A Baltic Voyage 1

The Heart of Northern Europe

by Mary Jo

2017_Viking_Homelands Map
I never thought much about the Baltic Sea until we decided to take a cruise called Viking Homelands, which meant cruising the Baltic.  "Viking" is a general term for the Scandinavians who were great navigators, raiders and traders.  Norwegian Vikings usually headed west across the North Atlantic, the Danes sailed south to harass Britain, and the Swedish Vikings traveled east into the Baltic, where the established numerous trading settlements.

The Baltic, like the Mediterranean, is a marginal sea, meaning it's largely enclosed by land with only limited access to the ocean.  For the Mediterranean, the Straits of Gibraltar are the only link to the Atlantic.  For the Baltic, the connection is a strait that runs between Sweden and Denmark.  Naturally, there was a lot of fighting  about who controlled these vital  waterways.  (A Dane said that these days, Denmark and Sweden limit their aggression to football games.  I'm not sure I entirely believed him. <G>>

IMG_4526The Baltic and the Mediterranean are bordered by many nations with distinct cultural identities and languages, .  Hence, both seas were hotbeds of trade, selling products to each other along with culture and inventions.  Those cross-Baltic connections are alive and well–in every port we saw large ferries designed to take people, cars, and trucks from one country to another.

The Baltic was the heart of the Germanic Hanseatic League, which pretty much controlled the sea for three centuries.  The League also included the Low Countries and Norway. The map above shows the itinerary of our cruise on the Viking Sky.  As you see, we set off from Stockholm and sailed due east, stopping in Helsinki, Finland, and then going on to St. Petersburg.  From there, we turned around to head  west, stopping in various cities on the south side of the Baltic.

IMG_4540I'd never visited Stockholm before, and I didn't realize that the city is built on an archipelago of islands: 14 major islands and 57 bridges, which is why the city has been called the "Venice of the North." 

We took the "Under the Bridges" harbor cruise.  The prerecorded narration was excellent (and available in six languages) and it described not only the sights of the harbor, but also discussed the history of Stockholm and Sweden, as well as more subjects like national character.  (I realized as never before that a Swedish-American in-law of mine is really IMG_4576very, very Swedish in temperament even after several generations in the Midwest.) 

During our harbor cruise, we stopped at the Stockholm City Hall, which is where the Nobel prizes are awarded. (Except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway.)  This year's Nobel winners have been announced in the last couple of weeks, and I like imagining the grand banquet (over a thousand attendees) and the presentation of the awards by the King of Sweden. (To the right is a picture of the gardens of the City Hall.)

After the dinner and the awards, there is ballroom dancing.  I couldn't help wondering how many Nobel winners are up for the dancing–they tend to be an elderly lot!

We did another harbor tour in Helsinki, capital of Finland.  (What can I say?  I like water!)  Helsinki is a beautiful little city, called the White IMG_4579City of the North.  Finns treasure and protect their connection with nature.  Many of the islands in the harbor reminded me of untouched landscapes in the Adirondack Mountains, (see left) but there were also many simply built saunas, a ritual which most Finns love. 

The next stop on our cruise was St. Petersburg, but I'm going to save it for a later blog and hop ahead to Tallinn, Estonia.  I hadn't realized the strong connections between Finland and Estonia.  The languages are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.  It's only a two hour ferry ride between Helsinki and Tallinn, and an Estonian crew member on the ship said that some Estonians work in Helsinki during the week and take the ferry home for the weekend.   

Tallinn was probably our favorite stop of the whole voyage, and not just because IMG_4695it's a beautifully preserved medieval city.  We hired an excellent private tour company and they did a great job of showing us everything, including older areas being revived as creative and tech sites. 

As our guide walked us through the beautiful historic center, we took a coffee break at a café and were introduced to the Fat Margaret cake–think of a light chocolate mousse cake that looked too large for one person.  I should have taken a picture, but somehow the cake slices disappeared before I could pull out my camera. <G>

But what stirred me most about Estonia was its recent history.  Along with the small neighboring Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, they were brutally annexed by the Soviet Union at the beginning of WWII.  All three countries had a passion for freedom, and they were leaders in breaking free of Soviet control in the late 1980s.

