Visiting Liepaja: a Wannabe Beach Resort Stuck Between Soviet and Western Times

Having been one of the most important military ports in the world where Soviets had stationed a massive fleet 3 times the size the what nowadays  Fleet in Brittan, Liepaja is trying to detach itself from its military past and embrace a more baltic beach resort style such as Palanga, Parnu or Jurmala. But somehow, its struggling to get there. There is a definite feel of industrial military vibe all over which, to be honest, is not the most appealing… A Beach in the middle of a Soviet Past Coming from Palanga where I had spent a few amazing days, Liepaja had a hard task of impressing me after such a nice time on the Lithuanian coast. And as soon as I arrived I knew it wouldn’t quite be the same experience. First, Latvia has a much more Russian population, counting for about 39% of the country. But […]

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Crashing on the Lithuanian Coast in Palanga

Where else to spend a few days in the region during the peak tourist season of mid-July on the Baltic Sea? Palanga is known around the Baltic Countries to be one of the most festive and energetic Beach Resort of the three. And I had a few days to explore it thoroughly under the northern european sun! The Go-To Holiday destination for all Lithuanians After being in Klaipeda for a few days (and loving it), I was looking forward to see why everybody was telling me that nobody stays in town in the summer and go straight to Palanga. Even the Avis Car Rental had “reduced hours” to serve more time in Palanga. As soon as I arrived I understood. It was jammed packed of people enjoying its lively atmosphere and it looked much better than I expected. I imagined just another baltic coast resort, something […]

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The Insane Experience of Visiting a Soviet Era Nuclear Missile Silo in Lithuania

Lost in the forests of the Zemaitija National Park in Western Lithuania, a Soviet underground missile base was found after the fall of the Soviet Union. It used to house 22 meter long R12 Rockets with 3-meter nuclear warheads, ready to strike pretty much any target in Europe. This is the location where the missiles that departed to Cuba during the 1962 Cuban crisis were stored, and just the idea of being there to witness such a historic place was exciting to me! I had to go see it for myself. A dark piece of history of the 20th century After visiting Chernobyl 2 years back and loving the experience, I knew I had an interest for such things. Where else can you visit an abandoned nuclear missile silo that played an important role in world politics in the 20th century. So while in Klaipeda […]

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Visiting the Mouth of the Curonian Spit in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Set on a small stretch of coast on the Lithuanian Baltic coast, Klaipeda is truely set in an amazing location. The city is set directly on the Curonian spit which is a UNESCO protected area for its unique natural wonders. With a nice German flavor, this once important Prussian city is now Lithuania’s third largest city, yet keeping a distinctive town summer holiday  feel. Its fame is only starting as cruise large cruise ships have included the Klaipeda onto their Northern Europe route along with Tallinn, Helsinki and Stocklholm. Visiting Klaipeda Klaipeda was actually called Memel in German times before it was renamed Klaipeda by the Lithuanians. The city was a nice surprise for me, as I didn’t expect such a beautiful little town since I hadn’t heard much from it in the past. It was peak summer season when I visited, but nevertheless, I […]

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Kaliningrad in Russia – In the Shadow of Konigsberg

Once a very important city in the Prussian empire and now an integral part of Russia, this little enclave to the baltic sea hold its share of history. Its strategic location between the Curonian spit was seen by several empires to be a must keep area, which explains why it is awkwardly separated from the Russian Mainland. A lot of Kaliningrad was lost during world war 2, which is sad because It was once considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Even St-Petersburg is said to be built on the bases of Kaliningrad. The Missing Piece of the Baltic States It’s no secret that I consider the 3 Baltic States as one of my favorite parts of th world. And this is probably why Kaliningrad was so high on my list, as it shares the same attributes as its neighbors. With the Curonian spit north […]

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Visiting Krasnoyarsk, Siberian Nature at its Best

My last stop on this Siberian Month was Krasnoyarsk, the third largest city in Siberia and a highlight on my last trip 4 years ago. I had been curious to spend more time here and for the occasion, I rented a 10-day apartment in the center to be close to the action. Looking back at it, it was definitely a good move. The beauty of Krasnoyarsk is in its nature, with its parks all over the city and especially the Stolby national park just a few kilometers away. What I especially like about this city compared to other Russian cities is its compact center, situated between 2 rivers, appearing like an island. It helps to concentrate the points of interest in the center and not spreading over a large distance, making it a great pedestrian city. The riverfronts are covered in green parks and seemed to constantly fill […]

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Siberian Style Summer White Storms in Tomsk, Russia

Probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Siberia is Snow. Some people even think its winter all year round, just like Antarctica. But that’s far from reality. Being here in the middle of the Summer with 30 degrees temperatures, seeing a white “pollen” storm was quite interesting and ironic considering Siberian’s “white” stereotype… White Fluffy Pollen Storms In June in Siberia, a special species of cotton-tree starts producing an impressive amount of white, thick pollen flying everywhere to what resembles a real snowstorm. The scene is beautiful to watch, but can also be an annoyance as these massive flying pieces make it hard to breathe as they can easily be breathed in the nose and mouth and cause itchiness and allergies. Once it rains, it leaves all the pollen in the air to the ground and literally covers the green grass […]

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Visiting Novosibirsk, Capital of Siberia in Russia

The Siberian Capital and third largest city in Russia, Novosibirsk is, in my opinion, the real Russia. Friendly and modern, yet having a distinctive Siberian feel, this is a city where travelers will enjoy friendly people and nature to its fullest. It’s definitely not easy to reach but if you happen to be on a trans-Siberian train or an intercontinental flight on transit, make a 2 to 3 days stop to see what I mean. Visiting the Siberian Capital At the peak of the Fifa Russian world cup of 2018 and just after my final match I attended in Rostov-on-Don between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia, I escaped the center of the action and the noise to hide in the middle of Siberia to enjoy a month of Nature and peacefulness. That was my plan this year after 2 weeks of crazy world cup frenzy in […]

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A Few Days in the Cossack Capital of Rostov-on-Don in Russia

Before 2018, I would have never thought about visiting Rostov-on-Don, as its name resonated too much with the problems of Donbass and Lugansk of Ukraine. But since I had a World Cup Ticket for the Uruguay-Saudi Arabia Game this year, I was kind of obligated to give it a try. And what a surprise! Rostov-on-Don is a Big and Lively city that definitely deserves its share of tourism! My experience in Rostov-on-Don Rostov-on-Don is known to be the capital of the Cossacks, these ancient warriors who have defended the region over centuries. Even some special police units today have uniforms of Cossacks warriors which you could spot on your visit. I had the chance to be here during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, so the city was definitely pampered up to please the touristic eye. I was told by locals that the transformation took place over […]

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Sochi: The New Pearl of the Black Sea

Sochi is the Biggest resort City in Russia. In fact, it has grown so quickly and well in the past few years that it is a great city in itself and in my opinion only second to St-Petersburg for the most beautiful city in Russia. Sochi was settled by Stalin where he had his private summer house (dacha). But Thanks to the constant efforts by Putin to host big events in the city like the Olympics Games of 2014, the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the FIFA world cup, it is easy to see how the city is important in the eyes of Russians. And you can definitely expect to hear more and more about Sochi as it transforms towards an international holiday destination. The Miami of Russia Sochi is blessed with a subtropical climate which provides mild winters and hot summers! It is a […]

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