Trip Region: Europe
Country(ies): Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Partners Trek? No
Trip Cost: $1645
Airfare Estimate: $1700
Nightlife: 9 • Activity: 5
Deciding whether you prefer partying, eating great food, visiting historical spots, or relaxing? Don’t know which cool places in Europe you would like to visit? Just like you, we don’t like making such decisions, so we gathered all of that in a trip to the Baltics. In Lithuania, we’ll visit the historical sites of Vilnius. But fear not, pub crawls are a way of life there, so we’ll rage on after getting our education on. In Latvia, we’ll be in the boisterous city of Riga. Considered the “wild child” of the Baltics, Riga is the best city to party in and as the responsible trekkers that we are, we’ll put it to the test. Ok, so we know that it sounds like there will be tons of partying and grubbing; but, we’re not at Ross for nothing! We’re socially responsible type A business school students with livers that foresee a break in the midst of the raging, so to appease our livers, we’ll head to Jurmala (a 30-minute ride from Riga) to relax on the beach. In Estonia, we’ll head over to Tallinn; and since short term memories reign during MTrek, we’ll quickly revert to our regularly scheduled program, i.e. eating delicious food and partying the night away. By the end of the trip you’ll realize that sleep is a total waste of time. Cheers!
Travel Day — Saturday, Aug 18
Today is a travel day! Make sure you're packed and ready to fly to Lithuania. Tomorrow is a big day.
Day 1 — Sunday, Aug 19
Welcome to Vilnius (vil-nyus), the capital of Lithuania. Having once been occupied by Sweden, Poland, France and Russia, each occupier has left its mark in some way on this picturesque city. Quintessentially continental, the city features Europe’s largest baroque old town at its heart. Today, we'll have a welcome meeting with our guide and have our first group dinner and trek bonding time over drinks.
Day 2 — Monday, Aug 20
Today we take our orientation walk through the city, covering Vilnius’s historical sites such as Cathedral Square, the famous chapel of Saint Kazimieras, Gediminas Tower. For history buffs, the city also features the Museum of Genocide (aka KGB Museum), dedicated to the 50-year history of Soviet occupation which has left a visible mark on the city and country. Want something lighter? Take a walk through the charming gardens and parks sprinkled through the city, or hit up some local cafes and bars. At night, we’ll kick off the festivities with a guided pubcrawl. Is the city ready for us? We think not.
Day 3 — Tuesday, Aug 21
The day’s activities begin with a trip to the town of Trakai, where we will visit the magnificent Trakai Island Castle, residence of the dukes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. At night, we embark on a culinary tour of Vilnius, sampling local fare and bold brews along the narrow streets of Old Town. With a fascinating fusion of Jewish, Polish, Italian, and Russian influences, Vilnius is a cultural feast of architectural and culinary proportions. After good eats and booze, we’ll get one last chance to experience the night scene so let’s make it count!
Day 4 — Wednesday, Aug 22
Today we ride out for Riga, the capital of Latvia, and the largest city in the Baltics. As always, we’ll start with a tour, but this time, through Riga’s cobbled streets, where Gothic spires mix with art nouveau themes. We’ll visit the central market, buzzing with life in old Zeppelin hangars, and stop to taste a few local specialities along the way, before kicking off the night’s festivities with a shot of traditional Riga Black Balsam. Then it’s off to the bars and clubs. Two hands up if you’re ready to join the #5AMCrew! #PartyTheNightAway
Day 5 — Thursday, Aug 23
After last night’s rager, we’ll need some downtime. So, bring your Pedialyte, bathing suit, and beach bag because (drum roll please) we’re heading to Jurmala! Just 30 minutes from Riga, Jurmala (Jūrmala) is a magnificent seaside playground with everything you need to unwind and dare I say, detox. With miles of sandy beaches, swaying pine trees, and deliciously fresh air (I can taste it already), eclectic architecture and plenty of fun, Jurmala is a resort like no other. Originally a cluster of fishing villages, Jurmala has been a beloved seaside resort for over 200 years. So get ready to board a local train (or bus) to get a taste of paradise.
Day 6 — Friday, Aug 24
Ok, we’ve had tons of organized fun; it’s time for a free day--woo hoo! Today you’ll get a chance to explore Riga at your own pace. You can take a leisurely stroll along the canal; take in views of the city with a drink at a rooftop cafe; or head back to Jurmala for additional fun in the sun. You’re free to roam; but, fair warning, we’ll be doing a pubcrawl tonight so don’t be late (Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).