IMG_4733Estonia has a tradition of choral singing, and their Song Festival Grounds regularly host an internationally famous Song Festival.  (All songs have to be Estonian and sung in the Estonian language.  Foreign choirs fight for the chance to be perform at the festival.)

A powerful event in Estonian history is the Singing Revolution.  It took place over several years, but a particularly memorable day was in 1988, when 300,000 people came together to sing for freedom. That is about a third of the whole country singing in solidarity, and it was a catalyst for Estonia winning its freedom without a drop of blood being spilled.  (The image to the left is from a poster showing the size of that crowd as it gathered in the Song Festival Grounds.  The national anthem is always sung first.)

Another element of this quiet revolution was the Baltic Chain.  On August 23rd, 1989, IMG_4702TWO MILLION residents of the Baltic states came together to create a human chain which ran from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, clear across Latvia and all the way to Tallinn, the northernmost of the Baltic States.  Our guide was only a little girl then, but she remembers it vividly. 

It's a tremendously moving story, and I was awed.  I'd love to visit Estonia again for a longer visit.  And maybe more of their cakes. <G> 

IMG_4698Happy armchair traveling! (The picture at the right is of the cathedral taken through a rain spattered car window.)

Mary Jo

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

125 thoughts on “A Baltic Voyage 1”

  1. Thank you for taking us armchair travelers along on your fascinating journey. Can’t wait until you blog about St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for taking us armchair travelers along on your fascinating journey. Can’t wait until you blog about St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  3. Thank you for taking us armchair travelers along on your fascinating journey. Can’t wait until you blog about St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for taking us armchair travelers along on your fascinating journey. Can’t wait until you blog about St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for taking us armchair travelers along on your fascinating journey. Can’t wait until you blog about St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  6. My “travel buddies” and I were discussing where to go on our next trip and this tour was a big contender. Now I’m convinced it needs to be done! Thanks for the info, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply
  7. My “travel buddies” and I were discussing where to go on our next trip and this tour was a big contender. Now I’m convinced it needs to be done! Thanks for the info, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply
  8. My “travel buddies” and I were discussing where to go on our next trip and this tour was a big contender. Now I’m convinced it needs to be done! Thanks for the info, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply
  9. My “travel buddies” and I were discussing where to go on our next trip and this tour was a big contender. Now I’m convinced it needs to be done! Thanks for the info, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply
  10. My “travel buddies” and I were discussing where to go on our next trip and this tour was a big contender. Now I’m convinced it needs to be done! Thanks for the info, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply
  11. What a fascinating post, Mary Jo, about a part of the world about which I know little. I’m looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
  12. What a fascinating post, Mary Jo, about a part of the world about which I know little. I’m looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. What a fascinating post, Mary Jo, about a part of the world about which I know little. I’m looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
  14. What a fascinating post, Mary Jo, about a part of the world about which I know little. I’m looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
  15. What a fascinating post, Mary Jo, about a part of the world about which I know little. I’m looking forward to your next post. Thank you!

    Reply
  16. For us Finns sauna is a necessity! In the old days it was even more so, when women gave birth in saunas and the dead were washed there for the very last time-and everything in between.
    “The language are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.” That’s not exactly true. There are also
    (Baltic Finnic)
    Chud
    Estonians
    Finns
    Izhorians
    Karelians
    Livonians
    Setos
    Veps
    Votes
    (“Volgaic”)
    Burtas
    Mari
    Merya people
    Meshchera people
    Mokshas
    Mordvins
    Muromian people
    Sami (Lapps)
    (Permic)
    Besermyan
    Komi
    Komi-Permyaks
    Udmurts
    (Ugric)
    Hungarians
    Székely
    Csángó
    Magyarab
    Jász
    Kun
    Palóc
    Khanty
    Mansi

