Christmas in Scandinavia, New Year’s in Prague

This year I was not able to go home for the holiday season, and wanted to do something extra special because of it. Therefore, at the last minute, I decided to book an excursion to Scandinavia that included a cruise to four cities: Helsinki, Finland; Saint Petersburg Russia (visa free!); Tallinn, Estonia; and Stockholm Sweden. This was a student trip led by an organization in Germany, so I got a steal for what I did!

I also went to Prague for New Year’s to visit a few SDSU friends who were also studying abroad. What an experience to celebrate New Year’s in the second most popular European city to visit for the occasion.

Below are a bunch of pictures from my travels, as well as descriptions to give you a little bit of background.

Dec. 22: Driving up to Stockholm Port and Departing

The countryside of Sweden is beautiful and worth checking out in it’s own right!
My room for the next few days – pretty comfortable if you ask me!
The ferry had many amenities to make it seem like a cruise ship, but it was not like a cruise you would take in California; you have to pay for food on these ferries. This is the show room in the boat.

Dec. 23: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki had many churches throughout the city. Here I am near one of the most notable ones
Another church in Helsinki, this church had a little Christmas Market surrounding it!
Because Christmas was only two days away, a lot of the city was decorated. Here I am in one of the city parks
Helsinki Harbor, the best part of the city in my opinion.

Dec. 24: Saint Petersburg, Russia

The only part of the trip with snow; it was my first Christmas Eve that I’ve witnessed snow falling.  A day I’ll never forget!
Saint Petersburg had many similar style buildings to what I saw in Moscow. For instance this building heavily resembles Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
One of the most famous art museums in the world: The State Hermitage Museum
Saint Petersburg’s river was frozen over, not surprising since it is to this day the coldest place I have visited in my life!

Dec. 25: Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn was a city that really impressed me, and it is one of my favorite cities I have visited in Europe.
We were there on Christmas Day, and a huge Christmas Market was in the middle of the town square. It made the whole day that much more festive!
The view of the city from the top of a hill – the beauty of this place is way more than can be described by the pictures!
Me at the viewing spot overlooking the city of Tallinn

Dec. 26: Stockholm, Sweden

I spent my last day in Stockholm. Even though it is very expensive, this was my favorite city I’ve visited on the trip.
The views from the harbor were unbelievable, especially when it got dark (and it got dark early – 2:30 p.m.!)
The view from the other side of the harbor, great views all around the place!

Dec. 31 – Jan. 3: Prague, Czech Republic

Here’s a 30 second clip of the fireworks at midnight — literally everywhere you turned there were fireworks going off!

Prague 2 (1)
The Old City at night. Prague has so many beautiful buildings!
The view of Prague from Prague Castle, a great spot to get a view of the whole city!
Me with my friends Aubrey, Baylie and Joe – all from SDSU and studying abroad in Prague. It’s always good to see friends from home while abroad!

While I was not able to go home for the holiday season, I got to do something that was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will never forget it!

Brandon Einstoss is an applied mathematics and German junior. He is studying in Tubingen, Germany for a full academic year

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