Following the Amber Way – From the Baltic Sea to Ancient Rome

One of only six examples of a lizard trapped in amber, this specimen can be seen at the Amber Gallery and Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania

The fuzzy silhouette within the long rod of amber seemed familiar, yet I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing. I turned my head sideways and squinted to better focus. With a start, I realized I was looking at the complete body of a lizard that had been trapped in amber. The specimen at the … Read more

Vegetarian Heaven in the Baltics

Beet seitan with sweet potato and celeriac puree vegetables and red wine beetroot sauce at Vegan Restoran V in Tallinn, Estonia

I knew very little about the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania when I decided to visit. I was aware that the Baltic States enjoy long hours of daylight in the summer months and endure dark, despair-inducing winter months with barely fours hours of light per day. I knew that each of the countries … Read more

PHOTO: Town Hall Square in Riga, Latvia

Town Hall Square with House of the Blackheads in Riga, Latvia. Saint Peter's Church soars in the background.

Town Hall Square in Riga, Latvia. The historic House of Blackheads Guild Hall, originally built in 1334 to host events of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, dominates the square. Members of the brotherhood were unmarried merchants and craftsmen, mostly of German descent, who were engaged in trade for the powerful Hanseatic League. The guild house … Read more

Holding Hands, the Baltic Way

Closeup of the Baltic Way tile in Riga, Latvia, which is prominently displayed in front of Freedom Monument

Holding hands. It’s a simple act that usually signifies love, friendship, or caring. But on August 23, 1989, the simple act of holding hands freed six million people in the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. On that fateful day in 1989, more than two million people joined hands in a human chain that … Read more

PHOTO: Colorful Street in the Historic Old Town of Riga, Latvia

Colorful street in the historic Old Town of Riga, Latvia

The historic center of Riga, Latvia, is composed of three distinct districts: the Old Town of Riga, the 19th century boulevards and greensward along the City Canal, and the adjacent residential area that is home to an incredible collection of 18th and 19th century wooden homes. These combined urban areas were awarded UNESCO World Heritage … Read more