A Capital Review: Eastern Europe

The Baltics:
   · These countries are conveniently arranged in alphabetically order from N→S. The capitals are not.
   · Tallinn is on top.
   · Riga is the biggest and the one you're most likely to remember.  It sits on the Gulf of Riga, which is the only memorable geographical feature of the Baltics.
   · That leaves Vilnius. How do you keep Latvia straight from Lithuania? Lithuania has a 'u', so does Vilnius.

There's also the little mnemonic TRaVELL (Tallinn - Riga - Vilnius, Estonia - Latvia - Lithuania). Like everything else when you're dealing with the Baltics, there're two 'l's in 'travel'.

The Russias ( ± Moldova):
   · Regular (i.e. Big) Russian - Moscow
   · White (i.e. Bela) Russia - Minsk (of Seinfeld fame, "Rochelle, Rochelle: a young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk")
       ☞ Take home message: if you have 'Rus' in your name, your capital starts with an 'M'
   · Ukraine (formerly Little Russia) - Kiev, like the chicken.

   · Then there's the little step-child Moldova. Which sounds like Mulva, which rhymes with vulva. As opposed to Delores, which rhymes with clitoris. Its capital Chişinău, like clitoris, is all 'c' and 's'-y.

The Danube Bs:
   · Three capitals of Eastern Europe are on the Danube -  Bratislva, Budapest, & Belgrade. The river then goes on to form the Northern border of Bugaria.

   · If you can remember Slovakia, you should be able to remember its capital is Bratislava. And of course the capital of the other piece of the Former Czechoslovakia, Prague.

   · Then there's Budapest, which comes in two pieces: Buda (on the West bank) and Pest (on the East bank). Together they're the capital of the latter part of that empire famously of two pieces: Austria-Hungary.

That brings us to Belgrade and the Former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was always a load of BS, so:

Bosnia ⇒ Sarajevo
Belgrade ⇐ Serbia

Slovenia is just weird. It's like a spelling of Slovakia that went terribly wrong, which goes well with its capital, Ljubljana, that also looks terribly misspelled.

The capital of Croatia is Zagreb. I know this because Dr. Kovač of E.R. (the one with the funny 'c' in his name) is Croatian and he's always making lugubrious references to his dead family back in Zagreb. It can get hard to keep straight which country is which in this little minefield of nations; just remember, Croatia is the one shaped like a C.

There's also the two newbies to the Independent-Country Club: Kosovo and Montenegro. Conveniently, both capitals are P-initial, Pristina and Podgorica, respectively.


Tirane (Albania)
Skopje (Macedonia)
Sofia (Bulgaria)
Bucharest (Romania)
    ☞ Bucharest sounds like Eucharist, the eating of Christ's body and drinking of Christ's blood. Romania, home to Transylvania and Count Dracula, of non-Christ blood drinking fame. Coincidence?

To review: Travel in the Baltics requires 2 'l's. Seinfeld taught you everything you need to know about The Russias. The Danube: B's and divided empires. The B.S. of Yugoslavia. And TSSst across the bottom.

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