After some major and minor delays, I present a report of the second half of Jane Austen’s cruise around the Baltic Sea, which began way back here.
Jane in Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a port and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for European Culture. It’s also way overrated. Super super ovverated. Also you can find Nazi stuff in the antique shops.
Soooo history. It started as Templar fortress and for awhile was a pretty important place if you lived in Estonia because I imagine there wasn’t a whole lot else going on in this country with their weird language that is nothing like the other languages around it and nobody can begin to understand it. Seriously, the guide said that. “You’re not going to understand anything. We barely do.” It’s related to Finnish but they’re not understandable to each other.
In Jane Austen’s time, Tallinn was part of Imperial Russia, joining it in 1710. A lot of places were part of Imperial Russia. It’s actually pretty hard to keep track of things in Eastern Europe. As it did not see heavy fighting during World War II even though the Nazis and the Soviets fought over it, most of the Medieval fortifications are still intact, making it a tourist trap. It does have the world’s oldest still-functioning pharmacy (they sell different things now) but it also has a place where you can buy matchbooks with Hitler’s face on them. So whatever. I’m not talking up this disappoint anymore. The cruise really talked it up, otherwise I would go easier on it. Plus they fought for the Nazis in WWII. Continue reading
This summer my dad had a medical conference on a Baltic cruise ship, which when you think about it is an awesome place to talk about skin cancer. I tagged along and so did Jane, thinking I could make a post or two out of it, and just about anything I can make a post out of is an activity worth doing. Next up: Chernobyl Power Plant #4.
Jane Austen in Copenhagen, Denmark
Our trip began by flying into Denmark, a country Jane would have at least been aware of, so we’re way ahead of our last trip, which was to Nepal. Before airplanes, Denmark was the gateway to the Baltic Sea, and they made a lot of money on tolls for ships trading lumber and Royal amber, which washes up on Baltic shores. In Jane’s time, Copehagen itself was attacked by and almost burned to the ground to prevent it from being a launching pad for the French army. Lord Nelson attacked it in 1801. Funny story: There was some problems with visibility and signals being sent from land to stop attacking. When criticized about it, Nelson said, ”I only have one eye — I have the right to be blind sometimes,” and then, holding his telescope to his blind eye, said “I really do not see the signal!” I heard this a couple times on my trip from different sources so I hope it’s true. The battle ended in a truce. In the second battle of Copenhagen (1807), Copenhagen burned again, most of the Danish fleet was captured, and the ground troops were led by Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington. We’ll be hearing from him again. So if Jane had wanted to travel there in her later years, she might not have received a warm welcome as a Brit in Copenhagen. I will also assume all this town-burning took place before they had a chance to put a 7-11 on every corner as those are all still standing, and I do mean every corner, and they don’t even have any slurpees. Continue reading
First of all, we should not all be talking about Jane Austen. We should be planning to see the Batman movie, at the Batman movie, or talking about all of the logical inconsistencies in the Batman movie, which was awesome but a little disappointing, now that we think about it. Get with it, people. Y’all are dancing around your tea cups or whatever and Batman’s hitting people with batarangs and climbing up prison walls that have bats in them. Get in the moment, people.
Ways The Dark Knight Rises is like Pride and Prejudice:
There’s a rich guy and a poor girl and they don’t like each other at first but later they do.
Ways The Dark Knight Rises is not like Pride and Prejudice:
Literally everything else that happens in the movie. Continue reading
This is how it would probably go.
You’re ushered into a waiting room, though honestly like half the rooms in this high-ceiling, tiny-room mansion could be waiting rooms. If they don’t have a table or a bed they’re waiting rooms. People liked to be waited on. There are way too many doors in this place, but unlike the ones in your apartment the crystal handles are real instead of glass and they don’t rattle and almost come off when you try to turn one and the key isn’t long gone, as in at least twenty owners ago and you’re just renting.
Tasteful furniture is bedecked with stolen antiques (because what other kind of antiques are there in Britain?) and Chinese porcelain bowls on display with vaguely racist caricatures on them, now that you bother to look at them, but that’s fine, people in the 1800′s didn’t know that. Maybe the room is themed with Orientalism, but you’re not an interior designer. If you owned half this stuff it would be shoved between your Ikea furniture that’s missing a knob and the bowl would be resting on your printer so you’d have to remove it every time you wanted to print something. Continue reading
Margaret Faria wins one signed paperback copy!
Karana wins one eBook copy!
Faith Hope wins one eBook copy!
Michelle Fidler wins one eBook copy!