Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sunny Adventures In Stockholm

Happily, for our second day in Sweden, the last day of our trip, we had totally blue skies. In the morning we first visited the Town Hall, a wonderful building completed in 1929. It is most famous for hosting the presentation ceremony of the Nobel Prizes. When we finished that tour, we took a taxi to the nearby island of Lidingo in the archipelago to visit the beautiful "Milles Garden," house and sculpture gardens. Carl Milles made the playful angel statues that adorn Kelly Drive in Philadelphia. His house, studio and vast gardens include a great wealth of his works. His Swedish house was donated and opened to the public in the 1930s, when Milles and his wife Olga were living in the US. We also had lunch at this special museum. Then we took another taxi to the Ericsson Globe, to ascend the "Sky View" cable car that is installed on the outside of this unusual sports arena. At over 150 meters in height, views of the city and surroundings were spectacular on such a beautiful day. After we returned to our hotel, Dan walked over to visit the Royal Palace, including State Apartments, the foundations of the 13th century castle (predecessor of today's palace,) and the Royal Treasury. - Dan

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Stockholm Blue And Gray

We left the ship Sunday morning, and took a taxi into Stockholm, where we are staying at the very modern-style Sheraton Hotel. Since it was too early to check in, we stored our bags and took a tour bus around town, seeing some beautiful sights, such as the Royal Palace, opera house, and Town Hall. Sometimes the sky looked bright blue and at other moments grey clouds appeared. Since we had never before visited it, we toured the modern art museum. Artists with fine works there included Matisse, Dali, Miro, Munch, and others. After the museum we enjoyed a lavish lunch at the Grand Hotel. It features a marvelous smorgasbord. It brought back fond memories of staying there with my father, back inthe 1980s, on our first trip to Scandinavia. After a rest at the hotel, we visited the amazing "Vasa," a ship sunk in 1628 and only recovered in 1961. Then we toured more of Stockholm by bus before dinner and returning to our hotel. - Dan

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Cruise Finale: A Visit To Tallinn

Estonia, the smallest of the three Baltic states, has a unique and beautiful capital: Tallinn. This city has one of the best-preserved medieval old town sections, with a large number of 13th and 14th century Gothic houses, guildhalls and churches. Four members of our party walked the cobblestones of the old town visiting popular sites including the Lutheran cathedral, the town square, the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky cathedral and the Old Town Hall, the last-surviving building of its kind in Northern Europe. After a mostly-vegan, leisurely lunch (suggested by Jim, of course,) we returned to the ship. Now it's time to repack our luggage since we will disembark the ship Sunday morning in Stockholm. - Dan

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Personal Favorite: The Malachite Room At The Hermitage (Winter Palace)

On our final day in St. Petersburg, Dan and I returned to the Hermitage in the hope of seeing art and decorative attractions that are usually not shown to tourists taking the standard quickie tour. This is easier said than done since being a tour participant is the only way to get into the museum if you have not gone through the difficult and expensive process of obtaining a Russian visa. The problem is that tour participants are discouraged from touring the museum on their own and they are required to remain with their groups some of the time. However, we were able to split free of our group for at least a short time, long enough to enjoy seeing artworks we would not have seen otherwise. We also got to visit my favorite museum room of all: the spectacular Malachite Room. here is the description of the room from Wikipedia:
The Malachite Room of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, was designed in the late 1830s by the architect Alexander Briullov for use a formal reception room for the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, wife of Nicholas I. It replaced the Jasper Room, which was destroyed in the fire of 1837.[1] The room obtains its name from the use of malachite for its columns and fireplace. This large salon contains a large malachite urn as well as furniture from the workshops of Peter Gambs (1802-1871), son of the famous furniture maker Heinrich Gambs, which were rescued from the 1837 fire. During the Tsarist era, the Malachite Room, which links the state rooms to the private rooms, served as not only a state drawing room of the Tsaritsa, but also as a gathering place for the Imperial family before and during official functions.[2] It was here that Romanov brides were traditionally dressed by the Tsarina before proceeding from the adjoining Arabian Hall to their weddings in the Grand Church.[3] From June to October 1917 this room was the seat of the Russian Provisional Government. When the palace was stormed during the night of 7 November 1917, the members of the Government were arrested in the adjoining private dining room.[4] Today, as part of the State Hermitage Museum, this room retains its original decoration.