5 Things I Missed on my Baltic Adventure This Time Around

This winter I visited the Baltics, as well as Warsaw and Berlin on my way home from Lapland. Giving myself only two weeks to travel from Rovaniemi all the way back to the UK meant I didn't quite make it to all the sites I wanted to see. Here is the top 5 things I want to go back and see. 


My favourite street view in Tallinn


PIRITA, ESTONIA

It was the wrong time of year to visit Tallinn's largest beach, but it is definitely a beach I want to visit some day, with its gorgeous white sands. During the summer it plays host to a small market and a beach bar. You can get here by any buses that go to the city centre. On the Pirita Beach Road you can stop at the Maarjamäe Memorial. Originally just a pointed obelisk erected in the 1960's to commemorate the Russians who died in 1918. The concrete and iron figures were added later as Tallinn's way of ridding itself of its Soviet past. 



Soviet War Memorial, Marjamäe  ,Tallinn, Estonia. May 1996
Soviet War Memorial via Sludge G, Flickr on Creative Commons
TOBOGGANING, LATVIA

An incredibly popular trip offered by the hostel I stayed in. After reading their website I was sure that in the couple of days I was there I would be able to get on a trip, alas I was wrong! Arriving late the night before and missing the chance to add my name to the list, I missed going tobogganing. I was gutted and when I eventually return, I will make sure my name goes on that list. 

TRAKAI, LITHUANIA

The 14th century island castle on Lake Galvé in Trakai is often visited by visitors from Vilnius. The castle itself was built in three phases, but was left to ruin after the battle of Grunwald. It was of great importance to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as the castle held great strategic importance. Eventually it was reconstructed in the 19th century, again in several attempts as the project got put on the back burner as the World Wars raged through. 
Trakai Castle
Trakai Castle by Christophe Goessen, Flickr via Creative Commons

HILL OF CROSSES, LITHUANIA

Who knew that the Hill of Crosses was going to be easier to visit from Riga than from Vilnius? Not me, that's for sure, and when I realised this, I realised I wasn't going to make it to this eerie hill, having already left Riga behind. Said to be home to over 100,000 crosses, the hill has become a site of pilgrimage, even John Paul II has visited the hill in Lithuania. The first crosses were said to have been erected by the next of kin of the rebels that fell in the 1831 rebellion
Hill of Crosses Panorama
Hill of Crosses, Lithuania via Eden, Janine & Jim, Flickr, on Creative Commons

NEON MUSEUM, WARSAW

This was one of the main reasons I visited Warsaw, and yet I did not get here. Reasons? Many, it was the end of my trip, I was sick, and incredibly tired to boot, and the museum was the opposite side of the city to me. I managed a walking tour the first day and retired to my bed after consuming tons of Pierogi and winter elixir that the lovely Polish woman told me would make me feel better. The Neon Museum is home to hundreds of different Neon signs collected after the cold war, it's travelled as an exhibition around Europe, too!



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