The Baltic Trip, part 2 Latvia

Here is the text from an email my folks sent about there trip so far.

Dad and I just returned to the hotel from the ballet. The dancing and staging were superb! Lots of future ballerinas were in the audience. The trip has been excellent so far. The history of the two Baltic countries we have visited is depressing: 700 years of suppression by a variety of stronger countries. Then 14 years ago-freedom finally! The people are amazing. They are a lesson in courage and determination.

The weather has been very cool but sunny for the most part.

Tomorrow we leave for 4 days in Lithuania. The time has gone very rapidly. No time to shop for something for the girls. I am hoping in the last country. I don’t travel with Karl to shop but I do like to get something for the girls.

The first two days we spent in Estonia. That country is so far north and the winter was especially cold this year. As a result, some of the trees have not started to bud. This country gained its independence by what is called “The Singing Revolution.” 300,000 Estonians gathered in one place to have a sing fest just to keep up their morale for their political fight for independence. The show was strong and it worked. No shots were fired. Independence was achieved. While there we saw a very wonderful operetta by Richard Strauss. As part of the show there were two very beautiful ballet numbers. I think Ellie would have liked to see this.

People in the Baltic States go to the opera, ballet like we go to see a movie. We have been impressed by the number of children that come to the performances and truly enjoy them.

We have spent the past two days in Riga, Latvia. The amazing thing about this capital city is the fact that despite all the destruction done by WWII to the buildings, much of the Art Neuveau (spelling?) remains standing. As owners are located, and they have the money, they restore these buildings to their original beauty. There are lots of statues in town and parks to display them. Last night went to see Tosca at the old (but newly refurbished) opera house. The interpretation of this opera left even the most musically sophisticated of our group puzzled. The singing was excellent as was the staging and special effects. I, too, was somewhat nonplussed by the director’s spin on this tale.

Both countries are in much better shape than we envisioned they would be. One reason is that the people are very hard working. The other is that by law the government is required to maintain a balanced budget. The taxes are low so foreigners are encouraged to invest in the economy.

Dad and I got lucky in finding this computer to email. The way things are going, plus the fact that we are 8 hours ahead, has made it difficult to try to call you. I will work at trying but Karl keeps us so much on the go, it may not be possible.

We are anxious to talk with you and especially to see you.

Love you all so very much!

Mom & Dad

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