Cruise 26 May Monday 3:50pm
About a year ago Tj and I started planning a Baltic cruise. I was over-the-moon excited! We planned to take the boys, and what an educational trip this would be! Showing them how people in other countries live, how to be a world-traveler, how to treat other people and seeing how other cultures treat other people…wonderful! I told my mom what we were planning, and almost right away she offered to keep the boys while we went on this trip ourselves. I didn’t hesitate a minute! As much as I want to take them around the world, who knows when we’ll have another opportunity like this!
I want to say our trip started out well, but it almost didn’t start out at all! A couple of months ago Tj got a letter saying he had jury duty the whole month of May. Our cruise was the last week of May/first week of June! He wrote them a letter stating that we’d booked/paid for a vacation, and told them the dates. They wrote back and said no problem, he only had jury duty the very last week before the vacation. Heh. We kept hoping that he’d call the day before the duty started and they’d tell him don’t bother, but no such luck. He was foreman for the jury which lasted till noonish the Thursday before the trip, and it wore him out!
Then 2 weeks before we go my dad had a ‘slight’ heart attack on Thursday night. Mom said he was going to have bypass surgery the next Monday. Apparently she was keeping Jo’s 2 boys for the weekend. They’d just picked up the boys from school, gone to McD’s for ice cream and gotten back to Jo’s house when Papa said he needed to be taken to the hospital, he thought he was having a heart attack. He felt some tightness in his throat that was relieved with belching, and a slight pain in his left arm. Mom looked up hospitals on her ipad, got the boys back in the car and off they went. When they pulled up she saw a ‘no ER’ sign. She asked someone coming out of the hospital where the nearest ER was and was given a 10-mile option and a 13-mile option. She opted for the latter because she knew how to get back to that road. (They signed the paperwork for this house at the end of Feb. so they were still pretty new to the area…and Jo’s house is 30-40 mins from Mom’s house.) She plugged the info into the GPS in their new car and drove on. When they pulled up to the ER entrance a hospital employee opened the front door where Russell was sitting, and he started to get out! Mom said ‘No, that’s not the patient’ and by this time Papa was getting out. So he went into the hospital alone while Mom waited in the parking lot with the boys. About 15 minutes later the hospital called Mom and said they were admitting him. Mom drove the boys back to their house and got them ready for bed. She called Jo but told her not to come home, she had it under control (such my mother). In the end he spent the nights alone at the hospital till a day or so after the surgery when the nurse didn’t give him his morphine during the night. Over the weekend they were saying it looked like he needed 3-4 bypasses; he ended up having 5!! They said he’d prob be in the ICU for 1 day and then out of the hospital by Friday. He ended up staying in ICU till Thursday, I think, cause they couldn’t get his blood pressure up! I was sure we were canceling our vacation. Then I talked to Mom. All along she’d been saying they were fine, Papa was recovering well, she thought she could handle it. Thursday (a week before I drove the boys to Atlanta) when I talked to her she sounded like her normal self, and for the first time I believed that we wouldn’t need to cancel. The plan all along was for Mom/Papa to come here to watch the boys. This way Jack would be in school every day except the day we flew home, and Max is pretty self-sufficient/independent; it seemed like the easiest thing. Then when Papa had his heart attack I called the school and talked to the principal. I didn’t mention the trip, just said that we were going to Atlanta because my dad had a heart-attack so I’d like to take Jack out of school for the final two weeks. She graciously agreed to forgive Jack missing those days. How kind!
Other than that Max sprained his ankle the Friday before I took them to Atlanta so we skipped the fishing derby so he could ice/rest it all day Saturday/Sunday, Jack almost broke his toe the Thursday morning we left, my haircut was canceled that morning due to her daughter having stomach flu throughout the previous night. Not to mention the week before the jury duty our preacher (whom we love) announced that he’d been called to another area of service, and our favorite Sunday School class was canceled. It’s been a rough month!
But….once we got through all that it was smooth sailing!
