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Mr. Booney and I had an awesome day in St. Petersburg. The weather was perfect - 72 degrees and sunny. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city with incredible architecture.

We started the day with a morning tour of the Hermitage Museum which has one of the most extensive collections of European art in the world. This huge museum is on the banks of the Neva River, and is spread out over five buildings. The most famous building is the Winter Palace.

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Three more buildings are connected - the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, and the New Hermitage (the 5th buiilding, the Hermitage Theater, is in a separate location).

035876CE-B499-40C6-A60E-8DBC1CF56983.thumb.jpeg.0697ed47231baa8f0a0774a9b7259b75.jpeg

The buildings themselves are works of art, especially the Winter Palace. The view from the grand staircase of the palace:

9F56BBE0-7014-476A-9AB4-A615791D7B4D.thumb.jpeg.c7ec335eb4751bb92a7fda623c32304c.jpeg

Peter the Great’s throne room:

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There was so much amazing art! I took too many photos to post, but here is a Leonardo Da Vinci:

FB44B05F-896C-4A6A-BBC1-38F83EB75112.jpeg.2feda9a7e29eb3e564f63d22d05420f0.jpeg

During our afternoon tour of the city, we stopped at the Church of our Saviour on Spilled Blood, a classic Russian onion-domed cathedral - so beautiful!

934549DE-FA4F-4CC6-ADAD-B501E5F7F659.jpeg.db55e97a4cb2d64feb9773b7eb05cc75.jpeg

Tomorrow morning we tour the Faberge Museum, and then do a canal cruise of the city. St. Petersburg is known as the “Venice of the North” because of all its canals. Really looking forward to another day in this stunning city!

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The mom of a local boy who has battled neuroblastoma for most of his young life put out a request for cars to line the route from his home to his school today for his 4th birthday, and people delivered, including people who drove hundreds of miles to be there.  Box trucks, pickup trucks, sports cars, tiny cars, and everything in between.

The catch:  Because of the boy's love for the Transformer that turns from a bumblebee into a car, they were all yellow.

Edit:  Someone even showed up with a yellow Maserati.

Edited by letusprocrastinate
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1 hour ago, Booney said:

Mr. Booney and I had an awesome day in St. Petersburg. The weather was perfect - 72 degrees and sunny. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city with incredible architecture.

We started the day with a morning tour of the Hermitage Museum which has one of the most extensive collections of European art in the world. This huge museum is on the banks of the Neva River, and is spread out over five buildings. The most famous building is the Winter Palace.

4BBD5F18-4A6C-4774-A73F-7FCDA758C835.thumb.jpeg.1fa53ec6ab645080b2840d9b846416ac.jpeg

Three more buildings are connected - the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, and the New Hermitage (the 5th buiilding, the Hermitage Theater, is in a separate location).

035876CE-B499-40C6-A60E-8DBC1CF56983.thumb.jpeg.0697ed47231baa8f0a0774a9b7259b75.jpeg

The buildings themselves are works of art, especially the Winter Palace. The view from the grand staircase of the palace:

9F56BBE0-7014-476A-9AB4-A615791D7B4D.thumb.jpeg.c7ec335eb4751bb92a7fda623c32304c.jpeg

Peter the Great’s throne room:

45C2C6EC-CF3F-49A4-9978-0A02E9669302.jpeg.5a536dcea186da3be5fa8bbdae7187bf.jpeg

There was so much amazing art! I took too many photos to post, but here is a Leonardo Da Vinci:

FB44B05F-896C-4A6A-BBC1-38F83EB75112.jpeg.2feda9a7e29eb3e564f63d22d05420f0.jpeg

During our afternoon tour of the city, we stopped at the Church of our Saviour on Spilled Blood, a classic Russian onion-domed cathedral - so beautiful!

934549DE-FA4F-4CC6-ADAD-B501E5F7F659.jpeg.db55e97a4cb2d64feb9773b7eb05cc75.jpeg

Tomorrow morning we tour the Faberge Museum, and then do a canal cruise of the city. St. Petersburg is known as the “Venice of the North” because of all its canals. Really looking forward to another day in this stunning city!

Oh.My.Gosh.  Thank you so much for these photos and description, Booney!  Just Wow.

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Happy Birthday, Alte Frau, Thumper, and TexasTiffany!  May you all enjoy good health and much happiness in the years to come.

Booney, your pictures are stunning!  Just beautiful!  Visiting the Faberge exhibit makes me sure you have more beauty in store.  Have a wonderful trip, and thanks so much for sharing!

