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Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
So we had met a couple from Austin in Helsinki at the Alvar Aalto tour and they were in Tallin at the same time we were. So we decided to meet them one night at some concert. We called Uber.....we used Uber everywhere and it was great. Dude driving a Tesla showed up to drive us to the concert.....sweet!



The concert was some eurotrash pop crap but it was good people watching.



People were waving Estonian flags but I could never figure out if this was some independence type celebration or if people are just really patriotic over here. They do have a lot to be happy and proud of after living under the germans and soviets for so long.



And there was a nice sunset.....at about midnight.....



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mizslu314
Missouri Fan
Dirty STL
Member since Sep 2013
7525 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
quote:

Train Station....designed by Eliel Saarinen who is the father of Eero Saarinen who designed the St' Louis Arch.


Cool. I can dig this!


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
After a couple of days in Tallin we headed to Riga, Latvia. The best way to get there was on a bus. But this wasn't a typical bus. The Lux Express is a company with new buses...very comfortable seats and a video entertainment system like on a plane for all seats and free Wifi. We did pay the $10 extra for the upgraded "Lounge" seats. So instead of 2 seats on each side of the aisle, the lounge had 1 seat with a little side table on each side of the aisle. Nicest bus I have ever been on.



The ride too 4.5 hours and we got to see some of the country side.



Our Apt in Riga. It was on the 5th floor with no elevator so we got a workout.



This was the view from our apt looking towards Old Town



Riga has a nice Old Town but not as beautiful as Tallin's. I found out the Riga Old Town was bombed in WWII and so its been rebuilt.





As usual, we took a spin around the touristy spots and then went looking for the hoods where the locals hung out.



One evening we were sitting in a bar and started talking to these 2 guys that were from Sweden. One of the guys is a Rock journalist who travels to all the music festivals and interviews bands......tough work. There had been a big festival in Riga just a couple of days before we arrived. After a while they asked if we wanted to follow them down the street to a brewpub......Ok.....they lead us down some side alleys and I started getting visions of a Stieg Larsson novel popping into my head. Then we get to a crumbling gate that lead to what looked like an abandoned courtyard......Hmmmm



Well, there was a brew pub back in there.



Labietis turned out to be one of our favorite places we went and we came back a couple of nights later.



Image: https://s.inyourpocket.com/gallery/123257.jpg


We even talked to the brewer for a bit and then about midnight he said he had to go brew a batch.





HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
14907 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Awesome!!


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calitiger
LSU Fan
Uptown New Orleans
Member since Jan 2004
2295 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Beercations are the best. I always plan a trip around the local craft beer scene. Nice pics.


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Teddy Ruxpin
LSU Fan
Austin, TX
Member since Oct 2006
32679 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Very solid.

I need to do less things during the day. I wear my wife out and then I don't do as much nightlife as I'd like.

I got energy for days when I'm abroad
This post was edited on 9/15 at 8:43 pm


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Riga also had a neighborhood full of Art Noveau buildings. It wasnt on the level of Antwerp or Paris but made for a nice afternoon. The neighborhood was a pretty nice one where you could tell people with money lived.



http://i607.photobucket.com/albums/tt154/Zappas-Stache/Europe2016/Riga/IMG_20160720_154407_zpshspoyo0g.jpg



http://i607.photobucket.com/albums/tt154/Zappas-Stache/Europe2016/Riga/IMG_20160720_154543_zpsccpfptiy.jpg









Riga also had a concentration camp and a Jewish Ghetto where Jews were forced to live. We didnt go to the Concentration Camp but did go to the memorial where they had a recreation of the type of very small apartment a family or even 2 families had to live.



They also had a memorial wall with all the names of people who died in the camp. We were able to find the name of a friends grandmother who died there. We didn't know her first name so we sent this pic of all the Blumenthals to our friend and he confirmed her name was there.



Next we headed across the Daugava River, walking across the The Vanšu Bridge that was built by the Soviets in 1981. Our destination was Žanis Lipke Memorial Museum.

quote:

This modern, interactive museum designed by a prominent local architect tells the little-known tale of Žanis Lipke and the network of roughly 25 people that created an ‘underground railroad’ of sorts to save Jews from the Nazis during the German occupation of Latvia. Not only did he hide people in a bunker on his own land that now hosts this museum, but he and his colleagues also helped Jews to escape local ghettoes and then transported them to safe houses around the country. Although Mr. Lipke and his wife Johanna survived this noble undertaking, other members of the underground were caught and killed.



The memorial is in the actual house this family lived situated in a really nice neighborhood.