I drove to Atlanta Thursday with no mishaps, stayed there Friday and my sisters came into town to visit (the only dicey part there was out of the corner of my eye I saw Papa grab Jack’s hand and twist it under and back. Mom said that Papa and Jack had been lightly playing around, then Jack hit Papa’s chest and that was Papa’s instinct. I’m kinda torn; we didn’t talk to Jack about the heart attack, I didn’t think he would understand much, and I figured he wouldn’t be playing around with Papa anyway, but we emphasized to Max several times that Papa had just had surgery so no roughness/be super careful. But on the other hand I know how instincts drive you when you’re really hurt, and even Jack’s tap on Papa’s chest must’ve felt horrible!). I drove home Saturday, went to church Sunday and the Hoopers drove us to the airport about 6pm Sunday night to fly out.
There was a little bit of trouble with our passports, but then they straightened it out. We only had a few minutes wait and it was time to board. Tj found out that morning that we got business class! He’d signed us up for a waiting list so if they weren’t full in business class we could pay (but not full price) for an upgrade. I can’t believe how wonderful and big our seats were. We got hot towels before supper and breakfast. Supper started with a salad with edamame, a hot roll with butter, couscous salad with figs, and togarashi tuna. We both had the short ribs with lyonnaise potatoes, and garlic spinach with tomatoes. It didn’t taste like airplane food! Those were great short ribs. I had Ben and Jerry’s dark chocolate ice cream for dessert…it was a little too much for me (I prefer milk chocolate to dark) but I was not complaining! What treatment!
After our meal we laid our beds out and made use of the complimentary eye masks and ear plugs. I slept off and on most of the night, but Tj didn’t fare so well. Our little fabric bags they gave us also included lip balm, lotion and toothbrush/paste which we made sure to use the next morning. There was a little buffet of snacks and drinks which we didn’t use, I actually had too much food both at supper and breakfast on the plane.
We landed in Copenhagen around 1:20pm, got our bags and took the train to our AirBNB apartment arriving around 2:30. The owner’s boyfriend showed us around, told us to be sure to turn the drain on before we showered, and left about 5 minutes later. The apartment is very nice; this is the first time we’ve used AirBNB, but it probably won’t be the last. Tj had said before we left LR that we were going to hit the ground running so as to beat jet lag. I said that was a great plan, and I wasn’t planning on getting to the room and then sleeping the rest of the day, but I thought we should plan a cushion of about an hour in case we were wiped out. So he took a 45-min nap and I started this blog.
When he woke up we cleaned up a bit and then left for sightseeing. Our first stop was 2 geocaches Tj looked up before we left home. Sadly we couldn’t find either! We walked (maybe a couple of miles?) to the restaurant, stopping a few times along the way at various stores. I found the cutest mobiles (made mostly of paper, some of thin plastic); I really wanted one that was hot air balloons, but it was kinda steep. We’ll see. We saw some street performers, kinda like in NO, there was the person all in silver (though in NO they paint their hands and faces; this guy had a mask and gloves on: cheater!), a juggler, a table with three heads on it (obviously it had holes for their heads and their bodies were hidden under the tablecloth) that jumped as a woman walked by and scared the heck out of her, and a guy on a pathetic flute-thing with the weird winter hat on (a panda, maybe, with long strings hanging down each side. Fun for kids and girls, but strange on him)…he was pretty lame…he didn’t even play a tune, just some random notes!
We ate dinner at Caphorn where we sat across from a shy older couple (Gary and Trudy; he likes the original German cars, they visited the BMW place there before the cruise), they’re from CA and cut and mount their own jewels, and travel around to jewelry shows. He was drafted in 63 or so and didn’t seem happy about it. Kate was heading up the group. She showed up late (we ordered without her), and said it was Tj’s fault she wore that hot sweater on this hot day! But she hugged everyone and asked about my dad. Joe was the first to ask about Papa out of the blue. I like him, not just for that, it just seemed like we could get along well (if we had been seated closer). I had beef carpaccio for the first time. It was good! Tj had a regular-sized steak. Our meal total was $73! Guess we’re going all out on this trip!
Tuesday I woke up about 8am, Tj had been up since 6, so then he promptly fell asleep! Goober. I showered and got all ready to go then woke him up. We left around 9:30 and headed to a bank to change some money for breakfast. We didn’t find the bank nor the pastry shop Tj’d looked up, but we ran across another pastry shop that took credit cards, so there was breakfast! We bought a bread with chocolate chips, a cinnamon roll looking-thing that looked like it was chocolate (turns out it was tons of cinnamon), and a pop-tart thing that seemed like a raspberry-shortbread sandwich with icing and sprinkles on top. We also bought a Coke Zero to split. On the way to our next stop we checked out the geochaches again and missed both again.
