Journalist Ralph Grizzle in St. Petersburg, Russia

Journalist Ralph Grizzle in St. Petersburg, Russia

Two Perfect Days

Thanks for dropping by Two Perfect Days, a section of Avid Cruiser that helps travelers make the most of two turns of the clock in destinations worldwide.

My primary emphasis is to inform cruise passengers about how they can spend their time in embarkation/disembarkation destinations before or after their cruises.

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Two Perfect Days adapts to display on your iPhone, iPod touch or Android touch mobile device

I was inspired to develop Two Perfect Days after my work for more than a decade as a cruise columnist for Hemispheres, United Airlines’ in-flight magazine.

While I only wrote one column for the magazine’s Three Perfect Days, I found the format to be perfect for travelers who sought advice and instruction on how to make the most of their time in some of the world’s greatest cities.

These columns take a lot of work, and as you can see, I’ve only knocked out a handful of destinations.

If there are destinations that you’re seeking information about, please let me know by contacting me.

Thanks for dropping by Two Perfect Days.

Bon voyage, Ralph Grizzle

Two Perfect Days Articles

Or read the summaries below

Monte Carlo's Jardin Exotique is a great place to begin a tour while getting an overview of the city and harbor below.

Monte Carlo's Jardin Exotique is a great place to begin a tour while getting an overview of the city and harbor below.

Two Perfect Days: Nice, Villefranche & Monaco
Few regions have as much to offer cruise passengers as Nice, Villefranche and Monaco. Ships call at all three destinations (though typically not on the same itinerary), and all are close enough to one another that they can be enjoyed in a single (but rushed) day or, better, two days before or after your cruise.

Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong

Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong

Two Perfect Days: Hong Kong
With so much to do and to see, Hong Kong is a great destination for a short stop or an extended stay. The cuisine is the best in Asia, the scenery on the peninsula and the surrounding islands is stunning, the people are consistently pleasant and willing to provide assistance, and while the shopping may not be such a cut-rate bargain any longer, it is still unsurpassed for quality and choice.

Take it with mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup, and, of course, a Carlsberg beer or even chocolate milk if you want to have an authentic Danish experience.

Take it with mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup, and, of course, a Carlsberg beer or even chocolate milk if you want to have an authentic Danish experience.

Two Perfect Days: Copenhagen
If you truly want to experience Copenhagen, skip the Danish and go for the hot dog. After all, every Dane loves a good dog, so not only will you be doing something quintessentially Danish, but on your quest for the perfect hot dog, you also will visit the key attractions in the Danish capital. Following my advice, you’re going to get a taste of Copenhagen — and a hot dog — that you’re not likely to soon forget.

View from Hotel Concorde Berlin, where you step into room 1107 for a jaw-dropping view of the stark shell of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, also known as the Memorial Church.

View from Hotel Concorde Berlin, where you step into room 1107 for a jaw-dropping view of the stark shell of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, also known as the Memorial Church.

Two Perfect Days: Berlin

Nothing speaks more to Berlin’s cultural division than the words intoned by my guide: “She is so East Berlin,” complained Andre Sommerfeld, responding to the stern woman who had barked at us for running a red light on bicycles.

There was no traffic to hinder us, no cars to run us down, but that didn’t matter. East Berliners grew up learning to follow the rules, and even though things have changed dramatically in the past two decades, many Ossis (as the East Germans are colloquially called) still have an inherent sense to always obey authority. They wait at crosswalks, they stand patiently in lines.

Many of them, Andre says, still have the “Mauer im Kopf” or “the wall in the head.” To get a sense of what they’re like, think of the Italians and imagine their opposites.

Two Perfect Days: Stockholm
In a tiny cafe at one end of Gamla Stan’s Stortorget square, a frothy cappuccino serves as the centerpiece for a scene that is quintessentially Stockholm.

In the center of the oversized cup, coffee has been deliberately dripped onto the foamy realms to form a heart, an unintended icon that takes the same shape as Stockholm’s Old Town when seen from the lofty heights of City Hall Tower.

The Old Town, or Gamla Stan as it is known, has been a meeting place since 1252. Today, more than 800 years later, it continues to pulsate as the heart of Stockholm.

As on most days here at the uber-cozy, candlelit and tiny Chokladkoppen, espresso machines hiss as patrons poke their heads through the front door in hopes of finding a vacant table. Those sitting at the tables and those wanting to occupy them are all drawn here by the same primordial urge: the need to fika.

What’s fika? You’ll read about that in a moment. For now, stay with me. You’re about to learn how to spend two days that you’ll never forget in one of the world’s most beautiful — and fascinating — cities.

Seattle Skyline

Two Perfect Days: Seattle

On a sunny Saturday in August, a crowd gathers at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The mood is festive, particularly at Pike Place Fish, where fishmongers, garbed in Grundens (the Swedish-stitched orange bib overalls) joke as they toss whole Sockeye Salmon, Alaskan Halibut and Yellow Fin Tuna over the counter to be packaged. “Want to see a flying fish?” says one, as he sends a salmon sailing to a co-worker. With cameras rolling and flashes sparkling, the tourists laugh.

Welcome to Seattle, the free-spirited Pacific Northwest city where water, majestic snow-capped mountains and a funky, yet sophisticated, downtown conspire to create one of America’s best cities and top travel destinations. And for cruise passengers, the former frontier town is equally as compelling to visit as it is to leave. Each summer, cruise ships often come and go in record numbers from Seattle’s downtown terminals — to and from Alaska.

St. Petersburg's Hermitage

St. Petersburg's Hermitage

Two Perfect Days: St. Petersburg

If you’re planning a cruise in the Baltic Sea, you’re likely old enough to remember such events as the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), U.S. President Ronald Reagan and congressional conservatives characterizing Russia as the Evil Empire (1982) and the Cold War, which lasted until late 1991. Thus, visiting St. Petersburg for the first time may hold a mix of emotions for you — the intrigue of seeing one of the world’s greatest cities combined with apprehension of visiting a former enemy state.

Two Perfect Days: San Diego

On a Mexican Riviera cruise from San Diego, my family and I spent one week after our cruise to discover all that this sunny Southern California city has to offer cruise passengers. True, most cruise passengers add only two nights before or after their cruises from San Diego, but friends who had been here told us that two days was not enough, so we decided to go the distance and try to see it all.

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