But home now. So. This has been the longest I've stepped away. Unintentional, but I'm back, settling in from a crazy few months that included numerous out-of-state jaunts for family events, several visits from faraway friends/family and a long-planned trip.
I went to Latvia!
I soaked in the incredible and varied city scenes in Riga.
I sampled as many Latvian and Russian dishes as I could and took full advantage of the opportunity to indulge in the cafe and beer garden culture of late summer in eastern Europe.
I lingered over gorgeous Latvian mittens at craft fairs, street stalls and shops at every turn. (More about these in a separate post.)
I strolled in the Baltic Sea.
The beach at Jurmala with Ms.Ferreting Out the Fun, aka Heather, my DIL
I went to Finland!
I spent a day in Helsinki, a smaller than expected but beautiful port city.
I ate lots and lots of licorice. Who knew that licorice is so popular in Finland, especially the 'salty' kind, salmiakki? An afternoon stop included two kinds of licorice ice cream on the menu, one vanilla dotted with licorice, the other, salty version, resembling cement. Looks can be deceiving ~ delicious!
I spent a day out on Suomenlinna, an island fortress a short ferry ride from Helsinki, so important to Finland's defense through the ages.
A small population still lives on the island in distinctive, charming cottages.
Some views reminded me of my childhood in Maine.
We brought picnic food and lunched on reindeer, sea buckthorn jam, fresh bread and my new summer favorite, pear cider.
And then I went to Estonia.
I'll be honest. I knew little about Estonia before we made the two-hour ferry trip across the Baltic from Helsinki. From a distance, Tallinn looked like a fairytale.
Up close it did, too.
Most of the buildings in Tallinn's Old Town date to the 13th-16th centuries. On our last night there, we took a stroll around the interior of the city walls. It felt like a Disney set.
After two wonderful, late summer weeks in a location that was not on my radar until recently, I came home, unpacked my suitcases and put my feet up. Then I booked a flight and went back to Latvia!
Really. I went back to Latvia.
For two more weeks in October. But that's another post. With mittens. Don't forget the mittens.