An unassuming entry.

Image: http://miesarch.com/uploads/images/works/2740-17638.jpg


Into this long corridor. The museum was designed to make you feel disoriented and claustrophobic similar to what the people in the hidden bunker must have felt.

Image: http://miesarch.com/uploads/images/works/2740-17646.jpg


We went about 6pm one evening and had the place to our selves which really accentuated the somberness or even spookiness of the place.

Image: http://miesarch.com/uploads/images/works/2740-17651.jpg


Looking down into the small bunker where the jewish families hid.

Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dEmk6WQFmas/VDTkJSkFwKI/AAAAAAAABj0/PffsIkXe4XA/s1600/IMG_3003.jpg


I really needed a beer after this day.



Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
So....where was I?.......On to Vilnius,Lithuania......we took the lux-express bus again for about a 4 hour ride to Vilnius. On the ride, I noticed lone people out in the woods picking something. Using the free wifi on the bus, I found out they were picking mushrooms. Apparently their mushrooms are a big deal. We ate some in Vilnius and they were good but not anything out of the ordinary.

This is an internets pic since I couldn't get a good pic from the bus.

Image: http://ediblemontereybay.com/files/images/stories/articles/win11/foraging.jpg


We arrived in Vilnius and made our way to the old town where our apt was located.

Lots of weddings everywhere around here.



Our apt was through that gate.





We got settled and then contacted one of the swedish guys who we met in Riga and was now here and headed out to meet him for a beer.




I had a Kaimiskas which is a traditional farm house, naturally fermented beer that farmers have brewed for hundreds of years. It was really nice with not much tartness like a belgian lambic might have. And the wort is never boiled, only heated. So the beer has to be drunk fresh as it spoils quickly.



We spent the rest of the evening with our friend before heading back to the apt.







This is the Old town gate we walked through to get to our apt on the right of this pic.



The next day we headed out to find the Frank Zappa Memorial Statue. Right after Zappa died and Lithuania gained its independence, an artist who was a big Zappa fan convinced the new government to allow a Zappa statue, arguing Zappa stood for freedom as much as anybody.






Don't Go Where The Huskies Go.



We checked out an Old Church....mainly to get out of the rain







When it slacked up we headed to the Užupis neighborhood. On April 1, 1997, the district declared itself an independent republic (The Republic of Užupis). Since the first of November 2014 Jaap van Ark is president of republic Užupis.





Fuzzy pic of a nice river



The Wall of Poets and Artists



It was about beer thirty so we found a little hole n the wall filled with locals including this character.....he had a top hat too.



Street Art including the original Trump-Putin Kiss mural.







Then we walked up a hill and found this bar

















This post was edited on 10/10 at 12:17 am


HoustonGumbeauxGuy
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
14907 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Tagged in the sticky!



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theOG
Oklahoma Fan
Member since Feb 2010
7244 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
quote:

I wear my wife out and then I don't do as much nightlife as I'd like.


humble brag.


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
One thing new I did this time in Europe was buy sim cards in each country. It makes it really nice to have data to search for stuff when you are out sight seeing. And then sometimes we met people and met them later for dinner, etc and having text capability was really nice. Sim cards are generally dirt cheap....in Helsinki I paid 5 euro for a card and the data lasted about a day and a half.....thats being careful and making sure I was on wifi when it was available. Most bars and restaurants have free wifi but you sometimes have to ask for the password. In Estonia and Helsinki it was cheap and easy. Pop in the card, input the pin # that was printed inside and you're on. In Latvia it got more complicated....you had to go online and activate the card but everything was in Latvian or russian. A quick google search on my laptop showed you could call and ask for an english speaking support person. In Latvia and lithuania, someone called me back within 10 minutes. In Amsterdam, the sim cards were expensive....20 Euro....but it was worth it.



Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
In Vilnius, we also went to the KGB Museum. It is the actual building where the KGB was headquartered in Vilnius and they have not changed much of the rooms and the prison that was also there.

Entrance.....unassuming building



One of the preserved offices



There were also informational exhibits telling the story of the Lithuanian resistance that was eventually crushed by the Soviets......but the most gruesome, horrifying part was the prison they remains as it was. They could house 30-40 prisoners here. they were usually dissidents that were interrogated, tortured then executed on site or sent to larger prison camps.












The small exercise yard



a bench in an outdoor cell



The door to the execution chamber....I pulled on the door to see if it was open and it was.....I went in and started down some more stairs and could see shoes from those executed....then I decided I didnt want to see that or whatever else they had down there and went back up.



