North America, Europe · 15 Days · 144 Moments · August 2016

The Vasilius Family's Baltic Adventure

25 August 2016

Joe Biden's security detail and official car

24 August 2016

Welcome to Sunny Stockholm!
Changing of the Guards Swedish Royal Palace

22 August 2016

Danish Royal palace
Danish Royal Stables

21 August 2016

Stephanie and I actually rode these swings at the Tivoli Gardens and it was super high, windy and scary!!
Our hotel in Copenhagen, called Nimb, gives free access to the famous Tivoli Gardens. This park was inspiration for Disneyland!
European Ironman in Copenhagen last Sunday
New harbor former home of Hans Christian Anderson
Danish open face sandwiches
Canal tour in Copenhagen
Copenhagen from the round tower

20 August 2016

Famous smoked herring on dark rye with egg poured over it, an island specialty😋
Round church on Bornholm
Alex with our samplers
Brew pub on Bornholm
Lunch with our cruise directors Jen and Kathy
Bornholm, Denmark; an island in the Baltic
Hello Denmark!
Last day Rose' On board for lunch in Denmark

19 August 2016

Gadansk, Poland
August 1980, the occupation of the shipyard. These are their 21 demands that were posted outside the shipyard. A lot of the demands regard freedom of speech as well as certain benefits for workers. It took two weeks to come to an agreement between the workers and government. Solitary was finally made legal in for the first time since World War II.
The iron curtain, also called the Soviet sphere.
A polish prison cell where people were sent if they opposed the soviet regime. Superficially, there was lots of propaganda to show that Poland and Russia were good friends, the reality was much different.
Monument to the shipyard workers who lost their lives during the communist era in Poland. The anchors symbolize the hope of becoming free, the shipyard strikes were on the whole not successful. The crosses coming up through the stone symbolize a break through hypocrisy of the communist regime.
The solidarity museum in Gdanska, Poland.

18 August 2016

Goodbye Lithuania!
Biking through the forest, Curonian Spit
Biking along the Curonian Spit on a really rainy day, not too many Lithuanians enjoying the beach today!
Quite the entrepreneur! Illy coffee and espresso maker out the back of his smart car at the ferry dock!
Back again in Lithuania! Klaipeda, soggy day
Arrival in Klaipeda, Lithuania

17 August 2016

Chuck and Alex doing their best Soviet faces.
The national Latvian Library, designed by a Latvian-American, symbolizing a mountain.
Art Nouveau in Riga, Latvia.
Boat cruise down the central canal that used to be a medieval most.

16 August 2016

Traditional Latvian folk instruments
Latvian folk dancers
The market in Riga, Latvia
Gailenes mushrooms and blue berries. These mushrooms are quite hearty and resistant to bugs and worms.
Central market in Riga, Latvia
Market in Riga is in old Zeppelin hangers
These are sauna brooms- there is a big sauna culture in Latvia. You would soak the leaves and then use them as a fan and the aroma is very good.
Arrived in Riga, Latvia

15 August 2016

A dance group named "Heather"
Special Estonian smoked flat fish
Musical entertainment at our farmhouse lunch
Walk to the bottom of the Panga Cliffs
Panga Cliffs, Saaremaa
Island of Saaremaa, Estonia
Estonian countryside
Kaali meteorite crater

14 August 2016

First sunset at sea
Safety check!
Departure rainbow🌈
Boarding the Orion National Geographic Baltic Sea Cruise
Bon Voyage!
Tea time with Stephanie in Estonia❤️
A sweet treat in the afternoon.
One of the few Catholic Churches in Tallinn.
The old KGB headquarters
Nice clarinet, too bad it is not put together properly 😜
The very latest Estonian style, strait out of the 14th century!
These are very typical medieval instruments played across Europe.
This is a medieval Swedish instrument called a Key Harp. It is tuned like a guitar, bowed like a violin, and played like a piano with the keys
A view of the lower town leading to the harbor.
A view from the upper town. There is a rule that nothing can be built higher in Tallinn than the church tower.
This is a former Catholic Church that was changed to Lutheran after the reformation. The coats of arms are members Of the congregation that date back to the 14th century.
The Estonian parliament.
This is the Parliament House, dates to the 14tj century, the the more modern part added in 1920. The Estonian flag was raised in 1918 when they first declared independence. The flag represents: blue- the sky black- the suffering of Estonian people white- the fight for freedom.
The Russian Orthodox Church, Tallinn, Estonia.
Rosie, our wonderful guide.
This is the Danish square where much of the original wall remains. Tallinn means 'little Danish town'.
The stairs to the upper town in Tallinn where the more affluent people live and parliament houses are.
Estonia had a very long history but a relatively short independent history. It has only been independent since 1991(25 years). It has a very valuable location due to its port on the Baltic Sea in Tallinn
This is Saint Nicolas church in the lower town of Tallinn. It is no longer a practicing church but an art museum. Estonia is primarily Lutheran as opposed to Lithuania which is 85% Catholic. This is because they were primarily ruled by the Germans and Sweds before soviet occupation in the 1900s.

