WHO: Christine Goulet-Tremblay, 26, and Yan-Sebastien Tremblay, 27, of Newburyport
WHERE: Iceland, England, Baltic Sea cruise
WHEN: A month in July and August
WHY: ''We were trying to decide where to go, because it was our honeymoon. It was actually cheaper to go through Iceland," said Goulet-Tremblay. They visited England because Tremblay, who is Canadian, has a brother living in Portsmouth.
THEY BRAKE FOR EVERYTHING: After flying into Reykjavik, they rented a car and stayed on the southern coast of Iceland. ''Every time we saw the little sign for a tourist attraction, we braked. We saw everything along the way," Goulet-Tremblay said. ''The natural beauty of the place is incredible, volcanic beaches, glaciers, waterfalls." It was difficult returning to a city, she said, though they liked Reykjavik. ''It seems somewhere between America and Europe," Tremblay said. ''We even saw both American and European cars." Speaking of cars, it cost them $90 to fill the tank of their Subaru rental.
LOCAL COLOUR: Next stop, Portsmouth, south of London, where they visited Tremblay's brother. ''Portsmouth is pretty industrial, but it's a big seaport, with ferries going everywhere, even to Spain," Goulet-Tremblay said. They took a day trip to Stonehenge and also a ferry to the Isle of Wight. ''It was very picturesque, and is said to be the sunniest place in all of England. It was sunny, but very windy."
THE EASY WAY: The couple flew to Copenhagen on budget-friendly easyJet to start their 10-day cruise with Holland America. ''It was our first cruise. There were about 1,200 people, which was just right," Goulet-Tremblay said.
FIRST PORT: A day in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, started with a walking tour with a guide, as did every cruise day. ''The city has had many influences," Tremblay said. ''In one spot, up on a cliff, you can look down over the city. You can see an English church, a German church, a Russian church." Many buildings were being renovated. ''You have the feel of old and new Europe."
SEEING RED: In St. Petersburg ''everything had a fresh coat of paint" from the city's 300th anniversary celebration, Goulet-Tremblay said. From there, cruisers boarded an aging plane to Moscow, where they went to the Kremlin and Red Square. ''Every day was nice except in Moscow it was cold and rainy," she said. ''The guides knew every bit of history. It made me want to read everything about every czar and czarina. Cathedral Square was amazing."
BACK TO SCANDINAVIA: Helsinki was a quiet stop in comparison, they said. ''I'd love to go back to go north to Lapland," Goulet-Tremblay said. To get to Stockholm, ''we passed many islands with these amazing houses on them," Tremblay said. They visited the site of the Nobel Prize celebrations and the Vasa Museum.
SOMBER STOP: A two-plus-hour train ride got them from the boat to Berlin for a day. ''There's an outdoor museum on Nazi war crimes. . . . It was very emotional," Goulet-Tremblay said.
REST DAY: ''I'm a big fan of 'The Amazing Race' [TV show], and it felt like we were on it," Goulet-Tremblay said.