David and Jacqueline spent a very pleasant week in two of the Baltic states, with a focus on Rīga and a visit to the Curonian spit (Kurische Nehrung), getting to within a couple of kilometres of the Russian (Kaliningrad) border. The Baltics are celebrating 25 years of independence (again!) after having been annexed illegally by Russia, then German and then Russia again during the 20th century. The scars of those occupations run deep, but the enterprising Balts have cleaned things up amazingly well. Russia is not far away: NATO is not surprisingly based in the Baltics, and the EU is present everywhere with projects supporting the rebuilding of these countries that have experienced so much hardship. We found it fascinating trying to understand the local languages: clearly Indo-European, but with no clear points of reference in any of the Western or Central European languages!