Sunday, June 26, 2011

Today I added a post about the events of this week, so be sure to look at the post which follows this one. Since I have a bit of time today, I am going to post the rest of the pictures from our May cruise. The last 2 ports were Tallinn, Estonia, and Gothenburg, Sweden. These pictures are from those 2 places:
View of old part of Tallinn from the ship:

Gate in the old city wall:

Restored houses from medieval times:

Some fancy carvings over a doorway:

Mary & Elaine in the main square with the town cathedral behind us:

Main church in upper town, called Toompea:

Tom, Toby & Elaine in doorway of inner wall:

View of old Tallinn from overlook:

Street in the old town:

Different gate in old city walls:

In Gothenburg, we were met by some friends from a different cruise who showed us all around, plus we had a great reunion with them. Their names are Myra & Louie:

They met us at the train station, which is a wonderful old granite building:

Here are the four of us near a sculpture outside the fish market:

This is the main Lutheran cathedral in Gothenburg:

And here is the organ, inside:

Then we walked through a large botanical garden:

There were unusual flowers in a solarium there:

Sweden has many wonderful glass factories, where products such as these are made:

In Helsinki and also Russia, there were lots of chances to buy things made with fur:

And, of course, in Russia, Faberge eggs of every size, color, and description:

Everything was very expensive, so we restrained ourselves from purchasing anything.

After the cruise, we stayed with Darran & Marielle, and for his birthday, we had cheese fondue:

And on our way home, we stopped in the LA area to see our old friend, Anja, and her 2 year old son, Kip. Ole, the husband and father was away on a filming project.
This has been my recovery week, since I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand on Monday. The hardest part was that I didn't even get hauled off to the surgery room until 2PM, and I was thirsty and starving because I wasn't allowed to have anything by mouth after midnight. I had very little pain the next few days and not much swelling, so I have been fine. Of course, I have stitches and big bandages which won't be removed until Thursday, so my movements have been hampered by that. Thursday, Elaine will drive us to Kaiser in Fresno, and while she is being prepped for surgery, I am having my stitches out. Then I will be able to drive us home after her surgery. Hers is much more involved than mine and will take longer, and she will be in more pain. She has been an excellent caregiver during my recovery because she knows I will be taking care of her starting Thursday, and it will be PAYBACK time! We are hoping that she will get her stitches out and we can get back on the road in our RV sometime about July 15.
Bill and Priscilla Scott, Boomer friends, came to stay at Park Sierra and when they haven't been exploring Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, or Nelder Grove, they have been walking with us mornings and evenings, and socializing with us at park events. Friday, my daughter Laura, and her new partner, Dennis, arrived from Reno for a weekend visit. This was their first visit and we enjoyed having them very much. Our generous neighbor, Jeanne, is on a cruise and offered the use of her RV home next door for this visit. It was convenient to have them so close. Friday evening they were here for the weekly social at the clubhouse, as were Bill & Priscilla. Saturday we 6 went wine tasting on the Madera Wine Trail. Of course, we went to Birdstone, our favorite. Here is a picture of us in the Birdstone tasting room:

Then we went to a Madera winery named Cru. They also have a very nice tasting room, and we enjoyed their wines. There was also a nut tasting place next door, specializing in pistacios. By then we had certainly had enough wine, and a few snacks were in order, and very enjoyable. When we got back to Park Sierra, our neighbors Mary & Rich Baumann and Carol & Alan Rodely joined us for Happy Hour on our shady patio.
When it was cooler, in the early evening, we went for a walk around the park. This is the season when we have lots of quail running around, especially little ones. Later we had a delicious spaghetti dinner because Laura brought the homemade sauce. Dennis made mojitos for us to try, and we had another enjoyable evening chatting with them.
Today we took Bill & Priscilla, Dennis & Laura over to Chukchansi Casino for the champagne brunch buffet. It was a nice chance to visit, and have lots of food choices too. Here we are in front of the casino fountain:
Then Laura & Dennis left to head back to Reno through Yosemite and over Tioga Pass. It is absolutely beautiful at this time of year. I was very grateful for the time I had this weekend to spend with Laura, and also to get to know Dennis a lot better. They seem very happy in their relationship, and I hope this continues. Here is a picture of the happy couple:

Bill & Priscilla will be leaving tomorrow and heading for Napa. Our social times with them have been wonderful and we will miss them. Now the daily routine goes on at Park Sierra until Thursday, when it takes another twist.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

When I was posting my new entry today,(see below), I realized that this connection was finally fast enough to post a few of the pictures I promised you from our recent trip to Scandinavia, St. Petersburg, and Tallinn. If you want the narrative for these, please see my previous post earlier in June.
Copenhagen - first port on the second cruise. Has many fine old buildings, such as this cathedral:

At the scenic inner harbor area called Nyhavn we took a canal boat tour:

As usual, there were lots of big statues and buildings in the city center:

And on the stock exchange building, a very twisty spire:

Stockholm- There is a 24,000 island archipeligo which we went through to get to Stockholm, and again when leaving. Many of the islands have summer homes on them:

We took the Hop On-Hop Off boat to get around because the main part of Stockholm is on 14 big islands. Here are a few buildings as seen from the water:

We attended the changing of the guard ceremony at the palace:

Rosenborg Palace has a nice park which we walked through on our way back to the ship. Here is the front of the palace:

St. Petersburg - the Winter Palace is now called The Hermitage and is a world class art gallery. Here is a shot taken across the river:

And here is a closeup of the front:

The inside architecture is fabulous:

This is one of the ceilings:

The throne room:

One of the reception halls:

A domed ceiling:

One of the display rooms:

Art gallery:

The church of the Spilled Blood had the most spectacular facade and onion domes:

St. Isaics Cathedral has the 3rd largest dome in Europe:

Amber is one of the biggest selling items, apparently, since it is sold everywhere, but quite expensive:

Here we all are in front of a statue of Peter the Great - Carol, Rick, Denice, Elaine and Mary. Thanks Byron for taking this picture:

Smolensky Cathedral was quite beautiful, both inside and out:

Beautiful flowers were planted all over the city:

The Kazan Cathedral was designed to resemble St. Peters in Rome:

Our guide took us to a local indoor market:

They were selling caviar at the market:

Peterhof was about a 30 minute hydrofoil ride outside of the city, and spectacular:

There were lots of fountains on the extensive grounds. This was one of them:

Flowers and fountains:

One of the buildings for ladies in waiting:

The Grand Staircase Fountains:

People in period costume on the grounds:

Grand Staircase Fountain and view towards Gulf of Finland:

No pictures were allowed inside Peterhof, but at Catherine's Palace we took pictures both inside and out:

The most famous room in this palace is the Amber Room, because it is made entirely out of small pieces of amber:

After our tour we went to a typical Russian restaurant for lunch. Here are some shots of the interior:

We ate in a curtained off area in the middle:

I am out of time now, so next time I will post some pictures of Tallinn and Gothenburg.