Day 7 — Saturday, Aug 25
Today we say goodbye to Riga and hello to Estonia! We’re going to hop on a bus, cross the border, and head to Tallinn. But congrats are in order because...you get another free day! Tallinn is an exceptionally preserved medieval city (think Game of Thrones but modern) with culinary specialties that will make you salivate--but seriously, so bring a handkerchief: you just might drool. Post check-in, you can head to the main square for some good eats and drinks or get lost in the city. The day is yours so do with it as you please. We’ll reconnect as a group in the evening for dinner. After our bellies are full, we’ll venture into the darkness to enjoy the nightlife. Tonight we’ll see whether Tallinn is #BaltDatLife.
Day 8 — Sunday, Aug 26
After a lazy morning of recovery and Estonian treats, we will try and be cultured by visiting a museum and going on an orientation walk with our guide. With its steep red roofs, spires, pastel-colored buildings and new restaurants and bars, Estonia's capital is a real treat to explore. Seeing the vibrant streets of Tallinn now, it's difficult to fathom that Soviet occupation only ended in 1991. We’ll enjoy some delicious food as we continue to explore this former Soviet nation, but rest up as there are no breaks at night. We will find some swanky rooftop bars and stumble upon some cool bars to get groovy and show off some moves. It’s okay to let loose today because we have a free day tomorrow.
Day 9 — Monday, Aug 27
FREE DAY: explore Tallinn solo dolo, chill at the hotel and sleep in, go to a beer spa and bathe in your favorite drink, or take an awesome biking excursion; the world is your oyster kids. But don’t go too crazy because we’re saving that for our final celebration of the trip. At night, we’ll embark on a final pubcrawl with your new bffs and the best mtrek fam at Ross. We’ll paint the town Maize & Blue and make sure that it’s a night that none of you remember. There are a few surprises in store so get ready to be amazed.
Departure Day — Tuesday, Aug 28
Today is the saddest day of the trip, but don’t worry, we’ll keep the fun going back to A2. Book your flights at your convenience, stay an extra day or two or three, or plan your own travel around Europe before heading back. We’ll be there for you during bschool and beyond. So not to worry, we have tons of fun and exciting events planned for our Balty Beaches over the course of the year.
Sabaina “The Integrator” Kamara, aka Sabi (if ya nasty)
Sabaina is from Maryland but claims DC because let’s face it, DC is cool. Hailing from downtown DC–stay with me here–Sabaina worked in diversity and inclusion as an Analyst, helping companies become more diverse. Because her work was so “fulfilling”–cuz you know, companies loooove to hear that they aren’t diverse–Sabaina became a master integrator. So, you’re bound to catch her passing out cocktails or non-alcoholic beverages to ensure that everyone has good, “clean” fun.
On MTrek you will find me: Dancing the night away (when Sabi comes out to play), securing the WiFi, and taking photos. Always “doing it for the ‘gram”, Sabaina will have you modeling in no time. #WhatsTheWifi?
If I were a drink I would be: A classic Margarita on the rocks with premium vodka because it’s salty, sweet, and get’s the party started. #StayBaltyBeaches
Day drinking or night drinking: DAY DRINKING. The afternoon turn up and evening turndown is Ç’est Magnifique! P.S. she doesn’t know French but Ç’est la vie.
Fun fact: Sabaina is a member of an ELITE dance team called Prettiest Rickies that specializes in Hip Hop dancing and serenading _______. Ask her about this on the trip; she’ll provide footage–It’s funny…I promise. #MBgAy
Alain “The Fever” Lefevre
Alain is from West Philadelphia, born and raised (que Will Smith)–not really, but that’s what he tells people since the suburbs of Philly is bleh. After undergrad, Alain worked in environmental consulting before heading into the dark side aka the chemicals industry (dun dun dunnn). As you’d expect, the dark side pays better and bourbon ain’t cheap. To make it up to mother nature, Alain is committed to drinking only sustainably sourced alcoholic beverages–whatever that means.
On MTrek you will find me: At a number of places, i.e. belly up at a local dive bar or day-raging at a rooftop bar. Variety is the spice of life. #5AMCrew
If I were a drink I would be: Whiskey neat, because… I’m a classic man.
Day drinking or night drinking: Um, all of the above? I’m all about building bridges across communities, no need to pit one against the other.
Fun fact: Alain is co-president of the Malt&Blue whiskey club at Ross. His liver demands an election recount–but will he take it?
Youngsoo “Young Money” Choy
Youngsoo is from Korea, the true East (let’s claim it), lived her whole life there except one year in Europe aka the “Golden Age”. Prior to Ross, she worked at the biggest conglomerate in Korea and figured out the value of her time the hard way. Today, she lives by the motto: “life is short, work less, drink more wine”–that’s a Young Money exclusive, friends.
