When we first got married we had racked up an impressive number of countries that we had visited, both together and separately, and knew that we wouldn’t let marriage, or children, slow that down.
Well, the children slowed it down a little, but not as much as we could have allowed it to. But having a family and wanting to show them the world meant reevaluating destinations we had already visited and deciding whether they were worthy of a revisit, only this time with little ones in tow.
A few trips kept popping to the top of the list, but one in particular always came to mind – our trip to the Baltic. Specifically Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This trip was intended as a follow up ‘honeymoon’ as our first honeymoon, to Morocco, was shorter than we would have liked, out of necessity of needing to get back to silly things like jobs and grad school. As we were planning it I realized I knew very little of the cities we were heading to, and knew even less what to expect once we got there.
12 days later we headed home to London, satiated with a love of all things Baltic, from the history to the people to the culture. And while we thoroughly enjoyed the capital cities of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, it was some of the sites we saw off the beaten path that left the greatest impression.
The first, which I have blogged about before, was the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, about 3 hours from Vilnius. The sheer amount of crosses was mind blowing, and the history behind it even more so. There is a distinct air of peace to the area, and even to the most non-religious there is an ethereal feeling when standing there.
In Estonia we made a stop in Parnu, a cute beach town less than 2 hours from the cruise port of Tallinn. This popular beach destination for locals is less touristy than the capital, but has the same distinct feel to it, and is a great way to see more of Estonia.
As we drove through Latvia we drove through smaller towns, soaking in the culture of a country that remains, relatively speaking compared to much of Europe, fairly untouched. It reminded us that some of the best trips we take are the ones where we veer off the touristy roads and onto ones that may not hold well known landmarks but can still create incredible memories.
This doesn’t mean we would go back and skip Tallinn, Riga or Vilnius, they are cities definitely worth a second exploration, to discover the very things that made us fall in love with them the first time.
Where have you been that you would love to show to your children?
Check back to see what else we will have on our A to Z Challenge!