    Reply
  17. For us Finns sauna is a necessity! In the old days it was even more so, when women gave birth in saunas and the dead were washed there for the very last time-and everything in between.
    “The language are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.” That’s not exactly true. There are also
    (Baltic Finnic)
    Chud
    Estonians
    Finns
    Izhorians
    Karelians
    Livonians
    Setos
    Veps
    Votes
    (“Volgaic”)
    Burtas
    Mari
    Merya people
    Meshchera people
    Mokshas
    Mordvins
    Muromian people
    Sami (Lapps)
    (Permic)
    Besermyan
    Komi
    Komi-Permyaks
    Udmurts
    (Ugric)
    Hungarians
    Székely
    Csángó
    Magyarab
    Jász
    Kun
    Palóc
    Khanty
    Mansi

    Reply
  18. For us Finns sauna is a necessity! In the old days it was even more so, when women gave birth in saunas and the dead were washed there for the very last time-and everything in between.
    “The language are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.” That’s not exactly true. There are also
    (Baltic Finnic)
    Chud
    Estonians
    Finns
    Izhorians
    Karelians
    Livonians
    Setos
    Veps
    Votes
    (“Volgaic”)
    Burtas
    Mari
    Merya people
    Meshchera people
    Mokshas
    Mordvins
    Muromian people
    Sami (Lapps)
    (Permic)
    Besermyan
    Komi
    Komi-Permyaks
    Udmurts
    (Ugric)
    Hungarians
    Székely
    Csángó
    Magyarab
    Jász
    Kun
    Palóc
    Khanty
    Mansi

    Reply
  19. For us Finns sauna is a necessity! In the old days it was even more so, when women gave birth in saunas and the dead were washed there for the very last time-and everything in between.
    “The language are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.” That’s not exactly true. There are also
    (Baltic Finnic)
    Chud
    Estonians
    Finns
    Izhorians
    Karelians
    Livonians
    Setos
    Veps
    Votes
    (“Volgaic”)
    Burtas
    Mari
    Merya people
    Meshchera people
    Mokshas
    Mordvins
    Muromian people
    Sami (Lapps)
    (Permic)
    Besermyan
    Komi
    Komi-Permyaks
    Udmurts
    (Ugric)
    Hungarians
    Székely
    Csángó
    Magyarab
    Jász
    Kun
    Palóc
    Khanty
    Mansi

    Reply
  20. For us Finns sauna is a necessity! In the old days it was even more so, when women gave birth in saunas and the dead were washed there for the very last time-and everything in between.
    “The language are similar to each other–and to no other languages except a more distant kinship to Hungarian.” That’s not exactly true. There are also
    (Baltic Finnic)
    Chud
    Estonians
    Finns
    Izhorians
    Karelians
    Livonians
    Setos
    Veps
    Votes
    (“Volgaic”)
    Burtas
    Mari
    Merya people
    Meshchera people
    Mokshas
    Mordvins
    Muromian people
    Sami (Lapps)
    (Permic)
    Besermyan
    Komi
    Komi-Permyaks
    Udmurts
    (Ugric)
    Hungarians
    Székely
    Csángó
    Magyarab
    Jász
    Kun
    Palóc
    Khanty
    Mansi

    Reply
  21. Wow Mary Jo, what a wonderful trip — I am in awe — and envy! I have a schoolfriend whose parents came from Estonia but I don’t really know much about it. That singing revolution and the amazing chain of people sounds brilliant. Am looking forward to the St Petersberg blog — that’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  22. Wow Mary Jo, what a wonderful trip — I am in awe — and envy! I have a schoolfriend whose parents came from Estonia but I don’t really know much about it. That singing revolution and the amazing chain of people sounds brilliant. Am looking forward to the St Petersberg blog — that’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  23. Wow Mary Jo, what a wonderful trip — I am in awe — and envy! I have a schoolfriend whose parents came from Estonia but I don’t really know much about it. That singing revolution and the amazing chain of people sounds brilliant. Am looking forward to the St Petersberg blog — that’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  24. Wow Mary Jo, what a wonderful trip — I am in awe — and envy! I have a schoolfriend whose parents came from Estonia but I don’t really know much about it. That singing revolution and the amazing chain of people sounds brilliant. Am looking forward to the St Petersberg blog — that’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  25. Wow Mary Jo, what a wonderful trip — I am in awe — and envy! I have a schoolfriend whose parents came from Estonia but I don’t really know much about it. That singing revolution and the amazing chain of people sounds brilliant. Am looking forward to the St Petersberg blog — that’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

    Reply
  26. Minna, I knew there were some related languages, but I had no idea there were SO MANY!
    I do have some sense of how important saunas are in Finnish culture, though I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to say much of anything. However, when the guide asked how many saunas we thought there were in the country, other people were guessing thing like 10,000. I said two million, which is much closer to the number. Thanks for telling us more about how central they are.

