This summer I joined the World Affairs Council of Houston on a tour of the Baltic nations (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland) as part of my quest to visit 100 countries (after these four, I now have rung up a total of 92). Whenever I travel, I make it a point to keep my eye out for interesting structures, and of course this trip was no different.
The first thing I learned about the Baltic nations is that they love the stories and the songs of their folklore. The tradition of storytelling has survived from the traditions of this region – the Baltic countries were the last pagan nations of Europe — and their national ethos bear strong marks of this. Story and song are used to maintain history, pass down lore, impart advice, and even win national independence. So my goal was not only to find buildings that were interesting from a structural point of view, but maybe one or more that tell a national story as well. Continue reading