Charles Engelke's Blog

July 25, 2007

More vacation photos

Filed under: Vacation 2007 — Charles Engelke @ 10:49 pm

I didn’t have time to post pictures during part of the trip, so here are a few more rounding out our trip.


After Tallinn and St. Petersburg, we went to Helsinki. I already posted a picture of Laurie at the Sibelius monument, but not one of the whole monument itself. Here it is:

SibeliusMonument.JPG

From Helsinki, it was a very rough day at sea (no pictures, not even of the piles of barf bags at each elevator), then on to Gdansk. It was a gray day in Gdansk, but you can still get an idea of how nice the old city looks:

Gdansk.JPG

We also visited the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp near Gdansk, but it’s not something you’d want pictures of. There’s not much to see, anyway, other than a few preserved buildings and a memorial. You’ve really got to be there to get a real sense of the place.

From there, we went to Copenhagen for day, but didn’t do a lot of new stuff. We’d spent several days there before the cruise, so we just walked the city, window shopped, and had ice cream cones by the water.

After Copenhagen it was south to Germany, specifically the port of Warnemünde, near Rostock. A lot of people went on outings down to Berlin, but three hours traveling each way in order to spend a few hours there didn’t appeal to us. We were going to catch a train to Rostock, but there was a strike that morning (literally, that morning; it was over before noon), so we just walked around the city. Laurie had been complaining about her hair getting in her eyes, so she got a haircut there:

Haircut.JPG

Guess how much it cost:

Alles10Euro.JPG

From Warnemünde we went west through the Kiel Canal, then to Amsterdam. The only interesting thing we did that day was visit the Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum), which was very, very well done. I recommend it highly to anyone visiting Amsterdam.

Our last day of the cruise was to Zeebrugge, near Bruges. The cruise line wanted about $70 per person to take us to Bruges and back, and taxis wanted about the same amount each way per carload. So we walked out of the port and caught the Kusttram to Blankenberg then a bus to Bruges, for two and half Euro apiece, each way. I got a real kick out of saving the money, but I also really liked the city when we got there. Again, we had a gray day, but you can get some sense of the old, well-preserved city:

Bruges.JPG

After the cruise we spent several days in Paris. I already posted a few photos from our hotel room, but here are some more from the trip. First, the Eiffel Tower again, but from its base…

EiffelFromBase.JPG

… and a view from the top:

ParisFromTower.JPG

We went to Versailles, southwest of the city. The inside is opulence topped by more opulence, but by this point, I’d already seen lots of amazing castles, and it took a lot to impress me further. This hall of glass managed it:

HallOfGlass.JPG

I liked the gardens and fountains more than the castle itself, even though the fountains weren’t running when we there:

VersaillesFountain.JPG

If you decide to go, be sure to get there early and buy your ticket ahead of time (or get a Museum Pass, like we did). We had to wait less than five minutes to get in, but by the time we left, there was quite a line:

VersaillesLine.JPG

We spent the afternoon at the Rodin museum, which had a really nice, relaxing sculpture garden, so long as you stayed away from the most famous piece:

Thinker.JPG

And, of course, we visited the Louvre. Like everyone else, we had to see the Mona Lisa first. The room was very well lit and not too crowded when we arrived:

MonaLaurie.JPG

But a couple of hours later, when we walked by, it was really a crush. Just like Versailles, if you’re going to see the Mona Lisa, get there early or else:

MonaCrowd.JPG

Most of the museum wasn’t too crowded at all. The worst crowds we saw, outside of the Mona Lisa room, weren’t too bad, and the museum itself was often as beautiful as the exhibits in it:

LouvreHall.JPG

By the way, everyone had a camera and was taking photos, even with flash (which I avoided), which surprised me. Most museums don’t allow that. Apparently, neither does the Louvre, though. Here’s the sign, which was tossed on the floor and ignored by visitors and guards alike:

LouvreSign.JPG

Even here, you can’t escape American franchises:

LouvreStarbucks.JPG

As we left the Louvre, we had a nice view of the small arch there:

LouvreArch.JPG

All in all, we had a great time on this trip.

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