Our first sight was the Vor Frelsers Kirke…which was beautiful! The church had a huge organ inside being ‘held up’ by elephants! There were elephants all over inside, including one hanging from the chandelier. The pews inside all had doors with locks on them. We spent a little while inside, and then walked around to climb the tower. I read there were something like 395 steps up, but I didn’t count…didn’t want to tire myself out more than I had to! After climbing a good ways inside past some bells (one of them at least as tall as Tj!) we got to the outside portion of the climb; this was a spiral staircase to the top of the tower. It was so cool to look out over the city and see all the rusty-brown tile roofs, and the green copper-patinad domes, and the (industrial) windmills out in the water. On our way out we tried to buy a t-shirt for Hooper but they didn’t have any in his size.
Our next stop was the Kastellet star fortress. This wasn’t super impressive, but then we didn’t go inside. We’d spent so much time at the church the day was passing us by. Nearby was the Little Mermaid statue; we took some selfies there. It was about 2pm by this time, and we were surprisingly not too hungry, but I didn’t think I could make it until supper. I really wanted something Denmark-y to eat, and had read open-faced sandwiches were the thing to get. Tj wanted a sausage which is also very local. We looked everywhere along our route but the carts were never to be found when we wanted one.
Next was the Amalianborg – four almost identical castles. We saw the flag flying so we think the royal family was in residence. We didn’t want to go inside any of them, which was probably a good thing that day. Right nearby was the marble church, Marmorkirken, very beautiful outside. Our guidebook (by Rick Steves) described it as Pantheon-esque. We stopped inside for a few minutes; it was very pretty and I got a few shots.
We kept looking for a sandwich or sausage cart on the way to Glyptotek, but never found one. The Glyptotek was a museum of statues. We got to see lots of Roman, Greek and Etruscan statues. We looked around for an hour or so, enjoying ourselves except for the times we were in the glass-roofed rooms where there was no a/c…and it was hot! I took a couple of pictures on my phone; I’d forgotten to take out the camera when we put Tj’s backpack in the locker. When we left the museum and went into the gift shop I remembered that I’d wanted to see the statue by Degas of the ballerina. Oh well. Tj said it was 4 and we should start heading to supper; we would stop on the way and get the balloon mobile and the mistletoe cut-out I wanted (there was one hanging in the appartment)…they were on the way to Tivoli gardens where the restaurant was. By the time we got to the restaurant we were 20 minutes late! I couldn’t believe it took so long!
I got a steak and fries and Tj got Winerschnitzel with horseradish and lemon on top. Both were great. We each got a bottle of water, probably about 16 oz: $7 each!!! Copenhagen is soooo expensive! After sitting and talking for a while with the cruise critic people again we headed out to walk around Tivoli and get ice cream. I’m open to trying pretty much anything food-wise, and always enjoy other cultures’ food. But I love American ice cream. In other countries I find the ice cream to be so bland/light-tasting. I wonder if it’s because I have such allergies? In any case I don’t often enjoy foreign ice cream, and tonight was no exception. After we had 2 ice cream cones and 1 chocolate-marshmallow confection we left Tivoli and headed home. We stopped at a 7-11 and Tj got a sausage with chili, and I got a Holly candybar. We stopped in at the grocery store near our room and Tj got some deodorant and razors, and we bought a couple of drinks for the morning. The prices there were much more reasonable than 7-11!
We got back to the room and Tj soon fell asleep. It’s 10:30 now and still light out…I’m not sure it ever goes completely dark this time of year here. I’ll probably read my phone for a bit and then hit the hay, too. Tj had 25,000 steps on his pedometer when we got in. His feet are sore, and my calves both front and back are from all those steps. Totally worth it!
Cruise Critic people
Rich and Ellen (nurse)
Sue and Jerry (ate w them in Germany)
Joe and Linda (we want to visit but never get to)
Maria and Bob (headed up Russia tour)
Russia: Jan and Bob (younger)
Lisa artist and Jay historian and Randy
Gary and Trudy sat across from them both first dinners (cars and makes jewelry)
Mike and Becky sat next to Tj first dinner