JUN’S DIARY For the month of August, Betty and I had the opportunity to join the Holland America Cruise on the Baltic Sea stopping and learning and enjoying the culture and sights of the ports of call – Kiel, Germany, Tallinn, Estonia, Saint Petersburg, Russia, Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, Berlin, Germany and Copenhagen, Denmark. Tallinn, Estonia Lubeck’s Old Town is one of the most impressive examples of medieval Gothic architecture. Its patrician houses and red brick churches are a UNESCO World Heritage site. St Petersburg, Russia Betty and I spent 2 days at St Petersburg – a day each at Church of the Spilled Blood and the Hermitage Museum /Catherine Palace. The Church of the Spilled Blood can be considered as the highlight of the tour – church of the spilled blood so called because this was the same spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The interior is completely covered by mosaics showing scenes from the bible. If you have the opportunity to visit 2 places in the world – this is it and the Vatican City / Rome. Hermitage (Catherine’s Palace ) was the winter residence of the Russian emperors from 1763 to 1917 and now houses the vast collection of artworks from Michealangelo, Leonadro da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrant and others. Most of these priceless artworks have protective glass covers so photos without glare are quite difficult. Helsinki, Finland Visited the Rock Church which is curved out of a single rock. It is still being used as a church and also as for concerts. Sibellius Monument is also one of the tourist attraction which we visited. Stockholm, Sweden On 10th Dec (death anniversary of Alfred Noble) of every year, awarding of the Nobel Prize for outstanding contribution in literature, medicine, chemistry, physics and physiology is done in the City Hall. The Nobel Prize for Peace is being awarded in Oslo, Norway. Stockholm is the city where you can find a whole warship (which sank in 1628 and recovered in 1961) with its large hull still intact. The name of the museum is the Vasa Museum. Berlin, Germany The shop docked at Warnemunde, Germany and took 3 hour train drive to Berlin. Visited the Berlin Wall which fell in 1989 – signifying the end of the Cold War. We also went tothe Reichstag Parliament. Copenhagen, Denmark The royal family of Denmark is the longest reigning monarch in world. Visited the Royal Palace. Copenhagen is also for its Little Mermaid Statute. I saw too many bicycle riders in Copenhagen, making it the bicycle capital of the world. Where Armsterdam cyclists own 2 bikes, their Copenhagen counterparts own three each. Betty and I had a wonderful and enjoyable 12 Day Baltic Adventure.