So I alluded to this earlier in the week but today you’re getting ALL the gory details. This weekend, my family and I will be taking off for a once in a lifetime vacation through Northern Europe. Growing up, I was extremely blessed to have the chance to travel a lot with my family. We did two family trips to Europe (one to London / Paris, and another through Italy… our homeland!) and then I studied abroad in Ireland while I was in college. While studying abroad I grabbed my backpack and my roommate and traveled all over the place. Needless to say, I love Europe and feel extremely blessed to have had so many amazing travel opportunities.
Zimm Family vacation in Skagway, Alaska.
For how tight knit my immediate family is, we haven’t traveled much together in recent years. Last summer we FINALLY got out schedules to mesh for a cruise to Alaska from Vancouver (prior to this we realized that the last time we did a family vacation with all four of us was to Mexico on Christmas / New Years in 2003/2004!) We had so much fun on our cruise last summer, we were determined to do another family vacation this summer. I have long been floating the idea of a Mediterranean cruise because I really want to see the Greek Isles and Turkey, but after doing some extensive research (thank Mom… you rock!) we all went crazy over the idea of doing a Baltic Cruise. We’ve literally been planning this trip since January so I can’t believe that it’s actually ALMOST HERE!
The clan braving the “Cliff Walk” at Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada.
To start our trip we’re going to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark and spend about 2 days. I’ve been doing tons of research because sightseeing will be on our own for this time. I’m really excited to go to Tivoli Gardens, climb to the top of the Round Tower, and eat plenty of open faced sandwiches (Smørrebrød in Danish).
After spending two nights in Copenhagen, we will board the cruise ship and set sail! First stop will be Olso, Norway where I can’t wait to pose for a picture at the Holmenkollen (world famous ski jump!). Next we will circle back to Denmark, stopping in the city of Aarhus. Here we will have a chance to see the Tollund Man, the most well-preserved prehistoric body! My dad and I are super into science (My dad is a chemist) so we are super stoked for this. Finally, we will stop in Warnemunde, Germany which is a short train ride outside Berlin! I have actually been to Berlin before (I took an impromptu trip during final exams of my semester in Ireland… I got a round trip flight for 15 euro it felt wrong NOT to go!), but I went right before Christmas so I’m excited to see how different the city looks during the summer months. Since I have been before though, my family graciously accommodated my request to visit the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp before touring the city. I wouldn’t say I am “excited” to visit this place as it will undoubtedly be a very upsetting experience, but I think it will be a very emotional and unique experience. Sadly, most of world history isn’t “feel good” history, but I think it’s still important to educate myself.
We will get a rest day at sea as we head further east. Our next stop will be Talinn, Estonia. Here I am SUPER excited to go on a day trip to Rakvere and visit a castle built by Monks! After Talinn we arrive for two days / an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. I think this was probably THE selling point of this cruise for our whole family. With two days and an overnight we will really be able to see more of the city, but I am the most excited to see Peterhof Palace, which is sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Versailles”. I also plan to enjoy plenty of vodka, caviar, and Russian folk music! After leaving St. Petersburg we have two more port cities before returning to Copenhagen. First stop is Helsinki, Finland, where we will be heading into the country side to visit a traditional Finnish farm. I’m planning to roll up my sleeves and get dirty. Finally, we stop in Stockholm, Sweden for our final port. Here we are planning a canal cruise (was I the only one who didn’t know that Stockholm was actually a chain of small islands??) and exploring Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s “Old Town”).
Anyways… that’s my trip!! Like I said… this is once in a lifetime stuff right here and I can’t wait to simply savor every moment of it. As for the blog… fear not! I’ve been working ahead and there will be pre-scheduled new posts up every day for you to enjoy. I am HOPING that perhaps I might be able to sneak in a blog post here and there, but internet on cruise ships isn’t great and it can be expensive so no promises.
Now for the final feat before my trip… PACKING. I have 50 lbs of luggage for 14 days!!!! I am not known for packing light so this could be a real challenge. There is a laundromat facility on the ship, so I might need to do a load of workout clothes (workout clothes are the one thing I don’t re-wear… gross. You’ve seen how much I sweat!) so I can bring less with me.