We visit the farthest corner of Europe
By Irene Horst
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania---how wonderful to actually set foot on the Baltic lands-----way up in the most northeastern tip of Europe! The sun shines brightly at 11:30 pm, dusk follows and lasts until about 3:30am, when the sun returns once again. This is known as the ”white nights”. Much of the area still rings with medieval history. The cobblestone streets and large city squares put you back into the middle ages. The 13th and 14th century buildings look like backdrops taken from a geography book. It was fun to see the names on some of the buildings referring to the Tradesmen’s Societies that were in existence before the Industrial Revolution came to Europe. Close your eyes and you are back in time!
How fortunate we were to travel along the countryside of each of the three countries observing their rich farm lands, waterfalls, and seacoast towns. We learned about the languages of each of the lands; all very different, changing quickly as wecrossed the borders. We met with people in each land, learning about their way of life. How unbelievable it was to accept the fact that each country found independence only in 1991! Again it was history come to life. But this time we heard it first hand from the folks who lived through occupation, poverty and suffering. The term “Siberia” was repeated many times. Everything became terribly real through conversations, panel discussions and visits to their homes. These beautiful people experienced so much in their fight for freedom, freedom we take for granted here in the US.
The castles, museums, and especially the city squares which were constantly populated with strolling families, business folk on breaks, and interested tourists were absolutely delightful. July was a right time to go---the sun never stopped shining, literally and figuratively.FIC in Action