I’ve been in Europe for a month on a cruise. You may not have noticed I was gone because I scheduled a few blogs to appear during my vacation so I didn’t totally disappear from cyberspace.
A month is a long time to be gone, but I had great time. Hubby and left from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. May 6 on the Celebrity Constellation, crossed the Atlantic Ocean (it took six days) and then visited Portugal, France, England, Netherlands (Holland), Germany, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Denmark and then flew home from Amsterdam. It was my second transatlantic cruise.
For me, these were the highlights:
- Most beautiful city: Paris, France. Of all the European cities I’ve seen, Paris is the prettiest. This city has stunning architecture. We actually docked in LeHarve, France for one day and it was a bit of a distance to Paris, so we did not have time to “do” anything, but we were able to ride the hop-on-hop-off bus and see many of the famous sites.
- Most moving experience: visiting the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.
- Most surreal experience: visiting the area that was formerly East Berlin and then traveling to Moscow and visiting the Kremlin. The tours stand as a lesson how quickly the world can change. I never thought one day I’d visit former/current Eastern Bloc communist places.
- Favorite meal off the ship: Reindeer sausage from a vendor at street fair in Helsinki, Finland. When I can (and when I trust the safety), I always enjoy eating local cuisine.
- Most enjoyable part of the cruise: Getting to know and clicking with the people seated at our dinner table on the ship. They became friends and made the trip even more fun.
- Favorite souvenir: a very large wooden birch bowl purchased in Estonia. Hubby and I have a tacit policy to buy the largest, heaviest thing we can find whenever we travel. I think we enjoy the challenge of packing to return home.
- Places I’d like to explore in more depth: Paris, France and England.
- Most unique city: Amsterdam, Holland in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is home to both the Anne Frank house AND a famous red light district in which the prostitutes preen in open windows to flash their wares. The city is divided by a multitude of canals, but the main mode of transportation is the bicycle. On foot, the people are very friendly, but they are maniacs on wheels. Pedestrians, beware!
- Most shocking to my American sensibilities: the wealth and ostentation of former/current European monarchies.
- What I like most about Europe overall: The architecture—The grace, the style and the age. The U.S. has little to compare to the buildings in Europe. I can’t imagine what Europeans think when they visit the US.
- Weight gained after a 28-day cruise: 3 pounds. Weight hubby gained: 0. Damn him.
- What I’ll remember overall: the people I met.
I do have some photos to post, but I need to cull through them, first. I took more than 700 photos; hubby took more than 1,200.
I had a great time, but great to be home!