What to do in the Baltics
While I expect to do my fair share of sight-seeing, wandering, eating, drinking, and seeing the beautiful Baltic cities of Riga and Vilnius, I started looking for unique tourist opportunities a few weeks ago - one for each city. I’ll be running a marathon in Riga, as mentioned a dozen other times, and I’ve already looked into a spa/sauna for my post-race activities, so that leaves me with a full day unplanned. What to do, what to do?
I came across this guided Soviet photo tour that I think will be really interesting and will yield some unique souvenirs that I will always remember for the experience. It is a private tour and I booked it at last year’s rates so I feel like I got a steal. I enjoy photography and I think it will give me a unique perspective to learn from a photographer who lives in Riga, to get off the beaten path, and to talk to her for the two hours of the tour about the city, etc.
The second unique experience I’ve booked is in Vilnius. I already mentioned that I’m going to see Postmodern Jukebox and I’m very excited about that. However, I was looking for a way to see the city all at once, and from a unique perspective, so I’ve booked a hot air balloon tour of Vilinus! To be perfectly honest, this one is a little scary for me. Heights do not scare me, but the thought of falling does (and I’m an aerialist, go figure). I’m not doing a private flight because I think this will be a fun way to meet others and take my mind off of the fact that I find the whole experience a little scary and a private one is a lot more expensive.
I don’t have a unique Warsaw experience planned yet, but my time there is short. I’ll be happy if I make it to any two of the following: the Poster Museum (I hope it reopens by May!), the Chopin Museum, the Warsaw Rising Museum (warning: that website makes me a little crazy because it is so busy), the Copernicus Science Center, or the Palace of Culture and Science. I definitely want to visit the Jewish Cemetery (website is currently only in Polish), since it is one of the largest in Europe. I plan to take my time relaxing and enjoying some Polish food. Most people I’ve spoken to have told me Krakow is the place to go in Poland but that will have to be saved for another trip. :)
I don’t have major plans for Paris or Amsterdam other than hang out with friends in Paris and eat. In Amsterdam I must book my ticket to visit the Van Gogh museum, I have nearly all day to visit it since I’ve booked a Thalys ticket to leave at 3:15 pm. I’m very much looking forward to a relaxed visit there. Still undecided on whether I’m going to try the local, ahem, delights, shall we say, in Amsterdam. I have no interest in it at home but my travel motto is usually “try all of the things.” So who knows? The last thing I need to do is decide how I am spending my long layover in Reykjavik: at the Blue Lagoon or in the city? I’m leaning towards relaxing.