    Reply
  27. Minna, I knew there were some related languages, but I had no idea there were SO MANY!
    I do have some sense of how important saunas are in Finnish culture, though I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to say much of anything. However, when the guide asked how many saunas we thought there were in the country, other people were guessing thing like 10,000. I said two million, which is much closer to the number. Thanks for telling us more about how central they are.

    Reply
  28. Minna, I knew there were some related languages, but I had no idea there were SO MANY!
    I do have some sense of how important saunas are in Finnish culture, though I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to say much of anything. However, when the guide asked how many saunas we thought there were in the country, other people were guessing thing like 10,000. I said two million, which is much closer to the number. Thanks for telling us more about how central they are.

    Reply
  29. Minna, I knew there were some related languages, but I had no idea there were SO MANY!
    I do have some sense of how important saunas are in Finnish culture, though I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to say much of anything. However, when the guide asked how many saunas we thought there were in the country, other people were guessing thing like 10,000. I said two million, which is much closer to the number. Thanks for telling us more about how central they are.

    Reply
  30. Minna, I knew there were some related languages, but I had no idea there were SO MANY!
    I do have some sense of how important saunas are in Finnish culture, though I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to say much of anything. However, when the guide asked how many saunas we thought there were in the country, other people were guessing thing like 10,000. I said two million, which is much closer to the number. Thanks for telling us more about how central they are.

    Reply
  31. Anne, I was completely fascinated by the revolutionary history, which I’d known nothing about. The Mayhem Consultant is half Lithuanian, which gave a stronger sense of connection.
    Next stop–St. Petersburg!

    Reply
  32. Anne, I was completely fascinated by the revolutionary history, which I’d known nothing about. The Mayhem Consultant is half Lithuanian, which gave a stronger sense of connection.
    Next stop–St. Petersburg!

    Reply
  33. Anne, I was completely fascinated by the revolutionary history, which I’d known nothing about. The Mayhem Consultant is half Lithuanian, which gave a stronger sense of connection.
    Next stop–St. Petersburg!

    Reply
  34. Anne, I was completely fascinated by the revolutionary history, which I’d known nothing about. The Mayhem Consultant is half Lithuanian, which gave a stronger sense of connection.
    Next stop–St. Petersburg!

    Reply
  35. Anne, I was completely fascinated by the revolutionary history, which I’d known nothing about. The Mayhem Consultant is half Lithuanian, which gave a stronger sense of connection.
    Next stop–St. Petersburg!

    Reply
  36. Anne: Oh, but I HAVE been to St. Petersberg! Susanna took me there – both past and present – in “Firebird.” It’s a wonderful tour.

    Reply
  37. Anne: Oh, but I HAVE been to St. Petersberg! Susanna took me there – both past and present – in “Firebird.” It’s a wonderful tour.

    Reply
  38. Anne: Oh, but I HAVE been to St. Petersberg! Susanna took me there – both past and present – in “Firebird.” It’s a wonderful tour.

    Reply
  39. Anne: Oh, but I HAVE been to St. Petersberg! Susanna took me there – both past and present – in “Firebird.” It’s a wonderful tour.

    Reply
  40. Anne: Oh, but I HAVE been to St. Petersberg! Susanna took me there – both past and present – in “Firebird.” It’s a wonderful tour.

    Reply
  41. Just wish to add my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful tour. Looking forward to your next post. The above praise of Firebird doesn’t mean I’ve had enough virual touring of the area.

    Reply
  42. Just wish to add my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful tour. Looking forward to your next post. The above praise of Firebird doesn’t mean I’ve had enough virual touring of the area.

    Reply
  43. Just wish to add my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful tour. Looking forward to your next post. The above praise of Firebird doesn’t mean I’ve had enough virual touring of the area.

    Reply
  44. Just wish to add my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful tour. Looking forward to your next post. The above praise of Firebird doesn’t mean I’ve had enough virual touring of the area.

