The next week on Serenade visiting four cities ……

Over the next six days we spent two days at sea and four in ports, arriving reasonably early, leaving early evening.  Our days were full on, either on our own exploring or as in St. Petersburg ( Russia ) where you go through strict border control and cannot enter unless you have a Russian Visa which you get included in your excursion fee ….. We had a private tour / excursion in St Petersburg which went from 8:00am top 6:30pm, not stopping, walking, listening, riding Russia’s subway system, in a small tour bus getting in as much as possible in this city as will probably be a one only visit …….

   After Stockholm we were in Tallin ( Estonia ) a really beautiful Eastern European city, once again though under much re-construction and continual fixing old structures to keep them looking good for their major business, tourism …..

 So this is a little of what we saw in Tallin, Estonia >>>>>>>>>>……….

Buildings & flowers …..
Old buildings galore ….
The roses were absolute perfection !! and cheap as well …..
We crawled up an extremely narrow steep stone stairs for a coffee ….
Old buildings & churches ……
We went in a secured helium balloon up and over Tallin harbour …..
Great view from up here …..

Next day was St Petersburg, Russia ….. Far to many photos taken , here are a few >>>>>>>>>>

We had a private tour booked in St. Petersburg with a tour company called simply SPB tours…. It was a full day from 8:00am to 6:30pm …… Unfortunately the city is busy with traffic and in the afternoon we arrived to late to see inside of one of the prime attractions in St Petersburg,  which is the Church of the Spilt Blood…… We stopped outside for 15 minutes to take photos but missed going inside …. That’s travelling, you cannot see everything.

Of all the opulence we have seen in Europe this year and last year, in palaces, churches and major historic buildings, we have not seen anything as grandiose as  the main palace and the Hermitage museum here in St Petersburg, the royalty here in the 17th century certainly knew how to make themselves a lifestyle that has to be seen to be believed, gold, gold, gold everywhere.   They were definitely the billionaires of their time not caring anything of the life of the rest of their population.   Even now, Russia could sell just one original Rembrandt and feed their poor people for a long time.  The art works you may as well say are priceless …….. Some examples in photos below >>>>>>>>>>

Rhere are dozens of walls such as this in the Hermitage Museum and the Royal Palace …
Timber inlay work embedded with gold , just amazing detail ….
Katherine the Great ……..she really knew how to spend untold amounts of money …. for herself ….
Nicholas the second …
Gardens ouside the Great Palace ….
They have their own small church !!! ….
Most of the floors were knocked up by the local carpenter …. like this one here !!! …
Typical large room …….. in the Palace …

Next stop was Helsinki, Finland …… We only had a few hours here, had to catch a bus into the city, we basically walked around for 4 hours covering as much territory as possible, not as old as Tallin, nor as grandiose as St. Petersburg but a beautiful city to explore…… Some photos of Helsinki are here. >>>>>>>>>>>>>

And finally as we leave each port of call these seagulls gather near the back of the ship catching the wind ……….

We have hundreds more photos of these cities, far to many to show on the blog …………. Now to sail back to Copenhagen and onto the train to Hamburg …….. NEXT PAGE ………

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