Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 5 - Fri., July 18

Began with the usual outstanding breakfast consisting primarily of smoked salmon. After that I decided to venture out onmy own to the Nordic museum.  This was quite an accomplihsment for me considering I didn't know how to speak or read Swedish and had to take a bus and the metro to get to the museum.  With the help of a few very kind Swedes I managed to get there just as they opened at a10:00 a.m.  It was very interesting.  I especially liked the table settings throughout the years showing the types of foods served at Swedish holidays and events.  From there I had to make my way back to the rest of the group which was meeting at a local restaurant for lunch. I was so pleased I managed to make it and on time too!  A bus took us from there to board the ship to begin the sea voyage part of our trip.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Catch Up Time - Days 3 and 4 (July 16 & 17)

I've been on the move every day and by the time I get back to the hotel I'm totally exhausted!  I've done more walking in the last three days than I've done in the past year and now I really know how out of shape I am.  I intend to continue walking when I get home.

Day 3 - Thurs. July 16 began with a marvelous buffet breakfast compliments of our hotel the Waterfront Radisson Blu.  Daniel, program Director for my group, took us on an appox. 25 min. walk to the Royal Palace in the center of the city's old town for a tour.  King XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia were not there.  They were at their summer residence.  The highlight was the changing of the guard ceremony with a military parade.  It was lovely and I took lots of pictures!  After that we were on our own for a while.  I walked into town and browsed through the shops.  I had a delightful lunch at an outdoor cafe and managed to get within block of my hotel before getting lost.  After asking directions a few times I finally found it. When I got to my room I discovered I had lost my jacket along with my name tag and museum pass.  It was upsetting since it was really the only neutral jacket I had with me.  I finally remembered I left it in the restaurant at lunch.  I called the desk to help me call to see if they had it and spoke to a lovely young man named Jesse (as he said, "spelled like Jesse James.").  I was so exhausted from all the walking I decided to stay in the hotel for dinner.  To my surprise, Jesse stopped me on my way to my room and said he had a surprise for me.  He handed me a bag with my jacket & all my items in tact!  He told me he bicycled over to get it. I  gave him a big hug and told him it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me!  It certainly was above and beyond the call of duty.  I love Stockholm and its people!!

Day 4  Fri., July 17We went to the Vasa museum, which is built around the 17th century Vasa warship that was retrieved after sinking in 1628 in the harbor on its maiden voyage over 300 years ago.  Amazingly, it is 98% original due to the preservation by the brackish water in the harbor.  It is the only one in the world and I am so grateful to have seen it.  From there we walked over to Skansen, which is an outdoor museum of Swedish history and architecture.  Here we had an authentic Swedish meal in a local restaurant.  Another full, but exhausting day!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 2 - Wed., July 15

Yea, I'm here!!! After some hectic experiences (but not too ruffled) I'm finally here in Stockholm!  It was a long seven hour flight from Phila. to London, but I had the nicest man from Albany as a seat mate who made the trip very pleasant.  I had about a two hour layover before my connecting flight left and I bearly made it!  Let me tell you this, London's airport security is much stricter than the US and very slow.  They selected my carryon to search and it seemed like every other person's also.  I watched them take every single thing out of each person's suitcase and wipe each item down with some sort of wand detector.  When it was my turn the did the same to mine!  The only thing that wasn't supposed to be in there was a couple of small tubes of toothpaste... who knew?  When I finally got to the plane it was all boarded and waiting for me!  That was embarrasing, but a couple of others showed up after me.  I suspect that's a daily occurence and they must be used to it by now.  Well, about two hours later I arrived in Sweden.  After retriving my luggage I was supposed to be met by someone from the cruise line... no one showed up!  Now what to do?  I did the only thing I could do, I took a taxi to the hotel where I finally met up with my travel guide.  As I said before, "all is well, that ends well."  After orientation we had a delicious dinner and all is right with the world again!  Soooo, finally let the fun begin!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 1 - Tues., July 14

Well, I'm sitting here in the airport since 2:00 p.m. waiting to board the plane after a very hectic start to my vacation.  I mainly booked the airport hotel last night for the parking, but also so I could ease into this vacation in a relaxed state.  It didn't work the way I planned at all!  As per my usual M.O., I arrived late because I had to finish packing and making sure my house was perfect before I left.  I asked for a late checkout because my flight wasn't supposed to leave until 10:00 p.m.  About noon I received a message saying my flight had been cancelled!  Yikes, I don't get easily rattled these days, but this threw me into a tailspin.  After two hours on the phone back and forth between US Air and British Air each saying it was the other's responsibility to rebook me, I still didn't have another flight.  I got ready as quickly as I could and took the next shuttle to the airport.  Fortunately, after a little confusion the agent knew how to fix it.  I am now scheduled for an earlier flight, which I prefer anyway.  It will give me more time in London at Heathrow airport to look around.  So, as the saying goes, "All is well that ends well." It just has to get better after this!  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Welcome to my blog...

Well, my friend Judy suggested I start a blog to document my trip!  So, here I go treading into unknown waters (in more than one way).  It may not get off the ground, but I'm going to give it a try... stay tuned!

My traveling dates are July 14 to Aug. 2.