13 August 2016

Today we flew from Vilnius, Lithuania to Tallinn, Estonia with a connection in Riga, Latvia.
Always find my Buffalo style chicken wings!
The castle at Traku, 30 minutes outside of Vilnius in beautiful lake county.

12 August 2016

And oh the food! It is so amazing! Meat and potatoes with sour cream and butter, oh my!
When we walked by the President's house the second time, the flag on the top of the building was up-this means she was home.
The city gate, mural was uncovered after the soviet occupation covered it up.
The Virgin Mary painting. The little silver pieces represent prayers that have been answered and a donation was made as thanks.
The city gate
This is the house that held the first parliament in 1918 after Lithuania declared its independence. However, since 1940 it had been the home of the philharmonic. 🎼
This is the balcony from where Lithuania's independence was declared in 1918
Vilnius University
The Lithuanian Predident's, Dalia Grybauskaite, home and office. She is the first female president and the first president to be elected for two terms.
St. Casimire(late 1400s), the patron saint of Lithuania. He was a part of the cult of the Virgin Mary and one of his symbols is a white Lilly. He died from tuberculosis at the age of 26. Before he died, the healers said he should sleep with a servant to cure his disease. He refused, wishing to stay pure.
The main cathedral of Vilnius( the city of low flying Angels) this small sanctuary remains from the 1500s.
The castle of Gedimimas
Tryu Kryziy kalnas- the hill of three crosses (symbol of Vilnius)
Vyts- Lithuanian's national coat of arms. It is a national symbol and was banned during the Soviet era.
Old town Vilnus. Home of 40 churches, both Christian and pagan.
This marks the beginning of the Guinness book of world record longest human chain. This was the anniversary of the secret agreement to Anex the Baltic states by Russia
Lithuania's tv tower. When they were the first to separate from the Soviet Union, the Soviets took over the major buildings in town. Lithuanians mad a human chain around the tower to prevent the Soviets from taking this building. The Soviets did not care and bulldozed those people to get through, killing 14 people.
This is an old Soviet gym that has been abandoned. It was not built well do it would cost a bunch to heat in the winter. It also sits on top of a Jewish cemetery, a monument was built just to the right to mark the spot by the Jewish community to mark the spot.
The outlines of the the building is two medieval churches during the time of the first king when Lithuania converted to Christianity for 10 years. They then retuned to being pagans for the next 100 years before finally conveying to Christianity. The cobble stone road is the oldest preserved in Lithuania, 700 years old!
The Medieval castle where the first king lived. It sits on top of a natural hill carved by ancient glaciers.
Original defense wall from 14th century, in the soviet era there was not enough money to fix the wall properly (see the poorly constructed red brick) so it was updated after the Soviets left the country.
This monument represents the first and only King of Lithuania, Mindaugas. He came to power in 1253
Pulling a Dan Pitnell... Early workout! 💪🏼
Good Morning Vilnius! 6 hot air balloons floating by!

11 August 2016

The spa/pool area in the Kempinski cathedral square hotel, so nice after a long day of walking and seeing the sights.
Of course Dad found a record store in Vilnius!
Lithuanians in Vilnius, Lithuania!
This an old Soviet plane called an Aeoflot, Dad was super excited to see it!
Arrived in Warsaw, now on to Vilnius. We were quite confused at first when looking for our flight, in Poland it is spelled Wilno. 🤔
Good morning beautiful!
Black currant liquor, a Polish tradition!

10 August 2016

Mama and Dad 😍
Mini quiche!
Champagne ✅ Sister✅ Best flight ever ✅ #dreamliner
Polish airlines is not too shabby 🙌🏼
Hanging in the lounge with our girls before our flight on LOT the (Polish National airlines, Chuck says they have new planes in case you are wondering 😜) to Warsaw, then on to Vilnius, Lithuania!
Alex: Enjoying the perks of the lounge #5hourlayover
Alex: A few of my favorite things #peaches #thirtyone #lularoe, away I go on my European adventure!
Early arrival to Chicago and my bag made it #bigbag
Mom, dad, and I are on the way to the airport in Denver!
Arrived at ROC airport, getting ready to meet the rest of the family in Chicago!