I got on the plane feeling very alone and sad. I was calling friends until the very moment they shut the doors looking for a little support. I have been so fortunate to visit so many amazing places, yet more often than not seem to be seeing these magnificent place on my own. I used to prefer to travel alone, as I can be a bit selfish. I hate to be slowed down by someone else's interests. And slow walkers. When you travel on your own you and you alone are the boss and you get to do everything you want to do even if that means sitting in Piazza Navona eating ice-cream and people watching all day long. I kind of like that part of it. Except eating alone, I never did like that part, so when I travel by myself I often end up eating from street-vendors, local markets (picnic style) or furtively in my room. I think it's a good goal to make-- to feel comfortable in a restaurant on my own.
More and more I wish there was someone next to me I could nudge when I see something really spectacular like the G-string wearing roller-blader frequently seen zooming his way around Amsterdam with his ass cheeks exposed--even in the dead of winter. I knew this trip was going to be amazing, which it truly was, and I am sad that once again there won't be someone I can ring up in 10 years and say, "Hey, remember that time in St. Petersburg...". You know what I mean?
I arrived in London happy as a clam to be back in my favorite city. Our hotel was right next to the Tower Bridge, the one everyone thinks is London Bridge:
This was a great area to stay in, as the warf along the Thames has been recently rennovated and full of fun bars and restaurants. Time was short in London... just enough for me to get a UK SIM card for my cell phone, have dinner, and a good night sleep before heading with our group to meet the ship in Harwich the next morning.
Seeing the Jewel of the Seas for the first time takes your breath away-- it is so HUGE! Check in was quick and before I knew it I was checking out my little inside cabin on the 3rd deck. Just enough space for a double bed, small couch, a closet, mini-bar, desk/dresser, and private bathroom. I've mentioned before the proportions of the ship and some of the amenities. But knowing there is a miniature golf course on the ship and actually SEEING it are two totally different things.
Here is a shot of the big white behemouth parked in Tallinn:
I never thought I would like taking a cruise (after working on a small cruise ship for a year). But it really wasn't as tasteless and tacky as I thought it would be. Except for all the casio piano light jazz renditions of "The Greatest Love of All" and "My Endless Love". I could have done without that. I didn't go into any of the shows, and spent minimal amounts of time in the casino, so I guess my exposure to the truely tasteless was rather limited. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake.
Well, that's all for today. Tomorrow I will talk about the first port of call: OSLO!