when we talked about how we wanted to spend ian’s two and a half months off work this summer, we decided we should make some serious progress on ian’s wish to visit every country in europe. truth be told, i think this ambition is a little silly, but this kind of thing is totally ian’s schtick, and i’m certainly happy to be along for the ride as he counts countries! we checked off norway in june and then towards the end of his time off we packed in lithuania, latvia, estonia and san marino.
we did the baltic states by road trip, starting in vilnius and ending in tallinn. we had a great time exploring this beautiful part of the world together as a family, and learning more about the history of the region. we were thoroughly charmed by the old towns in all three of the capital cities (vilnius, riga and tallinn) and loved seeing some countryside in between.
first up was lithuania! we explored the colourful streets of vilnius, popping into incredible churches every so often and climbing to the top of two different towers to take in fabulous views. the next morning we headed towards latvia and stopped at trakai castle on the way, which was really really cool!
^^ moses loved ringing some old bells in the national cathedral bell tower … and when we came back out into the plaza there was a bubble man … yay!! ^^
^^ the view of vilnius looking one direction… ^^
^^ and the other! ^^
^^ family selfie with gabriel’s hair – he was snoozing in the carrier! ^^
^^ we learned about the baltic way – when two million people joined hands to create a human chain – in a peaceful demonstration of hope for independence from the solviet union – spanning over four hundred miles from vilnius to tallinn in 1989. tears pooled in my eyes as i looked at pictures of this remarkable event when humans came together in such an amazing way. ^^
^^ the most vibrantly colourful church interior i’ve ever seen!! ^^
^^ can you spot ian, with sleeping moses in the buggy, in this photo?! ^^
^^ a winner family picture – one kid totally conked out sleeping and the other with food hanging out of his mouth … haha! ^^
we happened upon this street performer at the end of the day, and he was absolutely the best street performer i’ve ever encountered. moses got to be his special assistant for a few tricks and that just about made our little boy’s life! after, mo joined the crowd and laughed his head off at all the magician’s tricks. and he got two balloon animals – an elephant and a giraffe, his favourites!
look at mo throwing his head back in peels of laughter in these two photos:
^^ some other great street performers, and a playground stop! ^^
these two pictures at the super cool island castle of trakai beg the question: which is better, a photo with everyone looking at the camera and smiling or a photo that actually shows off the amazing background?! ha!
it was great fun to explore this 14th century castle!
^^ moses just about died when we walked into this room. that animal-obsessed boy was thrilled. ^^
on to latvia…!
I can’t wait to read about San Marino-my family is taking a day trip there next summer!
I’ve been waiting for you to visit the Baltics! I served my mission in Latvia and think it’s such a wonderful place. We went back a couple of years ago and it was even better than I remembered.