We have discovered the secret to happy little travelers: take friends. We just returned from a seven day cruise with over half a dozen American families and I’ve got to say, boat food can do impressive things to a woman’s girth.
I have learned that I have very little interest in planning vacations. Good thing my husband is a planner by nature or we’d spend our time here in Europe picking strawberries in the backyard.
It was a fascinating week. We shipped out of northern Germany and made our first port stop in Copenhagen (I think that’s Denmark but borders get a little fuzzy for me after a week of open seas and virgin pinacoladas).
Packing might sound like the easy part of traveling but believe me, when you look out the port window prior to a day of sight seeing and watch the storm roll in, suddenly all those sun dresses and sandals don’t seem like such a brilliant move. The weather in the Baltics is maddening. The entire week was hodgepodge of blue skies and freezing rain–it couldn’t seem to decide from one ten minute increment to the next how it wanted to behave.
We took the local subway into the old town of Copenhagen to visit an absolutely beautiful church. Since it was Sunday morning the shops were closed and we were determined to keep the day as holy as possible. This was a shame because it meant I couldn’t try on these shoes.
Our first stop was a rather famous church, especially if you’re a Mormon. It’s the Church of Our Lady and contains the original sculpture of the Christus, found in many of our visitor’s centers. Our sweet little children sat on the steps and sang, “I Am a Child of God.” It was very cool.
This church was even more awesome because it had fantastic statues of the 12 apostles, each holding a different item to repressent some aspect of their life, death or ministry. Peter was holding the keys to the priesthood. President Spencer W. Kimball visited this very church during his lifetime and testified that the keys Peter held are the same keys our prophet holds today–the same priesthood Jason holds and that our boys will someday hold. It was powerful.
After the church we took a surprisingly cool castle tour (gotta love the nude murals on the bedroom ceilings) and made our way back out into the rain. The kids were cold, hungry and wet and my back was killing me. I decided to cut my losses, ditched Jason and Harry and took the babies back through the subway to the boat. I managed to avoid getting arrested by the Dutch police, but just barely. Unfortunately I also missed running across the Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot. You can see that it actually pays to travel in the rain, stupid me. Apparently Jason was having some serious ab envy. This is my girlfriend Rebecca who’s husband is, unfortunately TDY.
Our next stop was in Stockholm, Sweden. I had no idea this would be such a fantastic city with such fantastic cookies. We loved it, the weather was a bit kinder to us, and I can’t wait to go back. We watched the changing of the guard in the main square. They were accompanied by their Navy band and wow, was that a surprise. Thanks to our good friends we had prime standing positions when they launched into a brass version of, “All By Myself” followed by a fantastic “Love Boat” medley. I’m a sucker for bands in general, this absolutely made my day.
We used the Hop On, Hop Off bus during our Stockholm day which was a huge success. We took a boat across the water to a museum built around a resurrected 17th century war ship. It was the Titanic of it’s time. They spent an unreasonable amount of time and money decking this monstrous beauty out, hand carved detail painted to impressive perfection. After it’s big debut it floated out into the harbor and…sank.
In the 50′s they found it and managed to uproot it from 300 years of silt. The process took a few decades but it now sits in it’s own museum, amazingly preserved and absolutely fascinating. As you can see my kids were in top form by this point in the day (no really, take a moment). This was about as close as Rex would get to posing for a photo.
I’m officially exhausted from reliving this trip so I’ll have to hold the rest off until tomorrow. Next, Estonia and Russia.