I had this joke that I kept going to Warsaw [click here for the rest of the photos, all taken in July 2008] but was destined never to SEE it… I had had two 8-hour layovers there, but, both times, I was too exhausted to leave the airport. Then, at the start of my trip through the Baltics, I spent an entire day there just about, but was weighed down by all of my luggage (a nice young woman from Couchsurfers was going to watch it for me while I traveled to other countries, but she was at work all day).Upon my return, I finally had my day in Warsaw (6am to 10pm)… (more…)
As Lonely Planet explains it, “Jūrmala (pronounced yoor-muh-lah) is a long string of townships with Prussian-style villas, each unique in shape and decor,” and is “the Baltic’s version of the French Riviera”. In other words, it’s a beach resort area (near Riga). Click here for my photos of it! The two main touristy towns are Majori and Dzintari, but my photos are of Majori & Dubulti (I’ll explain why in a second). (more…)
Sigulda is a town that serves as the gateway to the “Switzerland of Latvia”: Gauja National Park [official website], a beautiful, castle-filled place. Also, caves and cable cars across rivers. Click here to see my photos. You can read about Gauja here, learn more here, and read reviews at Tripadvisor. (more…)
Continuing with the photos associated with my 2008 trip through the Baltics, today’s album features Riga. Mostly all I did there was take the two long walking tours laid out in my tourist pamphlet—and, thanks to Riga’s incredible architecture, this might just be the best thing that a person *can* do there! Every building there cried to be admired.
Today’s album contains photos of Užupis, the bohemian enclave of Vilnius (capital of Lithuania) that says it’s its own country. The Užupian constitution, posted in the street in multiple languages, contains points like “Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation,” “Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies,” “A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of need,” and some serious ones like “No one has the right to violence” and “Everyone is responsible for their freedom.” (more…)
I wish I knew even a fraction of the history embedded in this place: Antakalnis Cemetery, a still-active military cemetery in Vilnius. (more…)
St. Peter & Paul Church, “a treasure trove of sparkling white stucco sculptures of real and mythical people, animals and plants, with touches of gilt, paintings and statues. The decoration was done by Italian sculptors between 1675 and 1704” (Lonely Planet). Since it’s a “whopping” 2.5 km (that’s 1.55 miles) from the center of Vilnius, many tourists don’t bother to see this church, which is a huge shame and their loss. I know I’ve already posted a billion pretty European church photos, and just did that, in fact, for Vilnius (see previous post), but I swear this one is just jaw-dropping. That’s why it gets its own album. I literally get the shudders just looking at these photos and remembering. All photos taken in July of 2008.
“Crazy Kaunas” somewhat lived up to its name, with a pleasant sampling of ugly, tacky, or wacky things. Wikipedia tells me that “Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life,” but my guidebook mostly stressed that it was kind of odd. I especially enjoyed the world’s only Devil Museum, the verdant island in the middle of a scummy river, all the brides running around, and the taxidermy museum! And of course it was not without its pretty churches, too. (more…)