Back from the Baltic

Meeting Kimmo Linkama in Tallinn

If you can’t view the video above, click here: Mark Schaefer from Russia.

I’m rested and refreshed from an extended digital de-tox as my wife and I spent our “annual honeymoon” visiting Scandinavia, Russia, and Northern Europe.

The video above provides a statement of the personal impact of this trip but a few of the highlights included:

  • An opportunity to meet two of my best Twitter buddies, Kimmo Linkama, who showed us around the lovely city of Tallinn, Estonia, and Dr. Jon Buscall, who I have long-admired as a blogger and original voice in Sweden.  I have some more content coming to you from both of these great minds.
  • A visit to Saint Petersburg, Russia, illustrated both the sheer “wow” of this city’s glory, and the uphill climb to overcome decades of communist oppression. A micro example: A priceless Leonardo DaVinci painting displayed at the Hermitage Museum next to an open window with cracked and peeling paint falling on the floor.  
  • I was completely impressed with the deep beauty and historical splendor of Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Stockholm.
  • It was funky to experience White Nights.  At this time of year, it never gets dark. It was common to see people picnicking by the sea at 11 p.m.
  • Jon Buscall in front of Nobel Museum

    Nearly every place we visited had somehow been touched by communism, war and occupation. The epicenter of this turmoil was Berlin where I touched the famous Berlin Wall, walked in the footsteps of Nazis, and was profoundly impacted by a Holocaust memorial.

I posted 25 photo highlights of the trip here:  Baltic photos.

Of course I can’t begin to capture the adventure of this experience in a short blog post but I would be remiss if I didn’t provide my appreciation to the loyal {grow} community members who took care of our little space on the blogosphere while I was away.  I’m sure you’ll agree they did a marvelous job and it allowed me precious time to disconnect and re-charge for a few weeks.

I hope you’ll continue to support and appreciate the work of:

I missed the blog community and am eager to dive back in!  Thanks for continuing to support the {grow} movement in my absence!

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  • Welcome back! Looks like a fantastic trip. I like the idea of a “yearly honeymoon”. I may have to steal that from you 😉

  • Welcome home and back Mark! We missed you!

  • Thanks Mark! It was wonderful meeting you both! The weather changed after you left so you got to see the city at its finest. 

    Hope it’s not too long til we meet up again :=)

  • Welcome back Mark, so good to have you home!

  • Thanks for sharing your video Mark.  I went to the Soviet Union in 1990, and that experience changed by life.  From a child I knew that the Soviet oppression was terrible.  After talk to Soviets first hand my worldview was changed forever. 

    I don’t want you to think I am spamming you Mark, but I thought you might like to read about my Soviet Union trip –

  • Anonymous

    It’s always nice to hear of great Twitter friends finally meeting in person. Must be a thrill!

  • Mark, welcome back! So glad you had such a wonderful trip.  The photos are beautiful, and my heart just sang when I saw the ones from Finland (my heritage), especially the Sibelius monument.  Did you see Paavo Nurmi monument?  And hey…where’s the one of you running from the sauna and jumping in the (ice cold) lake?:)

    Cheers, my friend: great to have you back: missed you while you were gone.  Kaarina

  • Yes, I saw the Nurmi monument near the Olympic stadium. Thanks for yout kind message!

  • It really was a thrill!  Good to have you back in the comment section by the way!

  • Fred, you never have to feel funny about sharing a link. I trust folks.  It was nice to read about your observations. I heard so many horror stories.

  • Welcome back! That part of the world is beautiful and culturally rich. 
    I thought I’d congratulate you on selecting authors to fill in while you were gone. They did a great job! 

  • My pleasure Mark: great to see you back!

  • Mark – So glad you had a blast and love the pictures so far. Life is but an instant and you grabbed it with both hands. I hope you and your bride had a great break and welcome back. And thank-you beyond words for allowing me the privilege of contributing to the {grow} community in your absence.  

  • Thanks for saying so! I agree!

  • OMG! OMG! OMG! You got to meet Jon Buscall?!?! I AM SOOOOOOO FREAKING JEALOUS!!

  • I am beyond myself…green with envy!

  • Welcome home. We are so happy you are taking back the lead and cheers to our amazing grow community.

  • I hope to make it over the pond at some point in the next 12 months. Of course, if you’re heading this way just let me know !

  • !!! He’s a good guy.

  • I don’t really know what to say: Thank you!

  • Absolutely! And let’s hope we can get you to Stockholm in the fall Johnny.

  • Welcome home Mark.  What an awesome trip! Just loved the pics. It is most certainly a very interesting part of the world to see.  Although you were certainly missed,  your guest authors certainly did a terrific job keep everyone totally engaged (as I’m sure you’ll see from the discussions).

  • Really awesome video you have shared in this post and i enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: Syrian Lesbian Bloggers Shouldn't Be Weiners | Spot-On()

  • Thanks Steve. The Community Week concept seems to be a hit. Rece3ived great feedback from all quarters!

  • So jealous!

  • Michelle C

    welcome back!

  • Mark, it sounds like you had a really amazing and inspiring trip – I’m really happy for you! Were you able to get some R&R through it all? 🙂

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