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What's really special in Eastern Europe in July?

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I have a little over a month and would like to explore a bit more of Eastern Europe. I'll be leaving Essen, in West Germany, on 2 July (after a week or so there attending Wagner's Ring Cycle). I'm flying back to Sydney, out of Amsterdam, on 5 August. I'll be travelling alone and using public transport.

Here's what I like:
- slow travel - at least 3 or 4 days in any one place - could be up to a week or two if there was something special on
- getting a sense of how locals live - much more than visiting churches and monuments
- getting a feel for the history, music, art and culture of the place (can include churches and monuments - also bars, galleries, concerts, theatres and local happenings)
- good food. Not 5 star restaurant artsy good but local specialities using seasonal ingredients good
- if I can pick up some opera performances I'm super happy. Not far behind: chamber music (especially contemporary composers), individual voice or choral singing (including church music), modern dance.
- I also love mineral/spa baths.

I have a tentative idea of a bit of a circle through Leipzig, Dresden(?), Wroclaw(?) Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk, Lubeck, Hamburg, Frisian islands and back to Schiphol. I'm also tempted by Riga, Talinn, St Petersburg but feel this is spreading myself too thinly. I could do a completely different sort of circle which included mainly those, of course.

I was in Berlin last year, so think I'll miss that this time, although I really enjoyed it, especially East Berlin. And Prague the year before for a James Joyce conference, plus earlier stays in the Czech republic so that's of less interest this time too. I've never been to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia or Russia, and have spent only limited time in East Germany, so these are the areas I'm thinking about.

Any good ideas? Not so much for an itinerary as such, but rather for special things in during July in these areas - I'd choose a couple and create an itinerary around them.

Your suggestions will be eagerly received, thanks in advance.

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