Cruising in the Baltic

We have just been on an MSC cruise from Copenhagen in Denmark to St Petersburg in Russia and back again. 

The ship, Magnifica,was great. About 3000 passengers, and of a size that we could move around the ship without continually getting lost! Most floors went right through from one end of the ship to the other, always an advantage. On some ships as you are moving along a floor to get from one end to the other you suddenly come to an area you can’t move through and have to go up or down a floor, along a little way then down or up again to return to the floor you were on. Small things give pleasure!

Our cruise took us from Copenhagen to Warnemunde/Berlin in Germany where we enjoyed beautiful smoked salmon, with many smokehouses just down the street from where the ship docked. The fishing boats were right there unloading their catch for their own stalls where the fish were for sale still breathing in the bins. You can’t get fresher than that! One man bought his salmon roll, put it on the table beside us, took a couple of steps to get a beer and swoop, down came a very big seagull and his lunch was gone! Oops. Lesson learnt! Cheeky seagull knew the good stuff. Took the salmon and left the bread!

Next stop was Gdynia in Poland. We walked around this small town where the people were friendly and the local shop’s goods were well priced.

Each evening we left port travelling through the night to the next stop where we had the day to spend onshore before making sure we were back on board half an hour before sailing time. Note to self: don’t miss the ship! It could leave without you and it would be an expensive exercise getting yourself to the next port to get back on.

Next stop was Klaipeda in Lithuania. We did a tour to some sand dunes. The dunes had a wooden walkway for us to move along so it was easy walking. We then went to a local hotel where we were served deep fried bread cut like potato chips, cheese and beer. Very nice after our exercise. There was a market nearby. Their main item was amber. Jewellery, ornaments, all kinds of things made of amber, along with thick socks, hats etc. Amber is  fossilized pine tree resin, produced by trees which grew in Northern Europe 50  million years ago. It was washed out of the forest floor by large rivers and travelled south towards the sea. Over time it was transformed to amber due to oxidation. It is a loved natural product of Scandinavia, as greenstone is in New Zealand.

Next stop was Riga in Latvia. We booked a tour to the beach town of Jumala where we had an exhilarating walk along the beach. It was 7 degrees – not exactly beach weather! 

The daytime weather throughout this May trip has ranged from 7 in Latvia to 31 degrees in Amsterdam. Certainly a need for summer as well as winter clothing. One day in Copenhagen it was 30 then the next day when we had a canal boat trip planned, it was 9 degrees with wind chill! Brr. No coat that day but luckily a merino long top so we survived! 

We found a beaut bakery in Latvia where I enjoyed a slice of cake. It had a shortcrust base, then a deep layer of berries, then a topping of berry juice set through and above the berries. I used to make something similar years ago and must do it again when I get home. You add some gelatine to fruit juice, half set it, then pour it over your base of pastry and berries. Put it into the fridge to completely set. Delicious.

Back to the ship for another delicious dinner followed by a show – there was a different show each night – singing, dancing, acrobatics. A great variety of entertainment to fill in our evenings.  Bands played each night too and those who chose to danced while others watched the passing parade!

To be continued……


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