I’m back in Baltimore at the moment, but I spent an enjoyable two weeks scurrying around Scandinavia and bounding through the Baltics.
In Helsinki, Finland, we went to prison (our hotel was a prison until the early 2000s), visited Uspenski and Helsinki Cathedrals, did Senate Square, and took in a world-class cello concert with David Geringas and the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra at Temppeliaukio Church or “Church of the Rock” (literally built out of solid rock).
In Stockholm, Sweden, we spent a good amount of time in Gamla Stan, or old town, and paid visits to the monarchy at the Royal Palace and Drottingholm Palace. The art museums and cultural museums in Stockholm were wonderful, but the most unusual and memorable museum was the Vasa Museet—housing the 17th century wooden warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 (before ever getting to sea). After more than 300 years underwater, the ship was salvaged and has become one of Stockholm’s most popular destinations.
We began and ended our own voyage in Tallinn, Estonia. The oldest capitol city in Northern Europe, Tallinn boasts one of the most preserved old towns in the world, with stone walls and passages and towers everywhere the eye can see. The city dates back to 1154, and it reminded me a little of Prague. There are plenty of museums and sights to see in Tallinn, but the nice thing about the place is that outside the few hours each afternoon that the tour ships are there, it still has the look and feel of an old medieval town, and everywhere you turn there is a picturesque view.
I hope to write about our travels in Estonia, Finland, and Sweden in the near future. In the meantime, read about another eastern European city in my travel story “Vodka in the Sun.” This serialized visit to St. Petersburg (as well as Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod) was published in Coloquio. The story was originally published in Travel Insights.
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Eric D. Goodman, Books Correspondent
Eric's column, Lit Bit, is published regularly to Gather Essentials: Books. Featuring bits on writing, writers, books, and literature, Lit Bit will fulfill your literary longings.
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As a full time writer and editor, his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, San Francisco Book Review,Writers Weekly, Barrelhouse, Potomac Review, Sacramento Book Review, The Arabesques Review, The Pedestal Magazine, The Potomac, JMWW, Freshly Squeezed, Scribble, Slow Trains, Barrelhouse, Whatever Literary Journal, Smile Hon You’re In Baltimore, Read Street, On Stage Magazine, Four-Cornered Universe, To Be Read Aloud, Neck of My Guitar, Travel Insights, Coloquio, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire, and New Lines from the Old Line State: An Anthology of Maryland Writers.
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