    Reply
  45. Just wish to add my heartfelt thanks for a wonderful tour. Looking forward to your next post. The above praise of Firebird doesn’t mean I’ve had enough virual touring of the area.

    Reply
  46. What a wonderful trip, Mary Jo. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos of Stockholm are bringing back so many wonderful memories. I spent three weeks visiting my niece and her family there in 2018 and had such a great time exploring the area through the eyes of a “local.” I think we walked the entire city. Their flat was only a few blocks from City Hall so I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours exploring that area. If you ever go back, be sure to visit the Vasa Museum. Seeing that 1620’s warship up close and personal is an incredible experience.
    I’m heading back to that part of the world soon to explore Copenhagen. (the niece and family moved there this past summer). I’m excited to add another country to my passport! 🙂

    Reply
  47. What a wonderful trip, Mary Jo. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos of Stockholm are bringing back so many wonderful memories. I spent three weeks visiting my niece and her family there in 2018 and had such a great time exploring the area through the eyes of a “local.” I think we walked the entire city. Their flat was only a few blocks from City Hall so I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours exploring that area. If you ever go back, be sure to visit the Vasa Museum. Seeing that 1620’s warship up close and personal is an incredible experience.
    I’m heading back to that part of the world soon to explore Copenhagen. (the niece and family moved there this past summer). I’m excited to add another country to my passport! 🙂

    Reply
  48. What a wonderful trip, Mary Jo. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos of Stockholm are bringing back so many wonderful memories. I spent three weeks visiting my niece and her family there in 2018 and had such a great time exploring the area through the eyes of a “local.” I think we walked the entire city. Their flat was only a few blocks from City Hall so I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours exploring that area. If you ever go back, be sure to visit the Vasa Museum. Seeing that 1620’s warship up close and personal is an incredible experience.
    I’m heading back to that part of the world soon to explore Copenhagen. (the niece and family moved there this past summer). I’m excited to add another country to my passport! 🙂

    Reply
  49. What a wonderful trip, Mary Jo. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos of Stockholm are bringing back so many wonderful memories. I spent three weeks visiting my niece and her family there in 2018 and had such a great time exploring the area through the eyes of a “local.” I think we walked the entire city. Their flat was only a few blocks from City Hall so I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours exploring that area. If you ever go back, be sure to visit the Vasa Museum. Seeing that 1620’s warship up close and personal is an incredible experience.
    I’m heading back to that part of the world soon to explore Copenhagen. (the niece and family moved there this past summer). I’m excited to add another country to my passport! 🙂

    Reply
  50. What a wonderful trip, Mary Jo. Thank you for sharing it with us. Your photos of Stockholm are bringing back so many wonderful memories. I spent three weeks visiting my niece and her family there in 2018 and had such a great time exploring the area through the eyes of a “local.” I think we walked the entire city. Their flat was only a few blocks from City Hall so I had the opportunity to enjoy many hours exploring that area. If you ever go back, be sure to visit the Vasa Museum. Seeing that 1620’s warship up close and personal is an incredible experience.
    I’m heading back to that part of the world soon to explore Copenhagen. (the niece and family moved there this past summer). I’m excited to add another country to my passport! 🙂

    Reply
  51. I know, Sue — Susanna’s Firebird and Mary Jo’s blog are only the most recent of the many books over the years that are responsible for my yen to go to St Petersberg. And a collection of letters from an English traveller in the early 19th century — now that really was intrepid tourism. And one day I WILL go there.

    Reply
  52. I know, Sue — Susanna’s Firebird and Mary Jo’s blog are only the most recent of the many books over the years that are responsible for my yen to go to St Petersberg. And a collection of letters from an English traveller in the early 19th century — now that really was intrepid tourism. And one day I WILL go there.

    Reply
  53. I know, Sue — Susanna’s Firebird and Mary Jo’s blog are only the most recent of the many books over the years that are responsible for my yen to go to St Petersberg. And a collection of letters from an English traveller in the early 19th century — now that really was intrepid tourism. And one day I WILL go there.

