June 27, 2011: a few hours out of the 'dam
We've just come back from an exclusive area of the ship's spa -- for a price, of course; highlights included form-fitted, heated stone benches and a Turkish bath with cold water taps (so you don't overheat). So relaxed right now. And, look! It's time for supper! What's on the menu tonight?
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|In port, looking off the back deck|
Supper was strange. Our waiter was too chatty after delivering the food, and there were a number of presentation and spicing problems. Celebrity may be aiming to treat us as such -- at one point, Tea, reading through the events calendar, asked, "Celebrity Wine Tasting... Who's the celebrity?" Nancy's "Us!" was priceless -- but that dining room has nothing on Royal Caribbean.
June 28, 2011: sailing
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O.K., all's right in the world after a half hour in the Turkish bath, followed by a swim. Now, lunch time!
We had an excellent supper in the specialty Italian restaurant. Many amusing moments: Stephen's 'cheesecake', which the waiter personally retrieved from the downstairs dining room, and, oddly, had all the attributes of what one would call a cheese plate. [Our waiter was a great sport about it, and each of our many trips back to that restaurant featured many a joke about accents.] And then there was the moment when Tea discovered her dessert garnish was Pop Rocks. Holy snap, crackle, pop, Batman!
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June 30, 2011: Warnemünde
Invariably it's these small ports that really speak to me. Despite my family's not having made a living from the sea in a generation, those sounds and smells -- the water lapping, the fresh catches -- take me back to St. John's harbour, and my youth. Warnemünde was closer to the South Shore of Nova Scotia or Howth, Ireland, with many fishing vessels, yes, but also many pleasure craft, as they geared up for their big regatta the following week.
A three hour train journey from Warnemünde, we quickly discard Berlin as a potential destination for the day. Instead, we set out for the nearby town of Rostock, first by train, then by tram. The Old Town was lovely, with an open air market surrounded by Dutch-gabled buildings (much like we'd seen in Zaanse Schans a few months ago).
|Rostock -- across from city hall|
We passed the large tower that features on the label of their brewery's beer [which I believe was the Western Gate Tower, and part of the old city wall, marking the original limits], circled by birds of all sorts, including swifts, I'm convinced, thanks to my studies on Lake Como. Bird watching has really captured my imagination as a pursuit, although I'm convinced I lack patience for it.
|M'm... goulash and pils|
From there, we took the train back to Warnemünde. We sat in a large car lined with folded seats -- for bicycles, mostly, we soon found out, as new arrivals pulled out hidden belts to hold their many cycles securely, while they folded down a seat beside them. (Oh, if only they'd had a car like that on the train from Schipol to Amsterdam; that train was convenient for backpackers, not cruisers.)
Aside: both in an elaborate fountain in Rostock, and on the beach in Warnemünde, there were children playing, naked as the day they were born; their screeches and giggles were pure joy. It can't help but warm your heart, something so simple and natural, in a world that can seem anything but for long stretches.
Up next: Stockholm, Sweden
There are more pictures of our first days on the cruise in our on ship album, and in our Germany one.