Tallinn – 3 April 2018

What a difference a day makes! Today it was very cold in Tallinn but the sun was shining.

This is probably my last blog post of this trip. Our plane leaves Tallinn at 6:10 tomorrow morning for the first leg of our trip home.

We spent the day exploring the old town ofTallinn and the Estonian History Museum.

For our last meal of the trip we ate at a restaurant that serves all local Estonian food. We had duck and a typical Estonian desert.

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk back to the hotel in the cold night air.

Riga, Latvia to Tallinn, Estonia

When we arrived in Tallinn today it was snowing and there was a long line for taxis so we decided to walk the half mile to our hotel.

Before we left Riga this morning we walked through the beautiful mall across from our hotel. It is in the middle of old town but from the outside you wouldn’t even know it is there.

We are now directly north of Riga at about the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. Our bus from Riga to Tallinn left at 11:30.

On our four hour bus ride I watch the movie Sully on my entertainment console. I really enjoyed it.

As we crossed the border into Estonia there were lots of people out ice fishing.

For dinner tonight we walked a few blocks from our hotel and had a great steak dinner followed by a flaming brownie with ice cream. .

Vilnius, Lithuania to Riga, Latvia

Today we took the bus north and a little bit west to Riga the Capital of Latvia.

Our bus was at noon so before we left Vilnius we went to the museum right next door to our hotel. It is the building where the document creating the independent Lithuanian state was signed on 16 February 1918. One of the interesting rooms in the museum had pictures from the Lithuanian Societies in the United States. There were Lithuanian societies in many states including three in Iowa. The Iowa societies were in Sioux City, Des Moines, and Mason City.

The bus ride took about five hours. Tomorrow we will explore Riga.

We had a great dinner at Svētku Mielasrs restorānā. We started with soup and potato pancakes with herring.

For our main course we had halibut and veal.

After dinner we went to a jazz club and listened to an excellent group.

Vilnius 30 March 2018

I really like our hotel here in Vilnius, the Narutis Hotel. It has a four story Central covered courtyard.

This morning we set out to explore Vilnius. We started at the Cathedral.

Then we climbed to the top of the Bell Tower. It’s history goes back to the thirteenth century. The stairs to the top were steep. We had an up close view of the bells and the old clock. We also had a great view of the town and surrounding countryside.

From the Bell Tower we walked to the Museum of Genocide Victims. The museum is in the building that was Gestapo headquarters and then KGB headquarters. I thought it was very well done. All the displays had captions in Lithuanian and English. The museum tells The story of the occupations first by the Germans and then by the Russians. The Lithuanians suffered oppression and horrendous numbers of deaths and deportations. Lithuanian has only been free of occupation since 1990.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped for coffee and strudel.

This evening we had dinner at a brewery. The wait staff all had “Support Your Local Brewery” in English on the back of their T-shirts. We finally had beer sausage and sauerkraut. One of the beers was a hemp beer made from cannabis seed. We would like to visit Vilnius again someday when it is not so wet and cold. Trakai Island Castle not far from here sounds like it would be beautiful and very interesting.