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21 hours ago, Alte Frau said:

Today is my birthday I’m 89  💐💐

Wow!  I turned 70 in June and thought I was doing good. Happy Birthday Alte Frau.   I hope you had a lovely day and have many more birthdays to come. 🌷🌸💐🎂🍭

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6 minutes ago, AuntCarol said:

Wow!  I turned 70 in June and thought I was doing good. Happy Birthday Alte Frau.   I hope you had a lovely day and have many more birthdays to come. 🌷🌸💐🎂🍭

8 hours ago, lovemesomejoolery said:

Happy Birthday @TexasTiffany and @Thumper!!

birthday cat.gif

Happy Birthday to TexasTiffany and Thumper also. Hope you ladies had a great day. 

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Hi all! We had another wonderful day in St. Petersburg today! I took hundreds of photos over these two days, so I’ll share a few more here. I’ve got to do this over three posts because of the size limitations for any one post, so bear with me!

We started the day with a canal cruise and saw several churches. The churches were spectacular.

Estonian Orthodox church:

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St. Nicholas:

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We didn’t tour the inside of the above two. We did get a tour of St. Isaac’s, one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

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This is Russian Orthodox, and the inside is stunning. There are no pews because congregants stand during Russian Orthodox services.

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We also toured the inside of Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, the colorful onion-domed church that I posted an exterior pic of yesterday. Again, just incredible!

A9EE7C05-5701-40A3-940C-8FB9A723BEC8.jpeg.d48b2daefe83a0b03335fdb09191a761.jpeg

This church is known for its mosaics. Canvas does not do well in the cold, wet winters of St. Petersburg, so every picture or graphic you see in this church is a glass mosaic (example below). It’s just amazing!

F81CF3C4-85CF-4520-B0B8-2252CB3F3BCB.jpeg.e4c92d161b2dca08e8396cbe03be1b04.jpeg

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Our last tour was this afternoon - The Faberge Museum. The Museum has nine of the 50 Easter eggs that Faberge made for the royal family. They are so beautiful, and many of them have working parts (two are clocks, for example). Here are a few of the nine:

384B1B9B-12D0-4CF0-B53F-8E571C5E73DE.jpeg.e02ee29b163ca7e3ef9bb8f20639e6b3.jpeg

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In addition to the eggs, Faberge produced many other beautiful enamel pieces, such as these...

2AF0A046-0B50-4A3E-AF7E-EBDBCCB77DA4.thumb.jpeg.39ddb3d8e205058f4d757ec75c78011c.jpeg

...and Cloisonné pieces (which I’ve always loved), like this box:

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We loved our stay in St. Petersburg, and the ship is now on its way to our next port which is Tallin, Estonia. We’ll spend the day there tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll be taking lots of photos!

Edited by Booney
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8 minutes ago, Booney said:

Our last tour was this afternoon - The Faberge Museum. The Museum has nine of the 50 Easter eggs that Faberge made for the royal family. They are so beautiful, and many of them have working parts (two are clocks, for example). Here are a few of the nine:

384B1B9B-12D0-4CF0-B53F-8E571C5E73DE.jpeg.e02ee29b163ca7e3ef9bb8f20639e6b3.jpeg

DDA0146B-FAF8-4E29-AE19-DBD737C46731.jpeg.c055f5560df6dece2902568395f59cb4.jpeg

A129FED6-8888-4169-8BAE-F8D71DFE15AE.jpeg.6d4d4e953a308d79704c9c8c13481091.jpeg

B634F08C-BEBD-414B-9D75-0BACDF6DF3DD.jpeg.a3d5dafc470ec7c8350e49acaf8443d4.jpeg

C205DC90-036F-4518-8174-19E2B1C17B1B.jpeg.1c943d3dc7211d4445964471c2323de8.jpeg

In addition to the eggs, Faberge produced many other beautiful enamel pieces, such as these...

2AF0A046-0B50-4A3E-AF7E-EBDBCCB77DA4.thumb.jpeg.39ddb3d8e205058f4d757ec75c78011c.jpeg

...and Cloisonné pieces (which I’ve always loved), like this box:

523615E9-3AE5-43CC-9440-B1C00F1B9D30.thumb.jpeg.39b1462e5eb2613cdd26278994b267d7.jpeg

We loved our stay in St. Petersburg, and the ship is now on its way to our next port which is Tallin, Estonia. We’ll spend the day there tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll be taking lots of photos!

All the pictures are spectacular!  The churches, the views from the river...and the Faberge!   You attached pictures of my two favorite Imperial Eggs - Lily of the Valley and Bay Tree!  So, so lovely.

Enjoy your time in Estonia!

