In September, my sister Laura and I took an amazing trip that ended up with us making a sort of box around the Baltic Sea. We decided where we wanted to go over one Skype conversation that involved a lot of zooming in on Google Maps of Europe. Like the best of my vacations, it was mostly random and pre-trip prep involved only the limited amount of planning required to make things go off without a hitch.
We started out in Berlin, Germany, where Laur lives. Then we flew to Stockholm, Sweden. Then it was an overnight ferry to Riga, Latvia. And then a bus trip up the coast to Tallinn, Estonia. And then finally, we took one last ferry trip to Helsinki, Finland.
For anyone as unfamiliar with this area as we were, here’s some geographical orientation – the Baltic Sea is that hazy greyish patch in the middle:
If you’re keeping track, that’s five countries in 15 days. And counting my flight from Toronto, Canada, and a short stopover in Brussels, Belgium, I can add two countries to that list. It may seem like a lot of travelling, but the flight/ferry/bus connections were supremely easy and we felt like we had a good opportunity to see every city.
In the words of Ferris Bueller, “I highly recommend it.”
And now that I’ve already been back in Toronto and back to my real life for almost a month, I figure it’s time to put up some pictures and tell some stories. This is a reason, after all, that I named this piece of the internet “from near to far” – it’s what I always aspire to do on my precious few vacation days.
While the weather gets cold and the days get darker and we all anticipate that spiral into the despair of another long winter, I can reminisce about these beautiful cities and maybe let you in on a few of their secrets.