Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #7: Klaipėda, Lithuania

This day of our cruise was spent in a place that at first didn’t seem to have much to offer, but we were pleasantly surprised in how much we liked visiting it: Klaipėda, Lithuania. It is the third largest city in Lithuania.

Saturday, 19 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 2:30pm (Clearance at 3:00pm)
  • Departure: 9:30pm (All Aboard at 9:00pm)
  • Port: Pillies str. 4, Klaipėda

What was interesting about this trip was that instead of arriving in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, making this day a bit of a later night.

*Fun Fact*

Weather vanes are very popular in Lithuania and can be seen on the Lithuanian coast.  They have been used on fishing boats in order to correct their path.

img_3867-x2 Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #7: Klaipėda, Lithuania”

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Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #6: Stockholm, Sweden

Our next fun-filled day on the Baltic Sea Cruise was spent in Stockholm, Sweden! Though it was a bit rainy at times, it was such a lovely and quaint city that the rain didn’t matter.

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Friday, 18 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 8:00am (Clearance at 8:30am)
  • Departure: 6:00pm (All Aboard at 5:30pm)
  • Port: Frihamnen 634

The first place we visited was the Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum), which is one of Sweden’s most attractive museums. It gives a unique history of one particular ships that sunk in the seventeenth century.

These are the types of museums that we end up loving and remembering the most. It is one of those museums that focuses on one piece of history rather than a whole slew of history.

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The Vasa Ship

This ship had sailed out on 10 August 1628 and it was meant to be one of the most impressive warships of the Swedish Navy. Unfortunately, it sank in the Stockholm harbor on her first voyage. The design of the ship wasn’t stable enough from side to side, allowing a wind gust to push it over, which eventually led to water flooding the ship. It took a few centuries for the ship to be salvaged in 1961. The Vasa was then reconstructed and now is being held in this museum.

This multi-level museum has different views of the ship; detailed information of the voyage, the sinkage, and the salvaging; artifacts found on the ship, and a film about the ship.

Due to it being under water for so long, the ship needs constant care in preserving its structure. We actually saw a couple of people working on the ship while we were there.

Here is a picture of what the colors on some of the outer decorations would have looked like when it first sailed out. Can you imagine how much time and effort it took in just designing and creating this ship in the seventeenth century?

img_1674-lQuickly, the Vasa Museum became a favorite museum of ours. It was one of those times when you try to picture how would it have been like to be either be on that ship or the family/friends left behind. Such a scary experience.

Walking through a model of what the inside of the ship looked like made me appreciate high ceilings!img_1687-l

It was such a cool museum and highly recommended if you ever go to Stockholm.

We then take a little stroll in a nearby park area called Kungliga Djurgarden. Entering this park, you go through this bright blue gate and just enjoy a nice walk. One of the things we’ve learned makes us enjoy a city more than others is the inclusion of green space: grassy areas, like parks. This one definitely added to our appreciation for Stockholm.

One of the other aspects that we loved was the fact that Stockholm is surrounded by so much water; in fact, Stockholm is actually made of fourteen different islands in the Baltic Sea archipelago.

*Fun Fact*
Sweden has about 24,000 islands! Holy cow!

Here we are!

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We passed by Stockholm City Hall/Stadshuset next. It is on the Kungsholmen island in Central Stockholm. We didn’t actually go inside since it’s not readily open to the public. I believe you need to set up a tour in order to enter, but in any case, what’s cool about this building is that it is where the Nobel Prize banquet is held.

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City Hall

We were able to see some of The Royal Guards Ceremony at the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace) next. It started around 12:15pm on the outer courtyard, and though we weren’t able to get close to the changing of the guards, it was still cool to see the military marching band and parade.

*Fun Fact*

Since 1523, guards from the Swedish Armed forces have stood guard at the royal palace. At one point, there were 100-200 guards protecting the palace and city, but now there are only about 50-60 armed guards.

I think the guard above might have been posing for us? I can’t imagine he would stand like that all day, lol.

At this point on our lovely trip to Stockholm, we were ready for a nice warm lunch. Den Gyldene Freden (The Golden Peace) restaurant was so cozy and homey, and the woman who served our food was so sweet.

Here is the food that we ate:

Our lunch included typical potatoes and Swedish meatballs! However, if you know me, my sweet tooth was craving something a bit more, lol. Nick and I stopped by a local cafe in Old Town square and grabbed a couple of yummy treats. Look at that giant cinnamon roll!

Down below is the picture of medieval Old Town Square, which is also named Gamla Stan. We were able to sit down for a bit and relax our legs/feet. After so many days of running around, I could definitely feel the aftermath as soon as we sat!

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As we walked around, we decided to go up to the Skinnarviksberget. This is a hilltop with scenic panoramic views of the city and a nice stopping point.

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Once we were done we made our way back to the ship. On the way out, it was so cool to see the enormous cruise ship maneuvering through all the little islands. What a beautiful send off from a beautiful city!

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When we got back to our room, we found this little guy waiting for us. 🙂

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Afterwards, we saw the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers (they were okay), had dinner, and prepared for our next adventure!

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Click here for more pictures of Stockholm, Sweden!

Look out for our next post where we visit Klaipėda, Lithuania – a city we were surprised how much we enjoyed!

Thank you for reading! Until next time!

Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #5: Helsinki, Finland

We are so sorry how long it’s taken us to post this one. Hopefully, we can finish up the cruise this month in order to share our other experiences. Thank you for your patience 🙂


The next day after Russia, we stopped at Helsinki, Finland. We ended up purchasing the Helsinki Card, where you pay a fixed price and admission to several museums, churches, certain tours, public transportation, and the Hop On Hop Off bus tickets are included on the card. It was a little drizzly and cold but manageable.

