baltic sea highlights

Warnemunde, Germany
little blond girls in the park climbing trees and playground equipment in skirts, looking and acting like my child self. (yeah, i’m a tree-climbing german girl.)
little dogs at the beach shivering without sweaters (because germans would never dress a dog in a sweater) while their coat-wearing owners pace the water’s edge.
sailboats racing home to harbor trying to beat sundown.
thai coffee bar owner yelling at tourists that they must pay 50 cents to use her toilet. i found 50 cents behind a bush in the park where i popped a squat.

Tallinn, Estonia
too small a town to get lost in. i tried. giant ancient trees and small old castle in quaint town where most inhabitants walk instead of drive as their primary mode of transport. huge park with benches filled with white-haired ladies eating chocolate in the midmorning sun. their chocolate-eating delight inspired my trip to the grocery store where i bought a bar in an unexpected flavor (dark chocolate with grapefruit). i ate my chocolate bar while walking along cobblestone streets toward a church that appeared more pagan than christian from the sculptures in relief on its exterior walls. i walked back to the grocery store to buy more chocolate, along the way buying earrings from a jewelry maker selling her art from a table in an alleyway with other artists. because i fell in love with the town (and i was high on grapefruit-infused luscious dark chocolate) i uncharacteristically purchased a touristy t-shirt with unreadable fancy script that dates tallinn’s beginnings as 1155, a year which qualifies the town as one of the world’s living museums.

St. Petersburg, Russia
$400 visa required for entry. box checked.
knowledge of russian language helpful. box unchecked.
map of city. box checked.
map of city that included my point of origin from shipdock. box unchecked.
got lost the first day. returned to ship feeling frustrated and exhausted hours later.
found my way the next day. drank obligatory vodka shot at bar with wifi to check email. ate corn on the cob and crepe purchased from street vendors. astounded by sites i’ve wanted to see for 22 years. walked past beautiful museums and palaces. paid the entry fee to go inside none. i didn’t want to spend my hours indoors. i wanted only to walk through the city in cold sprinkling rain strolling along sidewalks with natives on sunday afternoon.
confession: purchased ridiculous tall traditional fluffy ear-flapped souvenir hat that i hope i wear for years to come.

Helsinki, Finland
wide walking path tracing the beach for miles. tried skipping rocks into sea. failed because rocks weren’t flat enough (and i kinda suck at skipping rocks). walked along coastline into downtown to the open air market. bought necklace from ditzy artist genius jewelry maker. considered eating reindeer meat stew but didn’t. wandered up and down the streets of the city staring at buildings built 120 years ago that looked european in an early-pre-ikea-but-hinting-at-ikea-designed-future way. walked back to ship through expansive hilly green parks while feeling peacefully, cleanly happy inside, my mood matching finnish values.

Stockholm, Sweden
mental conversation expressed via facial expressions between me and every youngish swedish dude who passed me walking the opposite direction on tree-lined promenades throughout the metropolis…
him: do you see how tall, blond, blue-eyed, and good-looking i am?
me: yes, you vain swedish twit.
unimpressed with the palace, the overly populated city, and its tall, blond, blue-eyed, vain populace. immensely impressed with the natural beauty of tiny islands that continue for miles along the coast toward the main ports.

i’m in copenhagen, denmark again today. a generous israeli dude stopped to give me a ride from the dock to the train station since i was schlepping a big suitcase. the long trek home has begun. i’ll play in istanbul again tomorrow night and fly home from there in time to kiss the birthday love just before midnight. i’ve missed y’all while indulging my technological disconnection from the world. i’ve been roaming my interior wordless silence and am returning home wider, quieter, and calmer inside.


About angel joy

love is an action verb. i live love in action.
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