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Articles Categorized Travel


One of the interesting aspects of travel is that often what you think is true turns out to be slightly different. The complex I’d always thought of as Catherine’s Summer Palace never had that name. Officially the structure was called the Great Palace of Tsarskoye Selo until 1910, after which it was called simply The


Peter the Great became the first of the Romanov tzars in 1682. Standing at six feet, seven inches tall he was an imposing figure. Today his legacy still dominates St. Petersburg, the city he founded on the banks of the Neva River as his Window to the West. So, it seems fitting to begin our

From Gottland to Stockholm

Once a major trading center in the Hanseatic League, VISBY on the ISLAND of GOTTLAND is a charming glimpse into the past, said to be the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia. The 13th century walls are the strongest and most extensive in Scandinavia. At the opposite extreme, is Gallows Hill, probably built in the

Karlskrona, Sweden — A Step Back in Time

Once upon a time in the 17th century, Sweden took direct control of the Baltic region and emerged as a Great Power. In 1680 Charles IX decided to relocate the Royal Swedish Navy from Stockholm to Trossö Island, one of thirty islands in the Blekinge archipelago. The new city was called Karlskrona – In 1711,


Palanga is on the shore of the Baltic Sea and the busiest summer resort in Lithuania. In addition to seaside activities, Palanga is famous for its Botanical Garden and the Amber Museum located within a Neo-Renaissance palace museum completed in 1897. The garden covers just over 247 acres with forests of pine and fir trees,


Like other Baltic States, Latvia first appeared on European maps after World War I when Russia relinquished several nations. During World War II, the Soviet Union held Latvia until the Germans took over. After the war, Latvia again fell under Soviet control, finally gaining her independence in 1991. Since that time, Riga has become a

Tallinn, Estonia — “Postively Surprising”

We don’t hear much about the Baltic States, so I thought it might be useful to look at a map before visiting Tallinn, Estonia. The states on this map are Finland, The Russian Federation, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania spent much of their history dominated by regional powers, primarily Russia and

A Day in Helsinki

  Last week I held an impromptu photo contest to guess where I took two pictures. Alas, no one tried to guess, but today I’ll still give you the answers. The first photo, shown at left, is indeed tricky. It’s the ceiling of Temppeliaukio Church, also known as the Rock Church, in Helsinki, Finland. Today’s

Summer Vacation on the Baltic Sea

During the past few weeks, my newsletters and blog posts have been less meticulous than usual. One blog post turned up twice with different titles. Blog announcements on social media didn’t turn up on their usual schedule, and normal postings didn’t happen. All fell victims to . . . summer vacation. It was a bucket


Above the earth in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. What could be more magical? No stress. No sense of routine. Heightened senses in an unfamiliar reality. It’s a perfect vacation activity, but not something you can do on a four day break from work. Vacation travel raises suspicions. Once upon a time, the average