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dogs4fun

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    Europe

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  1. Another thing that I forgot to mention regarding Russia ... Unless you have a Russian visa, your passport data must be provided to Russian immigration 72 hours prior to your arrival in St Petersburg. This is required in order to participate in one of the visa free shore excursions provided by the ship or a licensed independent local tour company. You cannot book a tour upon arrival in Russia - not even a ship tour - it will be too late & you would be required to stay onboard. So, one must have one’s ducks in a row if planning on hiring an independent company or booking a ship excursion in Russia.
  2. @wowzz Thanks for the reminder but I don’t think you need to worry. I am pretty confident that most of us posting on this particular thread are well aware of the requirements for visa free touring in Russia (with one notable exception) - AFAIK, most of us have previously visited Russia. 😎 For those unaware, I repeat, the information provided by Roger is incorrect. You must book with a company/guide that is licensed by the Russian Federation OR possess a valid Russian visa.You cannot book with just any guide or local that you find online.
  3. Yes, the collection in the Gold Room is, indeed, amazing. Personally, I am not sure that I would include a visit to the Treasury Gallery rooms on a short cruise port visit - they simply take up too much time & there is so much more to see in this fabulous city. That is unless, of course, one has a particular interest in the items on display in one of the treasury galleries or you have previously visited the city and want to add new experiences. For those interested in visiting the treasury gallery in the Hermitage, there are two sections - each section requires a separate admission in addition to your regular Hermitage admission and one can visit only by guided tour. Note: the Gold Room is not to be confused with the Gold Drawing Room (spectacular) in the Hermitage Museum - the drawing room is included in your admission price to the Hermitage Museum. The Treasury Gallery: the Gold Room - features a spectacular collection of gold from ancient Greek masters, Scythian gold (largest worldwide collection), Asian jewelry (China, Iran, India) and outstanding examples of Eastern ceremonial weapons. the Diamond Room - features ancient gold objects discovered during Scythian barrow mound excavations, royal jewelry (Imperial Romanov family) and jewelry from St. Petersburg's private collections, diplomatic gifts presented to Tsars & Imperial Court, ecclesiastical art and Faberge creations. The Diamond Room is very impressive (you will see lots of diamonds and other gems) but if you want to see the largest diamonds and jewels of the Tsars and Tsarinas, they are found in the Diamond Fund in Moscow - not the Hermitage.
  4. I am keeping my big mouth shut and comments/thoughts to myself! 😉
  5. I am sure you know that you can book private tours for just the two of you with the cruise line. Almost any tour is possible through the cruise line if funds are not an issue for you.
  6. AFAIK, the current Covid 19 mitigation policies set by MSC and COSTA cruise lines include mandated ship sponsored shore excursions - one cannot DIY or book with independent/private operators in ports of call. Most of the megaships operated by the lines that cater to US passengers (NCL, Princess, HAL, X, Oceania, RCCL, etc.) utilize the services of a very large tour operator in Saint Petersburg - IMHO, they will not be interested in working with one of the small independents (I suspect that there would be very little profit margin for the small players after the cruise line takes their cut). I understand why the current shore excursion rules exist as cruises attempt to restart in europe while maintaining a relatively safe "bubble" for their cruise clientele (I don't know how effective this "bubble" will prove to be in mitigating Covid 19 - I have serious doubts about its efficacy). None of the cruise lines that I mentioned are currently operating in european ports and I sincerely hope that the cruise lines do not mandate ship only excursions when it is once again prudent and safe to cruise in the Baltics without fear of becoming a prisoner on a plague ship that is not allowed into port.
  7. @deec Ah, I wish I could identify many of the digital photos I have taken. I don't search for the location of a random photo - I actually have the same issues regarding having forgotten where such and such photo was taken (especially if the photos are not downloaded until months after a trip). Regarding my "luck" at finding the location of Jazzbeau's photo, I "cheated" by finding pertinent info on his blog describing his AmaDagio cruise of the Rhone. His blogs are very interesting - I've been working my way through his and those posted by jpalbny. Basically, I like reading about the travels of others. About a week ago, I had read about the Jazz duo's time in Oingt and, when I saw the photo, I remembered reading about an organ festival held in the town - eureka! I do use google when searching for clues provided by hints found in the photos - you can also use google street view to walk around buildings to check-out features (many areas in Germany & Austria are not covered by street view). If the photo is of an iconic site, you can search by image - trouble is that most of the photos posted on this thread are quite obscure - one would not find them simply by using an image search. Sorry I can't help but I employ no clever tricks to find a location or structure - just a tad of good old-fashioned sleuthing. 🙂
  8. Yes, I too suspect the Rhone. Perhaps Oingt? Edit: Yep, definitely Oingt - specifically, Église St. Mathieu (I cheated - my bad). You will have to "go" again as my "guess" really wasn't a fair one (and I have no photos).
  9. @Host Jazzbeau Was enjoying your blogs and, interestingly, found that we have attended the same university back in the day (although not during the same decade). Who would've thunk it as you list your location as New York. 😎
  10. @Host Jazzbeau Thanks for the photos - interesting portrayal of sin.
  11. @ljandgbI have enlarged the photo of the main porch that I found online & can clearly see the virgin & seducer. No matter how hard I try, I can't discern the toads and snakes crawling into the seducer's robe. Perhaps I can't see this because this is a frontal view? Do you have a photo of the seducer with the toads and snakes clearly visible? If so, could you share the photo after correct identification of the site?
  12. @jklc123 I'm sorry - I don't understand your previous comment as it is not the cathedral in Speyer to which I was referring when I stated that I had found it. I finally found the location due to the hints offered by @ljandgb 🙂 Without those hints, I had absolutely no clue.
  13. Found it! I've never been but will make it a point to visit if I am there in the future. 🙂 I have no photos so will not name the particular structure.
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