Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Kiel, Germany; A Perfect Day!

Unfortunately, because the weather in Stockholm, Sweden was tumultuous, the ship was unable to dock at the port, which meant we had an extra sea day. It actually came at a good time though, as I was pretty pooped!

We spent our days playing cards, reading books, dancing in the lobby and the Red Frog Lounge, and eating; we had sushi and then we hit tea time! We went to a show and did a few laps around the ship, and otherwise, we just relaxed.
This morning we arrived in Kiel, Germany with zero plans. Upon leaving the ship, at about noon, we noticed a blue line along the sidewalk and across the street, a couple sitting on a bench told us that the blue line led through the city and that they had just done a walking tour.

So, we decided to follow the blue line, to see where it would take us. It was a lovely walk into the heart of Kiel, a short distance from the boat. There were the typical bronze statues placed here and there, and many old buildings, and lanterns.  Are you surprised? lol

Just walking down the cobbled streets brings me joy, and I love seeing the shops, the windows, the doors, the flowers, and the signs. Remember the song, "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?", well, there was a little doggie, right in the window display of a shop; there was even a stuffed dog, that looked just like the real one. He was ever so cute!

As we continued along the blue line, I found a cart full of goodies, that I could not pass up, and bought some treats for our cabin steward, our waiter, and us! Hopefully, they are good! Down the road, off of the blue line, we saw a tower, so off the beaten path, we went, in search of the tower.

We eventually found it, and went inside; there were more sculptures, some artwork, and a lot of people in line to go to a window, my best guess being city hall and maybe paying tickets of some sort. Once back on the ship, I was able to confirm that it was indeed Landeshauptstadt Kiel; Rathus, aka City Hall.

The Kiel City Hall officially opened in 1911 and is of neoclassical style. It has shaped the city's image for more than 100 years and houses some unique paintings and sculptures.

After leaving the City Hall, we wandered the streets and over the top of the buildings I saw a large, copper spire, and since I heard church bells, I knew that it must be a church. Finding a church would just make this great day perfect, so we headed that way.

It wasn't long before we found Nikolaikirche, the city's main church on Alter Markt since the 13th century. It is a Protestant Parrish, and the oldest building in Kiel. It was updated in the 1870s in a Gothic Revival style. Much of the church's art was safeguarded from the war. There is a highly ornate wing altar that was carved in 146, a triumphal cross from 1490, and the oldest of all is the Hanseatic bronze baptismal font that was cast in 1344; it is considered one of the best medieval bronzes in northern Germany.

I absolutely loved the stained glass windows in this church. I think it was their simplicity of them that really suited my fancy. They were simple, yet beautiful. Stunning!

The bronze outside is of an angel with a sword who appears to dominate a wolf-like creature symbolizing the superiority of spirit and its victory over evil.

After wandering around the church for a while, we stepped back outside and continued exploring. We once again found the blue line and started to follow it knowing it would eventually lead us back to the ship. We found a woodworking art studio and some other pretty cool street art. We even found a Woolworth!  Do you remember Woolworth?

Along the way, we stopped for some German beer, (I had a chai tea) and a bratwurst plate. All was delish! There was a man playing a wooden flute, and flowers everywhere you looked.

It was a perfect day, that will end with a perfect evening as the singer Kate Lindman will be back onboard to entertain us tonight.

Tomorrow we will be in Gothenburg, Sweden; God willing.

Night, y'all!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Saturday, August 27, 2022

Helsinki, Finland

Last night Joe surprised me with dinner in the "fancy" restaurant on the ship. Other than being so much food, it was delicious. I had the lobster tails as the main course and thoroughly managed to stuff myself. It was nice being in a quiet dining room with extremely attentive staff.

Thanks, Joe!

This morning we woke up in Helsinki. Helsinki is Finland's largest city and was founded in the Middle Ages to be a Swedish rival to other ports on the Gulf of Finland, but remained a small fishing village for over two centuries.

We did find a taxi right as we got off of the ship, which was a good thing, because the four of us all said, "If there are no taxis, we are getting back on the ship!" That would be how tired we all are!
Anyway, the driver started out at 160 euros for two hours, and we were like...."ahhh, no, too much," he quickly asked what we would pay and we said 100 euros for two hours. He agreed and we hopped in.
Our first stop was the Helsinki Cathedral which is the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran cathedral located in the center of Helsinki at Senate Square. It was built in 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.
With its domes, it reminds me of the Taj Mahal and is built in the neoclassical style, and is quite plain on the inside. There was a fabulous view from the top of the 46 stairs, yes, I counted them, and we enjoyed seeing Senate Square from above.

Senate Square and its surroundings make up the oldest part of central Helsinki, The Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki, and the Sederholm House, the oldest building in Helsinki dating from 1757.

Alexander II is a monumental statue located at the bottom of the stairs of the cathedral. The main figure depicts the Grand Duke of Finland giving a speech at the 1863 Diet of Finland that he had assembled.

The next stop on our tour was going to be the Rock Church, a church built directly into solid rock and it was a highlight on the Carnival tours, so we thought maybe we would check it out. We drove to the entrance and there were throngs of people, which was no huge surprise; hard pass! We told him to just keep right on driving.

He drove us over to the local library, which was modern in style. The design was won in a contest of 544 competitors. It was kind of cool to go inside and see children and adults playing chess, 3D printers printing off someone's designs, a table full of state of the art sewing machines of all kinds, printing machines for large prints, and computers for use, too. There were reading rooms and meeting areas. It was a very unique library, with much to offer.

In front of the library is a really strange, unattractive to me sculpture; just thought I would share!

Outside there was a flash mob just beginning. They had a large group of people that they were handing out colored paper to, in order to create a Ukrainian flag. There were drones in the sky to capture the flag, to let the people of Ukraine know that Finland supports them, and are thinking of them. If we had had more time, we would certainly have joined in.

After leaving the library, we went to the Uspenski Cathedral, where, of course, there was a wedding, just getting ready to begin! The church was built in 1862-1868 from 700,000 bricks brought over in barges from the Bomarsund Fortress that had been demolished in the Crimean War. I loved the red brick, and I found the outside of the cathedral much more fascinating than the inside.

The inside of the cathedral was full of glitz, glam, gold, and marble everywhere. I did enjoy the blue ceiling in the dome area, and the paintings on the arches and pillars of the church. It felt like there was a whole lot happening in a small space!
I didn't take many photos, because just as I was about to take another few, Joe said, "No pictures allowed." I just hate how he always manages to see those signs that I try really hard NOT to see!
By then our two hours were up, and we said, "James, to the ship, please!"
Along our drive back "home", we saw the train station, which was rather cool, with weird statues holding some sort of globes in their hands, a cool old building that we think was some sort of government building, a moose, and some sort of recycling place (?). We arrived back in plenty of time to relax on the boat, play a game of Hand and Foot and relax before dinner.

Tomorrow we will be in Sweden.

Night, y'all!

FaceBook: CML: A Place for Hope and Humor



Bricks for the Brave!!