a0605baltics

My Trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

In May 2006, I went to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for a 10-day trip. It is amazing that, despite the relative small sizes and the proximity to each other, they are still unique and distinct in their own ways. In addition, I have always been fascinated by the turbulent recent history. Hence, it is to my delight that I visited Latvia and Lithuania for the first time.

I found Estonia to be the most beautiful out of the three countries. In Tallinn, there were plenty of unique and beautiful architecture. In the countryside, the were miles of untouched and breathtaking wilderness, with cosy villages scattered in between.

After I arrived in Riga in Latvia, I found the streets very polluted, and the gale force winds blew up heaps of dust as if there was a sandstorm in the middle of Sahara. Stench of urine could be smelt almost everywhere (particularly outside Stockmann). The architecture looked dismal compared to Tallinn. In addition, Almost every restaurant I went to tried to cheat me money by giving me a more expensive menu compared to the one advertised at the entrance. The result was that I almost wanted to leave before I was scheduled to leave. After recovering from the initial shock, and discovered that watching films in the cinemas was cheap, I decided to stay and discover the rest of Riga. Fortunately, the old city of Riga was big and there were plenty of interesting museums to keep me occupied.

Having seen visually attractive photos of the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, I decided to go there on a day trip. Although it definitely was an interesting and unusual sight, I could not hide my disappointment. I thought that there would be old crosses to commemorate the deportation of Lithuanian nationals to Siberia, and other crosses planted during the Soviet times. However, most of the crosses were planted within these 5 years by tourists, with only a handful planted in the before 1995 by the locals. I felt that the Hill of Crosses have come to exist just for the sake of existing to attract tourist. It was not worth the 8 hours I spent on the bus!

Estonia
Escaping from the river...
...and the resultant chaos
Taking an outdoor bath after being in full protective gear for too long
I would not mind living in this house surrounded by picturesque scenery
Rural beauty
The wooden structure is for shelter from rain, so people don;t need umbrellas. In the background there is a church with a slanting tower
Whitewashed churches with a metallic tower seem to be the prevalent architectural style in Estonia
Lying in the sun
Standing on one of the few hills in the country...
...with a slide for you to ski downwards
A bridge in the castle grounds that is shaped like a castle
A haphazardly coloured house
A slanting building that refuses to collapse
A primitive lifestyle of hunting...
and collecting logs for energy can sometimes be found in rural areas
A graffiti that stood the test of time...it is dated 30 May 1928!!
Latvia
Ramnants of the Soviet occupation
A car crashed into a billboard
A partially torn down building, probably there to serve as some kind of monument
Stunning architecture of the building of the French embassy
More architecture
The tower of the Riga Cathedral
A typical corner of the old City of Riga
A very patriotic building
Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses near Siauliai
The entrance to a supposed billard centre that is nowhere to be found
United Kingdom
A fence knitted with real growing tree branches!

Created: 29 June 2006
Last updated: 14 February 2012