Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sticky Boys Summer Holiday-Part 1

After spending most of the summer in the HOT Southern Italian sun, we decided it was time for holiday and headed north for an adventure of a lifetime, a Baltic Sea cruise.  From the moment we arrived at the airport in Bella Napoli it sure was an adventure!  As we checked in for our flight to Berlin, we found out that said flight was delayed and would have to wait in the airport with all the other Italians who were getting away for the Ferragosto holiday.  (This is the time of year where most Italians go on holiday, businesses close, things stop working, and pretty much the country comes to a halt.  This is not the time to lose your Internet connection as it would take 3 weeks for them to fix the problem.  Yes, this happened to us!)  As we were sitting waiting, I started going over the check list... Pillow-check, allergy meds-check, toys for kids-check, Sticky Boys- NOOOOOOO!!!!!  Quickly I had to make a decision, go ahead with the trip or run home.  After a moment, I decided to go get my traveling buddies.  So, I ran, yes ran in 90 degree weather to the car, drove like crazy on the Tang (really hope I don't get a ticket), got the boys and was back on the road doing the reverse.  As I ran up the stairs to meet the rest of the family, my lovely husband said, 'you didn't need to run, we have like 20 minutes'.  Sweat pouring down my everywhere, I grabbed the backpack, tucked the Sticky Boys away and walked calmly to the security check point.

A quick overnight in Berlin and we were on the train heading to the port city of Kiel, Germany.  One thing I sure do miss about living in Germany, everything seems so clean and runs smoothly.  The train was packed and we ended up sitting in an open area by several windows, so everyone had a view of the German countryside.  Once in Kiel, we walked down to the ship and started the check-in process.  Traveling with so many kids got us to the front of the line and on board in record time.  It was nice to be able to get settled check out our 'home' for the next 10 days and get to relax.  The first night, I realized that I don't like being on ships, it was going to be a LONG 10 days.
Our first full day was at sea, which saw us swimming, running around on a little track (30 times to make 3 miles), and the kids going to Squack (the Kids Club).  It was a nice day to just relax and enjoy the time on the ship.

The first stop on our cruise was Stockholm, Sweden.  Having been to this beautiful city before we were excited about visiting with an old friend than really checking out the sights.  Our first order of business was to hit H&M to buy cold weather gear.  Silly me didn't realize it was going to be so much cooler up north, so it was jeans and jackets for everyone.  Soon we were all set and ready to see parts of Stockholm that we didn't see the last time.  We spent the day at Skansen Museum and Zoo, where we saw different parts of Sweden from different time periods and some really cool animals.  The day went by too quickly and didn't get a chance to stop at the above picture of the ABBA Museum.  It would have been fun to see, guess another trip to Sweden will be added to the ever growing travel list.

The second port was Helsinki, Finland.  This city has always been interesting to me with it ties to both Europe and Russia.  We only had a half day here, so it was a hop-on/hop-off bus tour for us.  Along the way we learned about Finland's rich history the included being occupies by Sweden and then Russia.  Gaining independence in 1917 there was still turmoil for the Finns.  A bloody Civil War and the beginning of World War II and Russians invading took its tool.  After the war, Finland pursued a policy of neutrality, which was interesting to learn that both US and Russian spies were living in Finland during the Cold War.  We toured past where the 1952 Olympics were held and saw the statue of "The Flying Finn".  It was a great city to visit, wish we had longer.

More next week as we travel to several other cities on our Baltic Sea cruise... It's too much to take in at once.  :)