Thursday, June 28, 2018

I Can Finally Relax

I can finally relax.

After the stress of going to Brussels and getting to the ship, I can finally relax.

My first step was having the special “Nordic” cocktail (I forget its name), which was a mix of vodka, sprite, and raspberries.  It was very sweet, but did pack a punch.  They let me keep the “glass” (well, plastic really).  I’m not sure what I can do with it as it’s at least two feet high.

The stateroom is very large and comfortable, one of the most comfortable I’ve ever had.  There are plenty of closets, a nice-sized bathroom (with a shower, not a tub, as my father had feared), a couch, desk, and veranda.  After finally figuring out how to open the door, I’ve sat out there and read (though I’ve mostly used for drying laundry).

Dinner was in the main dining room last night.  I very much enjoyed my French onion soup, but the New York strip loin was a little tough and dry.  The dessert was good.  After dinner, I explored the ship, checking out the various lounges.  The layout and the options are rather different from the Holland America ship my father and I did in Alaska.  The library is much smaller and isn’t as nice (I overheard one passenger telling another that HAL did away with its cruise librarian).  

Instead of printed maps, they now have these large table-sized computer consoles, where you can pull up views of the cities we will be visiting.  Personally, I would find it much more helpful if they indicated where the ship would dock and the available public transportation.  Today, I asked the EXC guides where the ship would be in Tallinn, and somewhat reluctantly he showed me.  It’s supposed to be a 15-minute walk to the historic city center, so I’m guessing it will be more like 20.

Dad, Matt, and I went to see the magician last night (Shayna went to sleep early).  He turned out to be a British comedian who was rather funny (though I think Matt and dad laughed more than I did).  After the show, I wandered up on deck to watch the sunset and moonrise (around 10 pm).  Then I went to bed.

The beds are comfortable and the room can be made quite dark.  My only problem was something is triggering my allergies and I woke up coughing a couple of times.  I’ll take some allergy medication tonight.  I also had a nightmare about fascism that woke me up a little earlier than I wanted, but I still had nearly 8 hours of sleep.

Estonia is on Eastern European Time, so the ship’s clocks went forward an hour last night.  That meant that to be at breakfast by 9 am, we really had to be there by 8 am.  Thankfully, we all made it.  Dad had the Belgian waffles, while Shayna ordered the pan-Asian breakfast (which seemed to be mostly Japanese).  I decided to try the Swedish pancakes, which turned out to be a crepe rolled up like a blintze, but filled with custard and topped with mixed berry compote.

After breakfast, I did three laps of the boat on the Promenade, which works out to a mile.  Then I met Matt and Shayna when they finished their workouts at the fitness center.  Matt and I played some ping pong to warm him up for the big ping pong tournament, and then when Shayna finished on the exercise bike, she took over for me.

Both signed up for the tournament, along with 20 other players.  That made things complicated mathematically in going forward to the next level, but I left that for the deputy cruise director to work out.  Matt made it to the quarter finals, and we stayed through the semi-finals and the final, before going to the Lido buffet for lunch.

I rushed lunch a bit at the end to make the America’s Test Kitchen show at 1 pm, but I soon found myself nodding off.  I picked up the recipe for Spanish tortilla (an egg and potato omelet thing), but I guess I’ll have to make it myself to find out how it tastes, as I went back to the cabin to nap.  Dad was already asleep, so I closed the curtains and set the alarm for 1:30 pm (really 2:30 pm ship’s time) so we would be ready to go to afternoon tea at 3.

Dad was really looking forward to this and I think he was happy.  They brought out little tiered trays of finger sandwiches and pastries, and both Matt and Shayna said it reminded them of the Huntington.  Afterwards, I told them I planned on walking the Promenade again and all three of them said they would join me.

In fact, though, they had to start without me as I wanted to find out the answers Shayna’s questions: 1) what time would we get to Tallinn, Estonia (11 am); and 2) do we need to take our passports (no, but we need to have a photo ID). They had already done one lap.  In the end, they did six laps and I did five, giving me a total of eight for the day.  One more and I’ll have walked 3 miles (not counting all the walking back and forth from stem to stern).

After we finished, I took Shayna up to the Explorers’ Lounge, so she could see the various maps of the cities.  She looked for all the possible palaces she could visit to add to her “collection.”

In a few minutes, I’ll change into my best clothing for “gala night.”  Our dinner reservation isn’t until 7:30 pm, but I thought dad would like to hear the classical concert at 6:30 and so we should already be dressed for dinner before we go.

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