We have one more hour on the train before we reach Helsinki where we will catch a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia to begin our journey through the Baltic States-Estonia, Latvia and finally, Lithuania, where another piece of our ancestral heritage lies. This one however, will not meet us for a tour of the city. Instead it will be beneath our feet and all around us and we may never discover what it holds. This particular part of our personal history is a mystery-hinging on a great, great grand uncle, Vladislaw Dembskis-who, although trained early on as a priest, eventually turned his back on the church in a particularly vile way and spent the remainder of his life in Lithuania and later America openly criticizing the Catholic Church and her hierarchy. He wrote countless articles, pamphlets and books as a "freethinker" and before I left on this trip I found a copy of his book, Inquisition, online in Google Books-google's attempt to photocopy and make available online books that they deem important. I was duly impressed to find Inquisition there, but my attempt to get a glimpse into the mind of my relative was thwarted by the fact that it was in Lithuanian. My grasp of the Lithuanian language is only marginally better than my grasp of Finnish, which is literally nil (although I have learned how to say "thank you" in Finnish). I can say the word coffee in Lithuanian, but besides that only a few choice swear words which I wouldn't dare utter in public and a few songs taught to us as children. One in particular we were told proclaims, "My girlfriend has fat legs..." So I doubt it will get us any points for eloquence IF that is even the correct translation!!
It was incredibly bittersweet this morning leaving Lomamokkila. I don't know if I have ever enjoyed myself or relaxed as thoroughly as I did there. Not only was the setting phenomenal-the lake, the birch forests, the flower gardens, the animals-but the food was magnificent, a true taste of Finland. And Kalle and Laura, the owners, were spectacular hosts and have created an oasis of calm and comfort. If you ever happen to be in Finland, it is well worth a visit. Very reasonably priced and lots to see in the area IF you ever want to leave the farm. Check it out here:
Doreen and I were talking yesterday about the fact that no matter where we were in Finland, people came up to us to ask us directions, or bus schedules or various other questions, mistaking us for Finns. It was thrilling in a way that we could blend in so seamlessly, travel around so anonymously. We were not perceived to be tourists at all and that made us incredibly happy. We both hope it will be the same in Lithuania!