The Baltics – September 2004


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In the summer we had a two week trip around the Baltics.  We flew into Riga where we spent the first few nights.  Then we hired a car and drove through all three countries, clocking up around 3000km along the way.  Our route is dotted in red, showing the main highlights on our travels.


As a holiday destinations, the Baltics were a unique and amazing choice as they have just joined the European Union so they have the flavour of the East, with the outlook of the West.  Having broken away from Russia just over ten years ago, their history is very recent.


The entire holiday was excellent, still unspoilt by tourists so it felt we were seeing the “real” and authentic countries.  All three countries spoke completely different languages so we had to learn all the basic words (thank you, please, two beers, cheers…) each time we crossed a border.


It won’t be long before the rest of the world catches on and more and more tourists flock to this place.





          Flew from London to Riga, where we spent our first three nights in one of the best cities we’ve been too…


          First stop… Riga




          Riga, the art nouveau capital of the world





          Elizabetes Iela, a famous street containing lots of art nouveau architecture













          Riga skyline





          A market place housed in old Zeppelin hangars





                                                                                The Riflemen









          Sampling the local beer…                                                               Sampling the hardcore local brew:

                                                                                                              Black Balsams!?!?


          The Curonian Spit, Lithuania


          The Curonian Spit is a 100km long x 3km wide sand dune, that sits about 6km off the Lithuanian coast into the Baltic Sea.  The southern half belongs to Kalliningrad (a part of Russia but not joined to her).




          Symbols of the local fishermen in Nida





          The big sand dune – looking into Russia









          The Russian border at Kalliningrad!!





          Old fisherman’s houses in Nida









          To the beach, make sure it’s the right one!?





          The Lithuanias are very big on their folklore and fairy tales.

          This sculpture was part of a trail of wooden carvings of witches,

          dragons and other fairy tale creatures.



          The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania


          A memorial and pilgrimage site where there are thousands upon thousands of crosses.

          The Russians and Germans have bulldozed this hill several times in the past, but it

          keeps coming back.  The Pope visited here a while ago too…












          Vilnius and around




          Overlooking Vilnius





          St Anne’s Church, Vilnius.  Very intricate brickwork.








Grutos Parkas – Soviet statue park made from the fallen statues (mostly of Lenin and Stalin) from the town squares of the cities of Lithuania following their independence from the Soviets in the early 90’s.





          Trakai Castle





          Trakai Castle again…






Europos Parkas (Museum of the Centre of Europe) is a pretty cool outdoor sculpture park located very close to the geographical centre of Europe.  It’s marked by a fairly non-descript stone at the actual centre (below).





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