Sunday, November 7, 2010

Storybook Cottages of Carmel

So I got a magazine awhile back, the only time I had heard of the magazine. There was an articles of interest and I tore it out and threw away the magazine. I kind of forgot about it but remembered it in the back of my mind. Then I ran across it again and put it in a place I would remember. Marta wanted to go some place together before she started back teaching and I told her about these houses so we went to Carmel to check them out. I have the article and a map and we went to Carmel.The houses are quite unique. They were built by Hugh Comstock for his wife so she would have someplace for her dolls and are called storybook houses. He was not a builder but just used his imagination and figured it out. He built the Hansel cottage, the Gretel cottage. He built the homes between 1925 and 1930 and built 15 to 20 additional storybook cottages. They are scattered around town and a little east.
We walked to most of the ones on my map. My map only has seven. Some of them no longer remain.
This one is a tea house in downtown Carmel on Delores. You've probably all seen it but didn't know what it was. We had a great time. Wouldn't you love to come to and we could go to Carmel and see these delightful houses.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

well it's late coming but I decided it's either now or never so here goes the rest of our cruise.
Here we are in St. Petersburg. We began our tour sightseeing in the city and going on a subway tour. The subway was really beautiful. Then we took a hydrofoil to Peterhof. That is what this picture is. We are standing on a bridge waiting for the fountains to come on. You can see the big fountain in the back and the side fountains are coming on along with the ones at the sides of the river.
They have fountains all over the grounds and it is huge. This is a fountain that goes off when people step on it. People will try to get thru without turning the fountain on but all the time we watched no one could and they got wet.
Here are some off the fountains in front of the palace. This is the palace of Peter the Great.
On our city tour we went into St. Isaac's Cathedral. It was quite amazing. During the war Stalin covered all the walls of the churches and the people were not allowed to worship. They used the building for warehouses and other things. What a shame. The people have been oppressed for so long they still don't smile. They can worship now and they do. We saw many people coming into the churches to pray. Even our guide lit a candle and prayed at one of the churches we went into.
We went to a Folklore show the first night we were there. It was really great. We enjoyed so much hearing the music and watching them dance and sing. They wore very colorful costumes and did a wonderful job.
The next day we toured the Hermitage Museum. Steve you would have loved the art. The Hermitage was the former residence of the Russian monarchs. On display are many famous paintings and sculptures from your famous painters. People love to spend hours in there but it was very hot when we were there and we were glad to leave. The weather is not usually hot there but we managed to be there when it was terribly hot. We were on a private tour, just us and Julie and Terrell. Our guide were take us to the front of the lines so everywhere we went we were able to go pretty fast. We were to spend 3 hours at the Hermitage but spent about 2 1/2. It really was quite exciting to see. The picture above and the one below is the Church of
of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood. It was called such because that is where Nathaniel the Great was assassinated. They never worshiped in this Cathedral but it was a monument to him. The inside was incredible. They had huge mosaics con the walls depicting the life of Christ. They were so fine they looked like paintings. I didn't have as much time to shop as I would have liked in St. Petersburg. I was able to pick up a few things. So much to do. We did have a dinner there with typical Russian food. It was interesting and good. We also had lunch and that was very good. We spent two full days there. Our guide was great.
Tallin, Estonia - This was one of my favorite cities. It was hilly and quite quaint. We were on our own there and did a walking tour. Old Tallin (where we spent our time) is a walled city.
This is a view from on top of the wall. You can see the wall going around the city with the towers sticking up. The view was beautiful and looked out over the Baltic Sea.
A shopping area along the wall.
Our last stop was Amsterdam. The ship docked at Rotterdam and we took the train to Amsterdam a little over an hour. Amsterdam is a city of many canals, flowers and bicycles. We saw bicycles all over.
There were many houseboats of the canals. We did a guided walking tour which was fun because our guide told us all about the city and showed us places we never could have found. Like the flowers were thru and door, down a walkway and opened up to several apartments. After the walking tour we toured the Anne Frank House. It was quite sobering. I'm so glad they have maintained the house and made a museum to remember the Jews and those who helped them. Then we went on a boat on one of many of the canals.
When we got back to Rottenburg they told us they were mad at us for leaving and going to Amsterdam but they would forgive and give us a tour of their city as well. This was the bus driver and his helper. That was quite fun. She was delightful. These are some cray buildings built on a bridge over the road. She pointed out some crazy statues and said what she thought of them. Rottenburg was completely destroyed during the was so it is a very modern city. It has the largest sea port in Europe. Amsterdam was occupied but not destroyed.

All in all we had a marvelous trip. We weather might have been a little hot at the beginning but it was great. Our ship was great and very comfortable and we just had a great time.