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Good evening from Tallin, capital of Estonia! Tallin ranks as one of Northern Europe’s finest medieval Old Towns, and is split into an upper and lower town. In this charming city of 400,000, you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time with its cobblestone streets, centuries old buildings, and vestiges of its medieval fortification wall.

We did a five hour tour which included the upper town, an overlook of the lower town, a ride to a Soviet museum (Estonia was a Soviet Socialist Republic until the USSR collapsed in 1991), and other highlights. This city is so picturesque!

The Russian Orthodox church in the upper town:

D3B4094A-AD54-4D2F-BD2D-988E72BC3759.jpeg.9a977179c93fc7bfde04c2f75cd7fd87.jpeg

The church is a backdrop for much of the vistas in the upper town:

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A glimpse down a narrow cobblestone street in upper town:

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An overlook provides a spectacular view of lower town:

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A part of the medieval fortification wall remains:

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We made a fascinating stop at the Maarjamae Palace and Sculpture Garden, which is a resting place for many Soviet-era statues of leaders like Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky. When Estonia gained its independence, many Estonians wanted to destroy all of these statues (understandably so!). However, the decision was made to preserve some of them and create this outdoor museum because this era is a part of Estonian’s history. Btw, our guide had lived through some of the Soviet era and her stories were fascinating! To say she detested the Soviets and was so proud of Estonia’s independence is an understatement!

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Tomorrow we are at sea all day as we make our way to Gdansk, Poland. Mr. Booney and I plan to attend some of the activities offered on the ship like a cooking demonstration, wine tasting, afternoon tea and a musical review at night. No travel pics tomorrow, but I’ll be back on Sunday with some highlights from Gdansk. Thanks for taking this photo journey with me!

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4 hours ago, TexasTiffany said:

@Booney All of your photos are just like postcards. So beautiful! They are so good that you could do your own online travelogue.

Thank you, TT! I find that taking photos helps me to discover details that I might otherwise miss, so I appreciate what I’m seeing even more.

Edited by Booney
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I'm one of those Americans who never got a passport but I finally decided to get my act together and do it.

The large post office near work even takes the picture so hopefully I can do it one stop.

Any advice or tips to make sure I do the process smoothly and correctly? Thanks.

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21 minutes ago, JohnnyStar5 said:

I'm one of those Americans who never got a passport but I finally decided to get my act together and do it.

The large post office near work even takes the picture so hopefully I can do it one stop.

Any advice or tips to make sure I do the process smoothly and correctly? Thanks.

print your form at home, fill out,

payment be sure you have correct for,  check or CC?  I can't remember. 

and be sure you have ALL documentation and more before you go

if you do it's easy,  I got my renewal pretty quickly, 

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I recently ordered a new Birth Certificate from NYS, one with the raised seal which I didn't have.

I also went to a big Social Security office in downtown Manhattan to get a replacement card.  I brought the new birth certificate with me and was disappointed when the clerk said she didn't need it, but added that I was more prepared than most customers she saw.

I was surprised how smooth and efficient that process was, although initially I went to the wrong location and was sent to another one.

(Of course, once I received the new SS card I found my original one I got as a teenager! )

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1 hour ago, JohnnyStar5 said:

I recently ordered a new Birth Certificate from NYS, one with the raised seal which I didn't have.

I also went to a big Social Security office in downtown Manhattan to get a replacement card.  I brought the new birth certificate with me and was disappointed when the clerk said she didn't need it, but added that I was more prepared than most customers she saw.

I was surprised how smooth and efficient that process was, although initially I went to the wrong location and was sent to another one.

(Of course, once I received the new SS card I found my original one I got as a teenager! )

i just got a new one too,

as the number typewritten was worn off,  

did you know there is a limited number of replacement cards you can get in your lifetime?  thought that was an interesting fact

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3 minutes ago, JohnnyStar5 said:

Yes! That was interesting to learn.

Only a certain number a year and a lifetime cap!

Interesting that they also say NOT to laminate it, which a lot of people do.

I made a copy of my medicare card and left the original attached to the paper

and laminated the copy  

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4 hours ago, JohnnyStar5 said:

I'm one of those Americans who never got a passport but I finally decided to get my act together and do it.

The large post office near work even takes the picture so hopefully I can do it one stop.

Any advice or tips to make sure I do the process smoothly and correctly? Thanks.

I just sent in to renew an expired passport and change my name on it at the same time. There are good checklist available on the state department website. When I first got my passport, went to a passport office. They requested that you don't seal your envelope so they can make sure you have all required documents. I'm sure they will help you at the post office. As a government employee, I was shocked when all my certified documents were actually returned to me.