On MTrek you will find me: Mostly in the ocean rather than the beach, at a flashy lounge bar; restaurant; and electronic club in the town, or on a boat–because she dresses for the boat she wants.
If I were a drink I would be: Sangria; it’s a good combination of bitter classics, wine, and fresh fruits.
Day drinking or night drinking: …Can I just drink whenever I want? #OpenFor24Hours
Fun fact: Youngsoo is a travel addict. For the past three years, she’s greeted New Years in a different country. Estonia will be the 30th country she’s visited and she’s very excited about it because she came to the business school to travel–don’t we all? #YoungMoney
Jenny “From the Block” Zhai
Don’t ask Jenny where she’s from if you don’t want to be confused as heck. Long story short, she hails from the far east, did a brief stint in the true north (Oh Canada) where they adopted her as one of their own, before moving stateside for less apologies and more Beyonce. Prior to Ross, Jenny worked the 20 hour banker and 4 hour club shifts in the Big Apple, so she knows a few things about work hard and play harder.
On MTrek you will find me: Indulging in local cuisines (foodies, where are you?), snapping shots for the gram, or turning up on the dance floor – early 2000’s hip hop and R&B is my jam!
If I were a drink I would be: Vodka, mixes with everything, good for all occasions — perfect for our dip into the vodka belt 🙂
Day drinking or night drinking: Like day drinking, looove night drinking.
Fun fact: Jenny still doesn’t have a driver’s license despite being Canadian and going to high school in Michigan (and being adult aged). She’s secretly hoping to hold out until autonomous vehicles become a thing or she earns enough to hire her own chauffeur (whichever happens first).
Cherish “The Savior” Anderson
Cherish from Chicago, loves to salsa dance and shop. Fair warning, don’t ask her to go shopping with you unless you want to be blamed for her spending–yep, she’s one of those. It’s important to note that although her blame game is strong, she can give you killer fashion advice–cheers to that. Prior to Ross, Cherish worked as an Engineer; but, she’s trading in her hard hat for a sweet and savory career–she loves to eat, so why not become a marketer in the food industry? Having lived in 3 states and 4 cities in the midwest, Cherish also aspires to become a Midwest tour guide.
On MTrek you will find me: Shopping (of course), dutty wining on the dance floor, trying out local food, and helping you find the best angle for your vacation photoshoot.
If I were a drink I would be: Spicy pineapple moscow mule because, like me, it is sweet and spicy at the same da%$ time. I meant to type dang–lol, right.
Day drinking or night drinking: Day drinking + 3 Hour Nap + Night drinking = Heaven
Fun fact: Do not let Cherish fool you because she’s a tough gal, having completed two Tough Mudders. You have to be tough to complete the Tough Mudder right? Well technically…nevermind.
Hao “The Digger” Ran
Hao is from Luoyang, an ancient capital of China, and moved to Shanghai for 10 years. After college, Hao decided to “go back into wild” as a drilling engineer in the oil and gas industry: he drilled 8-10 holes per year in the middle of Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea and various deserts. Last year, Hao decided to rejoin civilization by coming to business school. But one habit from his last job remains…drinking on the plane.
On MTrek you will find me: Finding the best restaurants to eat at. Use me as one counter indicator when you order food.
If I were a drink I would be: Whiskey, but I’ve never been to Alain’s whiskey club (sorry Alain).
Day drinking or night drinking: Night drinking. My day is for sleep. #NightOwl
Fun fact: The only time I don’t drink during a trip is when I scuba dive. But, when you’re below water for 30 minutes, you feel drunk because of nitrogen narcosis. #SafetyFirst
Dhruv “The Groovy” Dhawan
Dhruv is from LA LA land, and although he loves the sun he has embraced life as a true Michigander. He moved to India at a young age and returned to Cali for college. Prior to Ross, he got the life sucked out of him doing public accounting, causing him to switch to a marketing role at a company that helps people go to the bathroom–true passion right there. Travel is another passion of his and he’s also started a business at Ross–he’s a business…man.
On MTrek you will find me: Trying to boost morale, being groovy on the dance floor, and enjoying delicious food with the group… or at a kebab shop at 5am with the #5AMCrew.
If I were a drink I would be: Jack & Coke because it gives you a great buzzzzz–que [section] three hive–and its tall, dark, and handsome.
Day drinking or night drinking: Night drinking when it’s dark out, and day drinking when it’s light out. I like to keep it simple
Fun fact: Dhruv was a contestant on the Price is Right during his junior year of college. He didn’t win, but got 3 minutes of fame in LA LA land.