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View Diary: Baltic Photo Travelogue Part 1 - Amsterdam (Photo heavy) (52 comments)

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  •  Tallinn was an unexpected surprise (8+ / 0-)

    Our group agreed among ourselves that it was a jewel waiting to be seen. I also overheard other people saying much the same thing. We enjoyed it a lot.

    Marry the one you love, not the one a bigot says you're allowed to love.

    by lotac on Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 07:42:56 PM PDT

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    •  Tell me more - is there basic wheelchair access? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have roots somewhere in Eastern Europe (distant - my only info is incomplete records of the holocaust, as once they came over to North America, probably via Canada, they made the church mice look like Donald Trump).  I often travel alone but would never travel to "old world" Europe alone, so occasional steps would be a given, but I think that getting help down each curb merely to cross a street would be the end of me.  We looked at going to Prague because, like you, a family work situation means we have tons of airline miles and, in our case, Starwood hotel points to spend - we travel way, way above what our "station" in life would suggest.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 07:22:24 PM PDT

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    •  Tallinn is truly a gem. (3+ / 0-)
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      lotac, shortgirl, barkingcat

      The old town is one of the prettiest in all of Europe, with much of its medieval wall still intact.  Beautifully cobbled, the streets are a delight to walk along.  Quite a bit is pedestrian-only, too, as I recall.  We were there only a couple years after the fall of the Soviet Union and their near-complete economic collapse that took place afterward. Things were very, very tough, but it was clear that they were climbing out of the pit, which pleases me greatly.  

      To give you some idea of just how badly off they had been, this little anecdote should put it in context.  We were staying in a room in an apartment of a young Estonian woman -- can't quite characterize it as a b&b -- who was incredibly helpful and kind to us.  Since we had been there for several days, we thought we would take her out to dinner as a thank you.  We went to a lovely restaurant in the middle of the old town, which had a bit of style, but was still quite reasonably priced to us (The highest priced item might have been $6.50).  She seemed clearly impressed...  Anyway, I don't remember what she ordered, but when it came, it had a thin slice of orange as a garnish.  All very hum-drum, right?  Well, it was until we saw her eat the whole thing, peeling and all!  Maybe I shouldn't have, but I had to ask why.  She told us that after the economic crash no one had any money to speak of at all.  She went on to say that if it hadn't been for her mother, who lived on a small farm and who had a large vegetable garden, she would have been scarcely able to survive.  All she ate for the first two winters were eggs, potatoes and carrots from that garden -- more in the summer, of course.  She went on to say that she could no longer imagine not eating everything that was set before her because who knew what migh happen later...  

      -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

      by GulfExpat on Tue Aug 20, 2013 at 11:40:19 PM PDT

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