Wiener Schnitzel, Blueberry Mango Crisp, and a towelly peacock keeping Mr. Duck company.
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