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Thread: Baltic Cruise

  1. Top | #11
    Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    I went with an Australian tour group, SunDowners, which I highly recommend. They do the cross-continental train tours, like from Vladivastok to St. Petes.
    That's the group we went with across Russia by rail. I second your recommendation. The group we went with comprised just six total, plus guide. Excellent trip, although I have some complaints about two of our fellow tourists. Is there such a thing as the "ugly Australian," to correspond to the stereotypical "Ugly American"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    ...(Do you have problems remembering to call it 'St. Petersburg'? I still tend to prefer 'Leningrad'.)
    Well, "Leningrad" was the name I knew it by when I first visited in 1965. However, I have read that the residents have always tended to refer to it as "Piter", even after the name was changed by the Soviets.

    When we were in Moscow in 1997, they had just erected a monstrous statue of Peter the Great on the Moscow River. (See https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11568878). Muscovites hated it, because they resented Peter for moving the capital from their city to his new capital in the north. Why put up a statue of him in Moscow?

    I would love to take the trans-siberian railroad trip, but it becomes less feasible as we get older. But we are still tossing the idea around. Cruises are much easier to handle, since you don't have to struggle with luggage. You take your hotel room, fancy meals, and entertainment with you.
    Oh, I quite agree. Having done the cruises, I figured out the whole 'floating motel' concept the first cruise. It's one of the reasons we booked two more subsequent voyages and are considering more. This last time, we got a bit more emboldened and stayed on in Budapest for two weeks on our own. It was a success. I even squeezed in an overland foray to Krakow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    I went with an Australian tour group, SunDowners, which I highly recommend. They do the cross-continental train tours, like from Vladivastok to St. Petes.
    That's the group we went with across Russia by rail. I second your recommendation. The group we went with comprised just six total, plus guide. Excellent trip, although I have some complaints about two of our fellow tourists. Is there such a thing as the "ugly Australian," to correspond to the stereotypical "Ugly American"?
    LOL....Yes, yes there are.

    When you mentioned the Trans-Siberian line, I thought you might have done it with them. When I did the Silk Road trip, I was the only USer on the trip. Of the twenty on the trip, there was one Canuck, and everybody else was Aussie (well, including two Hobartians holding UK passports), so I took a raft of crap most of the trip, being the only Septic. The guys loved teaching the natives quick, useful English phrases, like, "Free cold beer."

    In Europe, I understand that Australians have garnered themselves a special place at a LOT of the German and Czech beer halls....thanks to being obnoxious drunks.

  4. Top | #14
    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by whollygoats View Post
    I went with an Australian tour group, SunDowners, which I highly recommend. They do the cross-continental train tours, like from Vladivastok to St. Petes.
    That's the group we went with across Russia by rail. I second your recommendation. The group we went with comprised just six total, plus guide. Excellent trip, although I have some complaints about two of our fellow tourists. Is there such a thing as the "ugly Australian," to correspond to the stereotypical "Ugly American"?
    LOL....Yes, yes there are.

    When you mentioned the Trans-Siberian line, I thought you might have done it with them. When I did the Silk Road trip, I was the only USer on the trip. Of the twenty on the trip, there was one Canuck, and everybody else was Aussie (well, including two Hobartians holding UK passports), so I took a raft of crap most of the trip, being the only Septic. The guys loved teaching the natives quick, useful English phrases, like, "Free cold beer."

    In Europe, I understand that Australians have garnered themselves a special place at a LOT of the German and Czech beer halls....thanks to being obnoxious drunks.
    Hmmm. On our last cruise, it was a Kiwi who started bellowing and guffawing along with his whole table. He was in his cups but good. Aussies in the room were shocked. The wait staff didn't know what to do, since the whole thing took place at dinner in the main dining room. Not a beer hall. So maybe he was being a bit more restrained than he would have been in a beer hall.

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    Quaint. From what I've seen, most in Europe don't distinguish Kiwi from Aussie.

    And, share time with an Aussie and a Kiwi on the same trip....talk about bicker.

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    We found a relatively cheap way to get back to Seattle in business class ($700 each), but the flight leaves from Dublin. So we decided to spend three days there after we get off the ship in Southampton.

    Any suggestions for things to see in Dublin? We've never been there before, so this will be our fist chance to visit.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    We found a relatively cheap way to get back to Seattle in business class ($700 each), but the flight leaves from Dublin. So we decided to spend three days there after we get off the ship in Southampton.

    Any suggestions for things to see in Dublin? We've never been there before, so this will be our fist chance to visit.
    It's been a lifetime....Phoenix Park and the Guinness brewery?

    Trinity College and the Book of Kells? A Jonny Smith retrospective?

    I had to pay my respects at the General Post Office and Kilmainham Gaol.

  8. Top | #18
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    We found a relatively cheap way to get back to Seattle in business class ($700 each), but the flight leaves from Dublin. So we decided to spend three days there after we get off the ship in Southampton.

    Any suggestions for things to see in Dublin? We've never been there before, so this will be our fist chance to visit.
    The Book of Kells is worth seeing, imo, not least because it's located in the very attractive Old Library in the very attractive Trinity College, at/near the bottom of Grafton Street (city centre, not far from the south side of the River Liffey, opposite O'Connell Street Bridge)

    https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/

    Guinness Brewery is probably good, if you like Guinness, though I've never done the tour myself.

    Consider also Kilmainham Gaol.

    When I go to Dublin (it's about 2 hours drive away) and if it's not work-related, I do try to go to a good restaurant and then try to find a pub with some live music. I'm not even much of a fan of traditional Irish music (or Guinness), but very often one can't help but get caught up in the atmosphere.

    Best place for a wander/restaurant/pub thing is the Temple Bar quarter, although it's slightly more seedy now than it used to be. But still recommended.

    A walkabout including Trinity College/Book of Kells, then up Grafton Street (shopping street), St Stephen's Green (at top of Grafton Street) and then down through The Temple Bar area to the River Liffey is all very compact and Central and doable in one modest outing.

    You have to book tickets (online) in advance for The Book of Kells, and probably the Guinness Brewery and Kilmainham Gaol.

    Best of luck with the weather. When is your stopover?

    What hotel have you booked?

  9. Top | #19
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Fancy this?

    Dublin Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl
    https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attrac...ty_Dublin.html

    It might at least take the random guesswork out of finding both a pub with some trad music and a seat in such a pub or pubs. And you don't HAVE to get drunk, necessarily. Just be aware that nearly everybody else probably will. Lol.

    It's Temple Bar-based too.

    I can't vouch for Flanagan's as a restaurant venue because I haven't been to it. I can suggest restaurants that I have been to, if you like.

    "Meet your guides, two local musicians, in Temple Bar before your tour. If you’ve chosen to upgrade to include dinner at Flanagan’s, walk over to O’Connell Street with your guides to enjoy your fixed 3-course meal.

    Either way, the true night starts around 7:30pm—after the upgraders finish their dinner. Head out to one of Dublin’s most popular nightlife areas, Temple Bar, and pop into pubs to taste local drinks and learn about music in Irish culture.

    Get special seating at all venues you stop at, and even listen to artists from the Dublin area perform live. You buy your own drinks during this tour (own expense), but you can ask your guides, or the bartenders, for traditional Irish recommendations.

    This tour takes you to pubs within walking distance of one another, but your guides know their way, so you never have to worry about getting lost or having to ask for directions.

    Your tour ends in Temple Bar."

  10. Top | #20
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Another option is to see a play in one of the many central theatres.

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