The Good to Go gang is cruising the Baltic Sea. We are making ports of call in countries that experience long days and then longer nights, depending on the time of year.
We’ve enjoyed guided panoramic tours that give us an overview of wonderful, historic cities. The information that comes our way is kind of like candy at a Christmas parade, you grab what you can, chew on it a while and are OK that you couldn’t pick up everything.
We took a walking tour through Tallinn, Estonia. We walked cobblestone streets were a medieval watch tower is across the street from a Circle K convenience store.
We overlooked a grassy area where history was changed in 1988. Citizens rose up, stood up and sang up. Literally. 300,000 people sang against Soviet rule, the Singing Revolution was waged and won, without a drop of blood being lost. Isn’t that something? They still have a singing festival in July to commemorate.
We landed in Copenhagen, Denmark; a very cosmopolitan capital city. We learned that Denmark has been researched and found to be the happiest country in the world.
They credit part of the bliss to reducing stress by taking some of the following measures. They are fit, mainly due to everyone riding bicycles everywhere. Possibly because there is a 180% tax on cars… that would encourage pedaling.
Being a socialist country, education and health care are provided free of charge. In fact, some students are even paid to go to college. That would beat student loans.
They claim to be the least religious country in the world. But our guide was quick to point out the great number of historical churches, and even as the membership drops in modern times, the donations to churches are on the rise. I could only guess this to be a bit like “fire insurance.”
They hand over 50 percent of their wages to the government… this would not make me happy. But enjoying art and green living and being environmentally conscious and environmentally friendly are things that the Danes treasure.
The recently built a new incinerator for the city. The architecturally design put it stories into the air where the exterior will be used as an artificially ski slope in this flat landscape. A coffee shop on top of the clean burning plant is planned, too.
We’ve also learned that Denmark never won a war. Our guides would pause for us to photograph great generals on horseback bronzed for the ages. The name and conflict dates were remembered with reverence.
She would add, “Of course, we lost that war, but that is a small detail.” There seemed to be a bit of sweet truth in that sarcasm. I hope to return to this “someplace else” to find out more about the happiest country on earth.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.