Thursday, 17 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 7:00am (Clearance at 7:30am)
  • Departure: 4:00pm (All Aboard at 3:30pm)
  • Port: Helsinki West Harbour, Munkkisaari Quay LHB

The Hop On Hop Off brought us to Senate Square and we first saw the Helsinki Cathedral, which was originally built in the 19th century. It was attributed to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. In fact, it was previously called St Nicholas’ Church before the country’s independence.  Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #5: Helsinki, Finland”

Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #4: St. Petersburg, Russia

Our next stop on our awesome cruise was St. Petersburg, Russia! This was a two-day adventure and both will be included in this post.

With this particular country, as I’m sure you can guess, we couldn’t just show up like the other countries. There are a few ways we would be allowed into the country.

  1. Get a visa on your own
  2. Set up a tour with your cruise line – they’ll take care of your entrance in
  3. Find an approved off-cruise touring company – they’ll take care of your entrance in

We decided to go with option #3. The first one would probably take too long. The second option was pricier and with a larger group. Choosing the third option (we used a company called SPB Tours) was such a great decision. There were about twelve of us with a wonderful tour guide and an awesome driver!  Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #4: St. Petersburg, Russia”

Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #3: Tallinn, Estonia

Our second stop on our awesome cruise was Tallinn, Estonia!

Monday, 14 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 12:00pm (Clearance at 12:30pm)
  • Departure: 7:00pm (All Aboard at 6:30pm)
  • Port: Old City Harbour, pier # 25

Arriving in Tallinn, we first saw what is called Fat Margaret. Built in the 16th century, this stout tower was once used as part of the town’s defense. It was used to defend the harbor; but then became a place to store gunpowder and weapons; and finally, a prison. Currently, it houses something a bit more peaceful – the Estonian Maritime Museum.  Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #3: Tallinn, Estonia”

Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #2: Riga, Latvia

Sorry it took a little while between these posts – we’ll try to get them up sooner!

Saturday, 12 August 2017:

Our Day #1 on the Royal Caribbean Cruise was a cruising day. We just relaxed by the pool/hot tub and explored the ship. This was our first formal night, where we got a bit dressy and simply enjoyed our night.

Sunday, 13 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 11:00am (Clearance at 11:30am)
  • Departure: 6:00pm (All Aboard at 5:30pm)
  • Port: Zila Street 22/24, Riga

The first stop in our Baltic Cruise was Riga, Latvia. Riga contains one-third of Latvia’s population and its one tenth of the Baltic states’ population! Old Town Riga (Vecrīga) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was founded in 1201.

We first stopped by the Doma laukums (Cathedral Square). Doma laukums is the largest square in Riga and has several architectural monuments dating from the 19th century to early 20th century. The cathedral for which the square is named after was closed when we arrived, so we decided to return back to it later.

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Cathedral Square

Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #2: Riga, Latvia”

Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #1: Copenhagen, Denmark

We recently had the opportunity to take our first cruise via Royal Caribbean. What was cool about this trip was the ability to visit eight countries in eleven days! It was simply amazing!

We visited:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Riga, Latvia
  3. Tallinn, Estonia
  4. Saint Petersburg, Russia
  5. Helsinki, Finland
  6. Stockholm, Sweden
  7. Klaipėda, Lithuania
  8. Gdansk (Gdynia), Poland

Since we learned and experienced quite a bit in each country, we decided to split this trip into several blog posts, focusing on one city per post. This one will be specifically focusing on Copenhagen, Denmark. This beautiful city is where our cruise began and where it ended.  Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #1: Copenhagen, Denmark”

Eurotrip 2017 Part 2 – Turin, Italy

After our Paris trip, we headed for Turin, Italy for the next six days. We took the train and the neat thing about about the ride over was how comfortable and quiet it was. Even though the ride itself was about six hours, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Napping was easy and it was pretty spacious.

Just like the last post focused on Paris, this one will focus on Italy. Same as the last post, the pictures below are a compilation of pictures that everyone took during our awesome trip.  Continue reading “Eurotrip 2017 Part 2 – Turin, Italy”

Eurotrip 2017 Part 1 – Paris, France

We recently had an amazing vacation with our awesome friends from the U.S. Three couples and a 3.5 month-old baby came over across the pond for nearly two weeks. Each and every day was so much fun! We were so so happy to have them over here 🙂

The focus of the trip was Paris, France and Turin, Italy. This particular post will focus on the Paris portion only.  We were there for about 3 days. The post will be a keepsake to remember the fun we had and won’t necessarily have too many facts like the other blog posts do. If you do want to know more about some of the places we’ve visited in Paris, please visit our first trip to Paris, France, which was last December. One other note: the pictures here in this post are a compilation of ones that everyone took – thanks to everyone for letting me use them, especially the ones with crazy copyrights on them! :-p  Continue reading “Eurotrip 2017 Part 1 – Paris, France”

Orta San Guilio – Lago d’Orta

This post has been in the queue for a bit – our friends were visiting (YAY!), so we haven’t the chance to finish it.

Friday, 2 June 2017:

One of our “recent” day trips consisted of going to a nearby lake named Lago d’Orta (Lake Orta). This lake is northeast of where we live, and is a fairly quick ride over.

It was previously named Lago di San Giulio after the 4th century patron saint of the region, Saint Julius, up until the 16th century.  Continue reading “Orta San Guilio – Lago d’Orta”