Seriously. I'm at a loss for words. I have no idea how to begin to describe this little jaunt that we've recently returned from.
Before we headed out for the long haul, we jumped out to Chicago the weekend of the 4th of July for Baby Frankie's baptism. He's a sweet little boy and mom and dad seem to be doing pretty well. We also saw some friends whose babies were just born in the past few weeks. So, welcome to the world Ethan and Ian, and, congratulations to the proud parents! It was a nice visit and we look forward to seeing them all again soon. I've got some nice pictures of that weekend, too. I'll post those soon.
The root of all of this cruise stuff is that my folks decided a couple of years ago, or maybe last year, that they wanted to take us all on a cruise. 'Us all' consisted of Matt, Joseph, me, Max, and Jackie. And them too, of course. This summer was chosen because it seemed to fit pretty well with other timing and plans. They let us choose between this European cruise or an Alaskan cruise. We chose the European tour because the Alaskan cruise included a week of hotel-hopping as we delved deeper into Alaska, whereas the European tour allowed us to stay on the boat every night. Given that Joseph (at 2 1/2) was coming too, we decided that the same room and bed every night would be more relaxing for all of us. Decision made. Trip booked. Tickets purchased. Spending money saved.
So, we flew to Amsterdam (via Reykjavik, Iceland) on July 12 with Max and Jackie. My folks headed out there the day before. We bounced around Amsterdam for a couple of days and then boarded our ship (Celebrity's Constellation) on the 15th. After a day at sea, we docked at Warnemunde, Germany. We took a train to Rostock, Germany and had a lovely (although hot) day there. Then another day at sea, and a day in Stockholm, Sweden. Holy expensive. We decided that was what 'Stockholm syndrome' really meant. Then Helsinki, Finland. Iiro, our tour guide in Helsinki and Porvoo, was cool and taught us all about Finland. Then two days in St. Petersburg, Russia. Wow. Olga and Irina, our tour guides, helped us experience Russia. Then Tallinn, Estonia. Max wasn't going to get off of the boat in Estonia because we'd been running like crazy people for a while. But, the medieval town center was well worth it. Then another day at sea, then a day in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lisse, our tour guide, was too cool, and Copenhagen was pretty neat, too. Then a day at sea, then back in Amsterdam. We flew back to Boston on the 27th, and Matt was back to work on the 28th.
We ate a lot of wonderful food. We drank a lot of beer...a LOT of beer, and wine, and a little Russian vodka. We took about 1300 pictures (between myself, Jackie, and my mom). And, we had an incredible time. It's so hard to choose which pictures to post, so I'm still not posting any. I'll probably inject a few from each destination once I get myself together, but I'm still kind of overwhelmed with the quantity of images. So stay tuned.