Coats of Arms in Latvia and Estonia: A Valiant Defender of Treasure

On the battlefields of medieval times, when Knights in Europe were heavily clothed in metal suits of armour and closed helmets, some sort of quick visual identification was needed during battle. As a matter of survival, the Knights needed to wear marks or symbols on the arms of their armour. Some of these symbols were also embroidered on the arms of the Knight’s surcoats, long and flowing garments that were worn over their armour. Hence, “coats of arms.” Historically, some form of coats of arms used for military purposes can be dated back to early man, including Greek and African Continue Reading →

The 6,800 Stairs of Europe

The rooftops of homes, sometimes colorful and varied, sometimes similar in texture and style; churches and cathedrals with their ornate spires, rounded domes, and soaring bell towers scattered throughout, yet seemingly dominating, the scenery; majestic castles and towers, and functional bridges; trees, vineyards, rolling hills and farmland, or perhaps waters, surrounding beyond; the activity of people below. Tallin from the Tower of Oleviste Church This describes some of what you will experience when surveying a general overview of a European city. This fabulous way of getting a sense of what Europe is all about is accomplished by obtaining the highest Continue Reading →

Churches in Europe: Ripetto, Silenzio, Preghiera

A scarf is a necessary item to carry around on a daily basis while traveling in Europe. Especially if you visit as many churches as I did. I must have walked into hundreds upon hundreds of not only churches and cathedrals, but also abbeys and basilicas and temples and synagogues and mosques (collectively referred to as “churches” throughout the remainder of this blog) during my five months in Europe. From some of the world’s largest cathedrals in the cities to the small local churches of the towns. The scarf was so that if I was wearing a tank top on Continue Reading →

Estonia: The Souls of Church Bells

In most European cities, you almost don’t need a watch to know what time it is. Instead, you have the church bells. Church bells chime in Europe like clockwork. (No pun intended.) Most chime on the hour, every hour, and many even ring every quarter of an hour. They also chime to tell you to attend a church service, or some other religious event or celebration. I have also just heard them play musical songs, or just ring random sounds. I think they are all wonderful sounds. I have come to really appreciate and enjoy hearing the church bells that Continue Reading →