Baltic and Scandinavian Treasures - U of I EXPLORERS Photolog

Our story...

Our twelve day cruise aboard Oceania’s MS Marina to the countries bordering the Baltic Sea was a real eye opener for many of us. Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and the former German Democratic Republic suffered greatly during the World War II Nazi occupation and even more so when they were “liberated” by the Soviets. Expert shipboard lecturers and knowledgeable local tour guides provided first-hand stories of coping with chronic shortages of food and other essentials and living in constant fear of the KGB and Stasi. The transformation of these countries since the breakup of the Soviet Union in the 1990s has been nothing short of remarkable. The beautiful medieval cities of Klaipeda, Riga, Tallinn and Rostock are now bustling with energy, nightlife and happy people. Likewise, St. Petersburg has enjoyed a similar cultural resurgence since its communist days as Leningrad. In retrospect, the trip impressed upon us the resilience of the human spirit and the universal desire to live in freedom.”

Joe Rank, UI Alumni Association EXPLORERS host.