    Reply
  54. I know, Sue — Susanna’s Firebird and Mary Jo’s blog are only the most recent of the many books over the years that are responsible for my yen to go to St Petersberg. And a collection of letters from an English traveller in the early 19th century — now that really was intrepid tourism. And one day I WILL go there.

    Reply
  55. I know, Sue — Susanna’s Firebird and Mary Jo’s blog are only the most recent of the many books over the years that are responsible for my yen to go to St Petersberg. And a collection of letters from an English traveller in the early 19th century — now that really was intrepid tourism. And one day I WILL go there.

    Reply
  56. How wonderful that you had three whole weeks to explore the city! I know the story of the Vasa and I’ve seen pictures, but we didn’t have time to visit the museum. Maybe next time. Great that now you’ll get to go to Copenhagen, another wonderful city.

    Reply
  57. How wonderful that you had three whole weeks to explore the city! I know the story of the Vasa and I’ve seen pictures, but we didn’t have time to visit the museum. Maybe next time. Great that now you’ll get to go to Copenhagen, another wonderful city.

    Reply
  58. How wonderful that you had three whole weeks to explore the city! I know the story of the Vasa and I’ve seen pictures, but we didn’t have time to visit the museum. Maybe next time. Great that now you’ll get to go to Copenhagen, another wonderful city.

    Reply
  59. How wonderful that you had three whole weeks to explore the city! I know the story of the Vasa and I’ve seen pictures, but we didn’t have time to visit the museum. Maybe next time. Great that now you’ll get to go to Copenhagen, another wonderful city.

    Reply
  60. How wonderful that you had three whole weeks to explore the city! I know the story of the Vasa and I’ve seen pictures, but we didn’t have time to visit the museum. Maybe next time. Great that now you’ll get to go to Copenhagen, another wonderful city.

    Reply
  61. Mary Jo–It was gratifying to me that you gave so much time to your visit to Tallinn. My husband was born there and left at the age of six shortly before the Soviets retook it at the end of WW2. His father, a policeman in Tallinn, didn’t make it out, and many years later my husband learned that his father had died in Siberia. That was a tragic time in their history. I’ve had the privilege of going back there three times with my husband, the third trip,four years ago, we finally traveled with our three kids and two of our grandkids. Then, last summer (2018) we went on a cruise similar to yours, but it started and ended in Copenhagen and didn’t include any ports in Norway or Gdansk, which would have been interesting for my husband as that’s the port he landed at on his escape from Estonia as a boy!
    There’s a wonderful documentary on The Singing Revolution that I recommend to people to learn about Estonians’ (and the other Baltic countries’) strong national spirit and fight for freedom. For many years, I could tell people my husband was from Estonia, and no one had any idea where that was, but it seems to have become more popular in recent years.

    Reply
  62. Mary Jo–It was gratifying to me that you gave so much time to your visit to Tallinn. My husband was born there and left at the age of six shortly before the Soviets retook it at the end of WW2. His father, a policeman in Tallinn, didn’t make it out, and many years later my husband learned that his father had died in Siberia. That was a tragic time in their history. I’ve had the privilege of going back there three times with my husband, the third trip,four years ago, we finally traveled with our three kids and two of our grandkids. Then, last summer (2018) we went on a cruise similar to yours, but it started and ended in Copenhagen and didn’t include any ports in Norway or Gdansk, which would have been interesting for my husband as that’s the port he landed at on his escape from Estonia as a boy!
    There’s a wonderful documentary on The Singing Revolution that I recommend to people to learn about Estonians’ (and the other Baltic countries’) strong national spirit and fight for freedom. For many years, I could tell people my husband was from Estonia, and no one had any idea where that was, but it seems to have become more popular in recent years.

    Reply
  63. Mary Jo–It was gratifying to me that you gave so much time to your visit to Tallinn. My husband was born there and left at the age of six shortly before the Soviets retook it at the end of WW2. His father, a policeman in Tallinn, didn’t make it out, and many years later my husband learned that his father had died in Siberia. That was a tragic time in their history. I’ve had the privilege of going back there three times with my husband, the third trip,four years ago, we finally traveled with our three kids and two of our grandkids. Then, last summer (2018) we went on a cruise similar to yours, but it started and ended in Copenhagen and didn’t include any ports in Norway or Gdansk, which would have been interesting for my husband as that’s the port he landed at on his escape from Estonia as a boy!
    There’s a wonderful documentary on The Singing Revolution that I recommend to people to learn about Estonians’ (and the other Baltic countries’) strong national spirit and fight for freedom. For many years, I could tell people my husband was from Estonia, and no one had any idea where that was, but it seems to have become more popular in recent years.

