Geoff told me a pretty sweet hipster joke the other day.  Or at least I think it is pretty sweet. I passed on the laughs by telling it to my coworker, who used it in her weekly “Joke Friday” competition with her boyfriend. She ended up winning Joke Friday that week, so I decided to keep going. I told it to my mom, who used it as part of her audition to be a singing mermaid in a panto version of Peter Pan (for realz – I couldn’t make something like that up). She got the part, and I like to think the joke played a little part in that (even though some of the more – ahem – geriatric members of the audition committee didn’t get it).

So the joke has brought good things to all who tell it. And because I want good things to come to you, I figured I should tell you the joke, too. Ready?

 

Me: How much does a hipster weigh?

You: Um, I don’t know, Katie. How much?

Me: An Instagram!

You and Me together: Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha!

 

Awesome, right? Yes, that’s what I thought you’d think. And now that we’re talking Instagram (and because I’m feeling a bit wistful today), I figured I’d share a few ‘grams from our visit to the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), which quite unexpectedly became one of my favourite corners of Europe. Let us begin by taking a look at the three lovely Baltic Capitals.

Tallinn, Estonia

Before we went to Tallinn, everyone the only two people we knew who’d been to Estonia kept telling us how much it looked like a city straight out of a fairytale. We were expecting something pretty, and Tallinn didn’t disappoint. And it indeed does look like a city out of a fairytale. Or Game of Thrones. Either way, it’s pretty awesome on the eyes. You heard it here first, folks: Tallinn is hot (except in the winter, when its totally freaking cold. And also during those long summer evenings, because let’s be honest, that Baltic Sea cools it down realz good).

 

Instagram View of Tallinn Estonia

I seriously felt like singing from the rooftops

Riga, Latvia

 

Next up is Riga, which was actually one of my favourite cities in the Baltics, and yet it kind of looks industrial-ish in this photo. Which is totally not at all what it’s like, so please don’t let this one shitty iPhone photo be the deciding factor in whether or not you visit Latvia’s lovely, art nouveau-filled capital. Because it’s awesome, and it has cat asses on the rooftops! So let’s look at it from the bird’s eye view:

 

Instagram view of Riga Latvia

View of Riga, Latvia, from the top of St. Peter’s Church.

 

Riga definitely isn’t as beautiful as Tallinn or Vilnius from above, but what it lacks in terms of birds’ eye view, it more than makes up for when you’re on the ground.

 

Riga Latvia Old Town

See? Riga is rather lovely when you’re on the ground, even if it is raining

 

And just down the street from where the above “rainy in Riga” photo was taken, I had the most purple soup I’ve ever eaten.

 

Soup

It’s beets, you guys. That’s the secret to purple soup.

 

Not far from Riga is Jurmala (the “J” is pronounced like a “Y” – you’re welcome), a strange summer resort town that seems to be overrun by rich Russian gangsters and their trophy wives. An excellent destination for mullet spotting, and enjoying an afternoon beer at the beach.

 

Zelta Beer Bottle at the Beach

Beers on the Baltic

Vilnius, Lithuania

 

And finally, we’ve got Vilnius, which was kind of the underdog of the trip, as I didn’t really have any expectations of the city, or of Lithuania in general. But that sometimes makes for the best stories, and Vilnius turns out to have one of the largest old towns in Europe, which is filled with beautifully-restored Baroque buildings, and is surrounded by lush forest.

 

"View of Vilnius Lithuania"

Vilnius, Lithuania, is also pretty stunning from above. This photo was taken from Gemidinas’ Tower, high above the old town. The red roofs, surrounded by dense and lush forest, also feels pretty fairytale-y.

 

And Vilnius, in addition to being Baroque, is filled with art and the quirky and delightful self-proclaimed Republic of Užupis, a whole country I never even knew existed.

 

Art in Vil

Even the paper pasted to the walls seems artistic

 

 

So there you have it, and if you’ve made it this far, I thank you for coming along on this self-indulgent trip down memory lane. But hopefully it wasn’t too selfish, and maybe you’re now considering a trip to the Baltics, which – by the way – was way cheaper to fly into than almost anywhere else in Europe in the summer (we flew Seattle to Tallinn, via Amsterdam on Delta and KLM, and it was hundreds of dollars cheaper than anywhere else in Europe).

 

So tell me, when are leaving on your trip to the Baltics?