Thursday, August 7, 2014

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the ECC Travel Abroad Program blog!

Make plans now to join us on our upcoming trip to Scotland, May 20-27, 2015. Just click the image below for more information.

While you're here, read some of our previous posts and see pictures from our 2014 Baltic Capitals Cruise, our 2013 trip to Great Britain, and our 2012 trip to Spain.

Follow along as we blog about our journey beginning on May 20, 2015.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Baltic Capitals Cruise - Final Post

Nineteen people from Eastern North Carolina sailed on a nine-day cruise on the Baltic Sea.

The photo shows the group enjoying their last dinner together before they reached the port in Copenhagen, Denmark, where all passengers disembarked and headed home. Visiting the six capitals of Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, and Sweden created memories filled with rich history and culture.

ECC students Brenquitta Webb and Jennah Summerlin benefited from this life-altering experience, exploring cultures, traditions, customs, and history unlike their own....experiencing the trip of a lifetime.  

Until we meet again...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Additional Adventures in Stockholm

ECC travelers Jessie Jones and Josie Davis prepare to leave for
an excursion in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Retha Deaton, Mahlon Deloatch, Vines Cobb, and Carnell Lamm
wait for their Stockholm excursion to leave.

Parks cover nearly one third of the city, including market squares.

Stockholm boasts a high density of restaurants, with cafes and free entertainment.

Several of the ECC travelers visited the ICEBAR, a room made out of ice from the Torne River in the Swedish Lapland.  Each person put on heavy coats with hoods and gloves to enter the bar and drink from an ice glass.

One of the waterways in Stockholm.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is located at the point where Lake Malar and the Baltic Sea meet. Nearly 1.5 million people live in the greater Stockholm area.

Stockholm is built on 14 small islands. Driving through the city, one sees open bays and narrow channels.

Stockholm residents use bicycles, personal autos, Segways, buses, and other means of public transportation to move about the city.

Travelers visited the Vasa Museum, where they saw the Swedish warship, "Vasa." The museum is built around the restored 17th century warship, which sank in Stockholm's inner harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628.  Its salvage in 1961, with more than 12,000 objects on board, is one of Sweden's most important events in marine archaeology.

Helsinki, Finland and Suomenlinna

Helsinki was originally established at the mouth of the Vantaanjoki River in 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, who wanted the town to compete with Tallinn. Due to the shallow water in the bay, the town was moved to its current location in the 1640s. Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1812.

Suomenlinna, known as the 'Gibraltar of the North" is considered to be the largest sea fortress in the world and is included on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Treasures. The island is a 20 minute boat ride from Helsinki, Finland.

Suomenlinna was built to protect the country against invasion from Russia. 

Suomenlinna Island Fortress

Laura Ashley Lamm, Lance Cherry, and June Cherry touring the sea fortress.

Carnell Lamm and Retha Deaton touring Suomenlinna, a home to 800 residents.

The dry dock at the island fortress.

The history of the dockyard dates back to 1747.

A view from the island of Suomenlinna

St. Petersburg and Peterhof

St. Petersburg is a cosmopolitan city with a cultural and artistic core. St Petersburg is Russia's biggest port. The city moves across and around the the mouth of the Neva River.

Peterhof, the town of palaces, fountains and parks, was built by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. It lies on the Southern shore of the Gulf of Finland.  The Grand Palace is known as the most brilliant of all the summer residences of the Russian Tsars. The layout of the 300-acre park and fountains was designed by Peter himself. The Grand Cascade consists of 3 waterfalls, 64 fountains and 37 gilded statues.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

More from St. Petersburg, Russia

The high rise apartments are located in the city and countryside for the heavily populated St. Petersburg. The rainy day is normal in Russia.  Only 50-55 days a year are sunny.  The other 310-315 days are either overcast, snowy, or rainy.

Grassy areas could be found throughout the city; however, the grass was about a foot tall - not as well maintained as lawns in the States. The weather most likely affects the ability to maintain the grounds. No lawn maintenance was visible.

The State Hermitage is one of the greatest repositories of the world's art. This Russian museum, shown in the photo, houses about 3,000,000 monuments of culture and art. The Hermitage or "Winter Palace" was an imperial residence, built for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in 1754 but was later converted into a museum.

The outer building is on the grounds of The Great(Catherine's) Palace. The palace and grounds were constructed for Catherine I under her husband, Peter I, and serving as a place for rest and entertainment of the tsar. The palace, with a 300 meter-long facade, is one of the main sights in Tsarskoye Selo.  The Great Hall, the Amber Room, the Picture hall and other rooms are noted for the baroque style of architecture and the gold leaf appliqué applied to the wood.

Palace visitors had to check their coats and large purses before entering the palace.  "Over the shoe slippers" had to be worn as well to protect the floors.  Photography was limited.

Picturesque waterways added to the beauty of St. Petersburg.