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Just now, JohnnyStar5 said:

Will they take the actual birth certificate I show them and mail it back, or do they take the photocopy?  

They will take all your originals. You will get all your original documents (except the application and picture) mailed back to you along with your passport. I'd make a copy of everything first though. Just in case.

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Hello from Germany! We had a change in the cruise itinerary. Yesterday was an “at sea” day, as we made our way from Estonia to Gdansk, Poland. The sea was very rough yesterday morning however, and the ship was rockin’ and rollin’. The Captain made an announcement mid-morning that the sea was only going to get rougher on the route to Gdansk, and that he would have to decrease our speed which meant we would get into Gdansk too late. So he made the decision to bypass Gdansk and go straight to our port in Germany instead which meant a more leisurely speed because we had more time and, therefore, a more comfortable (meaning less rockin’ and rollin’) ride. We were disappointed at missing Gdansk, of course, but appreciated that the Captain and his crew put passenger safety and comfort first.

There were plenty of activities on board today to keep everyone busy. At about 7:00 tonight, we arrived at our destination, Warnemunde, Germany. Dusk was settling in and it was cloudy, so the couple of pics I snapped as we came into port aren’t great, but it looks like a charming, coastal town.

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A Greenpeace ship is moored in the port.

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Tomorrow morning, Viking has chartered a train to take passengers into Berlin. There are some local excursions as well, but Mr. Booney and I opted for one of the Berlin tours. It will be a long day - 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. but we’re looking forward to seeing Berlin! I should have lots of pics to post tomorrow night. It’s 9:30 p.m. here, so I’ll say “Gute Nacht.”

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On 9/11/2019 at 2:01 PM, letusprocrastinate said:

The mom of a local boy who has battled neuroblastoma for most of his young life put out a request for cars to line the route from his home to his school today for his 4th birthday, and people delivered, including people who drove hundreds of miles to be there.  Box trucks, pickup trucks, sports cars, tiny cars, and everything in between.

The catch:  Because of the boy's love for the Transformer that turns from a bumblebee into a car, they were all yellow.

Edit:  Someone even showed up with a yellow Maserati.

This was heartwarming.  Thanks for sharing this.  Really puts important things in perspective. 

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Some highlights from our day in Berlin. The city’s architecture was more modern than I expected. There were beautiful old buildings like this concert hall and cathedral:

3D697FCC-41E5-44DC-98E7-110DEB659375.thumb.jpeg.3a73a3985e96b217486f497cbaf9c7a1.jpeg

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But so much of the city - 75% - was destroyed by bombing in WWII, therefore the large number of newer buildings.

Our tour included several iconic landmarks. There is a short stretch of the Berlin Wall that remains as a landmark.

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It was eerie - in the background behind the piece of wall stands a building that houses a governmental department today, but was the headquarters of the Luftwaffe, the German air force under the Nazis, and directly across from the wall is a building that housed the SS and Gestapo. WWII history is all around in Berlin.

Also all around are other reminders of the cold war, like Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known crossing point in the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin.

CAAD5102-1951-4E02-BEAF-2EBFF95FDA74.jpeg.30a46bc0d7b2452bc9028ca7a61a0bea.jpeg

Our tour stopped at the Holocaust Memorial, which is made up of 2,711 concrete blocks of varying heights on on undulating base. The U.S. flag atop the American Embassy flies behind it. Across the street is parking lot atop what once was Hitler’s bunker where he committed suicide.

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The historic Reichstag Building is the seat of the Bundestag, the German Parliament.

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We visited another famous Berlin landmark, The Brandenburg Gate.

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Edited by Booney
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Near the Brandenburg Gate is the Adlon Hotel, and our guide informed us that this is the most famous hotel in Berlin. Why? Because it’s the hotel where Michael Jackson famously (infamously?) dangled his baby Blanket out of the window in 2002.

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Lastly, our tour included a 90 minute cruise down the Spree River which flows through the heart of Berlin. We dined on bratwurst and sauerkraut, meatballs, chicken and potatoes (and warm apple strudel for dessert), while sipping German wine and beer, watching the city float by. A lovely end to a lovely day!

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Tomorrow we are in Copenhagen, Denmark and we’re really looking forward to touring this beautiful city.

Edited by Booney
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@Booney, your photos do justice to those landmarks. It was hard for me to look at those places for what they were, rather haunting. It's very emotional. I did see something that took me out of my squicky feeling though. In the Checkpoint Charlie photo, there's a McDonald's sign to the right, lol.

Was it emotional for you to be there? 

Edited by TexasTiffany
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