This tour shook me...I guess since it was the actual place these people were killed and tortured and it hasn't been changed.


CHEDBALLZ
New Orleans Saints Fan
South Central LA
Member since Dec 2009
16068 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Great thread


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
So we got up at 4:30am to make a 7 am flight from Vilnius to Eindhoven, Netherlands. When we were leaving the apt there were people walking the streets after partying all night.







Flew on Wizz Air, one of those low cost airlines.....new 737s, good flight.



ok...this is an internet pic but.......



So we got to Eindhoven and hopped the bus to Amsterdam....had to wait about 10 minutes for the bus and then about an hour ride to Amsterdam. Everything went smooth.



Then we grabbed a tram to our apt on Overtoom street just outside the city center and a stones throw from Vondel Park. There are tons of bars and restaurants and shops on Overtoom including a small Wholefoods like grocery across the street from our apt.

That's our apt I circled and the gate we went in to get to the door.





Our little balcony



This place belonged to a dutch grandma who goes to stay with her boyfriend when she rents it out on airBnb. We really enjoyed this place.

View from the balcony.


This post was edited on 10/30 at 10:52 pm


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
One day we road the bikes over to the Westergasfabriek (park) area....Its a new, huge park built on the site of a former gas extraction plant. The old buildings now have shops, restaurants and pubs in them and you probably won't see many tourists over here even though it close to the city center.

Image: http://www.whatsupwithamsterdam.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/westergas.jpg


We stopped at a brew pub named Troost which had some really good beers.

Image: http://blog.partywithalocal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/brouwerij-troost-amsterdam-westerpark.jpg




Then we road over to this little cafe in the middle of an agricultural area....again, all about a 10-15 minute bike ride from the city center.

This is the path going to the cafe



it was an old farm house that has been converted to a cafe....Buurtboerderij Ons Genoegen is the name of it.......had a great mackerel sandwich.

Image: http://images.memorix.nl/ams/thumb/500x500/c1eb0957-3a38-7831-d7fa-7d86112a0d49.jpg




Well, as it often does, it started raining.....so we road back to the center of town in the pouring rain to a bar I heard had Cantillion Gueze (beer).....place called Cafe Spuyt.....an old traditional dutch brown bar full of locals.





They also had Westvleteren 12.....so we spent a couple three hours in there sipping great beer and drying out.







Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Next day Ms. Zappa wanted to do a street art tour.....she's really into that.....so we road the bikes about 30 minutes out to the muslim projects.......yep......I never felt threatened and it was pretty quiet out there. Our guide met us at the tram stop were a few other people were meeting up. The guide is a Ukrainian woman who was crazy enough to be entertaining. She lead us around the projects to different murals that her organization has commissioned..... Amsterdam street Art Museum......some pretty big names in the street art world....a notch below Banksy. There was the guide....on the left with her dog and 2 or 3 french tourists and my wife and I.







This mural blended/ aligned with the real trees in the background from a certain angle




Later that evening, we headed over to our friends place that lives in Amsterdam on one of the canals....american guy from San Antonio and his husband from Chicago....Met them when they lived in dallas........he makes big $$$ as an international lawyer.

Front Door



The place is 3 floors



Back Balcony



View from their front window



The walk back to the airbnb that night



This post was edited on 1/23 at 12:06 am


Zappas Stache
Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Member since Apr 2009
22726 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
We always go to the Blauwe Theehuis LINK in Vondel park to have a beer and people watch when we are in Amsterdam. Its tucked back behind some trees so if you arent looking for it you can miss it.



Image: http://blog.radissonblu.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/T-Blauwe-Theehuis-in-Vondel-Park-Amsterdam-source-Anton-Gvozdikov-Shutterstockcom.jpg


Riding in an area we had never been before to a brew pub called Butchers Tears.....this place was way off the beaten track in an industrial area



This place was way off the beaten track in an industrial area

Image: https://ithinkthereforeiamsterdam.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/img_1352.jpg


Image: http://www.yourlittleblackbook.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/butchers-tears-amsterdam-zuid-2.jpg


Our last night in Amsterdam so we headed to the airbnb at a decent time. I had another beer on the balcony and watcedh everyone heading to the cafe below us that had morphed into a party scene for the night.



All those bikes down there belonged to people in that cafe......luckily we couldn't hear the music when we went to bed.





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ForLSU56
LSU Fan
Gonzales
Member since Feb 2015
1116 posts

re: My Summer Vacation Pics-Helsinki, Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Amsterdam, NYC
Made a trip into Vilnius in late January 2014 .... holy crap it was cold. Very interesting city.


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