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Around Scandinavia, Russia in 10 days

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Posted: Friday, November 20, 2009 12:00 am

Who went: Lap and Yee Wong, of Lodi.

The trip: Sailing 10 days with Emeral Princess, roundtrip from Copenhagen to Scandinavia and Russia.

Highlights: Take a dive into Stockholm at the Royal Armory, a record of Swedish royal history from suits of armors, weapons, weddings, coronation robes and gilded carriages from the 16th century. The Historiscka Musset covered some archeological finds from as far back into prehistory, through the domain of Vikings to the middle ages (2,000 B.C.-1,400 A.D). Now, the Stadshuset is the home of the annual Nobel Prize.

Visit Finnish Metropolis of Helsinki, Senate Square and the 1969 Temppeliankio Rock Church capped with a high copper cupola-and-skylight dome spanning a space carved into bredrocks. To capture the spirit, just ignore the crowds, sit in the middle, gape upward, listen to the music, ponder God and be thankful for the peace.

Perched on the banks of Neva, the rich architecture of St. Petersburg features a mix of styles, from ornate Russian Baroque churches to neoclassical palaces. The 1723 Peter the Great's Palace is the main building. The white marble entrance hall is made masterly with carved wood balusters. The main staircase and upper landing are embellished with gilt sculptures and cayatids. The wide coves of the "mirror" ceiling are painted with cupids. The grand cascade boasts three waterfalls, 64 fountains and 37 stauettes. Today, the lure of Peter I's palace, cascade and garden touches almost every corner of visitors.

Strolling through 1764 State Hermitage Museum is probably the greatest pleasure: from the historical stateroom to the masterpieces of Ancient sculpture to Danish painting and gallery portraits. Millions of visitors each year also cherish the extravagent ceilings, decorative mouldings, dazzling chandeliers and patterned wooden parquet flooring. Such a stroll, from hall-to-hall exhibition, is always full of wonders. The museum is so high, and the impression it generates is so varied that it needs another visit.

The 1733 Cathedral of St. Peter and Pail Fortress is the burial place for the Imperial family.

The 1830 Yusupov Palace was the epoch of the Russian Empire style with all splendid magnificence: especially the theater's auditorium and balcony.

The 1859 St. Isaac's Cathedral, which took 40 years to build, remains the fourth massive golden domed cathedral for its type in the world, after St. Peter's in Rome, St. Paul's in London and Santa Maria dei Fiori in Florence. Both inside and out, the building is adorned with sculptures of 19th century icons.

Inside the 1907 Cathedral of Christ's Resurrection, there is not a single painting: the walls are almost entirely covered with mosaics of which are a true artistic treasure to behold.

Board on the open-air launch for a one-hour cruise, take in some of the buildings, palaces, churches and museums along River Neva.

Tallinn is the political, commercial and cultural center of Estonia. Marvel at the 12th century Pikke Hermann Tower, as well as the Kadriog Park, Peter's Cottage and Palace Square.

A glimpse of medieval structures through Main Tower of the Golansk's swamp past — Green Gate (1868), Polish royal residence; Ulica Mariacka, once both and Gdansk Crane (1494). Opt for a best snapshot by the Baltic Sea.

Bask in Oslo, Scandinavia's oldest capital city. The hills of its outlying countryside are a heaven for lovers of winter sports. The 1943 Vigeland Sculpture Park, home to 192 bronze and 600 figures of granite statues, are each made unique. The centerpiece of the park — a teeming monolith — depicts a complete human life motif surrounded by 36 granite groups. Tour the 1600 Open-Air Folk Museum of Norway for traditional Norwegian buildings in a forest setting on the Bygdoy Peninsula and view the cradle of Olympic ski jumping at Holmenkollen.

Would you go again? Yes, Baltic Heritage.

Readers who submit snapshots published in the Lodi Living section receive a free http://www.lodinews.com/">Lodi News-Sentinel tote bag. Entries should include a quick description of your vacation, a snapshot, your name, address and phone number. Snapshots run in the order they are received. Snapshots may be dropped off at the Lodi News-Sentinel during regular business hours or sent to Lodi Living, Snapshots, 125 N. Church St., Lodi, CA 95240.



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