    Reply
  64. Mary Jo–It was gratifying to me that you gave so much time to your visit to Tallinn. My husband was born there and left at the age of six shortly before the Soviets retook it at the end of WW2. His father, a policeman in Tallinn, didn’t make it out, and many years later my husband learned that his father had died in Siberia. That was a tragic time in their history. I’ve had the privilege of going back there three times with my husband, the third trip,four years ago, we finally traveled with our three kids and two of our grandkids. Then, last summer (2018) we went on a cruise similar to yours, but it started and ended in Copenhagen and didn’t include any ports in Norway or Gdansk, which would have been interesting for my husband as that’s the port he landed at on his escape from Estonia as a boy!
    There’s a wonderful documentary on The Singing Revolution that I recommend to people to learn about Estonians’ (and the other Baltic countries’) strong national spirit and fight for freedom. For many years, I could tell people my husband was from Estonia, and no one had any idea where that was, but it seems to have become more popular in recent years.

    Reply
  65. Mary Jo–It was gratifying to me that you gave so much time to your visit to Tallinn. My husband was born there and left at the age of six shortly before the Soviets retook it at the end of WW2. His father, a policeman in Tallinn, didn’t make it out, and many years later my husband learned that his father had died in Siberia. That was a tragic time in their history. I’ve had the privilege of going back there three times with my husband, the third trip,four years ago, we finally traveled with our three kids and two of our grandkids. Then, last summer (2018) we went on a cruise similar to yours, but it started and ended in Copenhagen and didn’t include any ports in Norway or Gdansk, which would have been interesting for my husband as that’s the port he landed at on his escape from Estonia as a boy!
    There’s a wonderful documentary on The Singing Revolution that I recommend to people to learn about Estonians’ (and the other Baltic countries’) strong national spirit and fight for freedom. For many years, I could tell people my husband was from Estonia, and no one had any idea where that was, but it seems to have become more popular in recent years.

    Reply
  66. Judith, even 80 years later, the horrific disruption in Eastern Europe because of WWII are heartbreaking to here about.  Your husband was lucky, but his father’s story is tragic. A friend of mine is the child of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the only members of their families who did survive, I think.  They snuck into Palestine in 1946. I was fascinated by the Singing Revolution, and the DVD that documents it is next up on my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  67. Judith, even 80 years later, the horrific disruption in Eastern Europe because of WWII are heartbreaking to here about.  Your husband was lucky, but his father’s story is tragic. A friend of mine is the child of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the only members of their families who did survive, I think.  They snuck into Palestine in 1946. I was fascinated by the Singing Revolution, and the DVD that documents it is next up on my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  68. Judith, even 80 years later, the horrific disruption in Eastern Europe because of WWII are heartbreaking to here about.  Your husband was lucky, but his father’s story is tragic. A friend of mine is the child of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the only members of their families who did survive, I think.  They snuck into Palestine in 1946. I was fascinated by the Singing Revolution, and the DVD that documents it is next up on my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  69. Judith, even 80 years later, the horrific disruption in Eastern Europe because of WWII are heartbreaking to here about.  Your husband was lucky, but his father’s story is tragic. A friend of mine is the child of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the only members of their families who did survive, I think.  They snuck into Palestine in 1946. I was fascinated by the Singing Revolution, and the DVD that documents it is next up on my Netflix queue.

    Reply
  70. Judith, even 80 years later, the horrific disruption in Eastern Europe because of WWII are heartbreaking to here about.  Your husband was lucky, but his father’s story is tragic. A friend of mine is the child of Lithuanian Holocaust survivors, the only members of their families who did survive, I think.  They snuck into Palestine in 1946. I was fascinated by the Singing Revolution, and the DVD that documents it is next up on my Netflix queue.

    Reply

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