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Vilnius, the safe haven

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Everything has gone very well since I landed in Lithuania. However I must admit that I started to hate myself half way there on the plane, thinking “What the f*** am I doing and why the hell am I going to Lithuania?”. I even started to miss my mummy (typical reaction while facing scaring things). But as my Lithuanian host Aurelija told me : “Once you’ve started something, half of the job is already done”. Taking the plunge is hard but swimming in the flow is easy.

 

One thing I’ve seen from the plane really surprised me. It is clear that Lithuanians are not lacking trees. Big bushy trees everywhere. In Brittany, we’ve got 10 pigs for each inhabitant, in here they’ve got enough trees to surround each inhabitant with a forest. And these people love to live in nature so some of them live in square-shaped villages in the middle of a big forest, like RIGHT in the middle. My natural non-lithuanian reaction would be : “Whyyy, whyyy, would you want to live in the middle of the forest? With the wolves and everything.”

As soon as I landed in Vilnius and walked into the maze-like airport with a tiny hall (you have to see it to believe it), I could see the locals spotted me as the odd one out. Even more than myself, they were wondering what I was doing here. Two nice ladies helped me find the way to the station. And then, I just walked around to find a youth hostel (which is very easy but probably not ideal to find the crème de la crème of youth hostel). I had almost settled when I got invited to stay at a friend of a friend’s flat (= Indriga’s friend’s flat). The lovely Aurelija made an offer that I couldn’t refuse. Anything is better than a top bunk bed in a dorm. Getting my money back was not easy though, as the front desk’s old man couldn’t speak or understand a word of english, not even “bed” or “night”. Not ideal when you work in a youth hostel.

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Thursday night is Salsa night

Unexpectedly, soon after that, I ended up in a classy Salsa club downtown, shaking my booty on Ricky Martin’s “Un dos tres” while still sober. I didn’t see that coming. Really. I still can’t believe it. From what I heard in that club and on the radio, the music from the 90’s is still very popular. This morning I ate a crazy cheap – crazy good – breakfast to this song : Robert Miles – One and one, which brought me back to my worry-free childhood.

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More about the city. Vilnius is a beautiful baroque city with the largest old town in the whole of Europe. There are beautiful buildings and churches in every street and wonderful panoramas in many places. For the people who have always lived in smoothly paved streets, as myself, walking on the old cobbled streets can be challenging and require a permanent attention. Well, I’m the world champion of tripping so don’t take my word too seriously.

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View from the tower on top of the Gediminas Hill

I was lucky enough to spend my second night in Vilnius with full-on Lithuanian guys, a nice bunch of people for the coastal city Klaipeda. So I can safely say that I partied the Lithuanian way. I quickly understood that I would not stand a chance against them, when they bought three bottles of somekind of Schnapps “for the after-party”. This after party consisted of passing around the evil bottle of Schnapps, at what seemed to me like the speed of light. Also, don’t engage in rounds with locals over here, they drink much quicker than you and you’ll see pints of beer accumulating in front of you. 

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Apparently he shouldn’t have bet for Spain, painful night.

Surely, my wonderful host Aurelija and her mates were very helpful for making this trip unforgettable (except the part after the Schnapps). But I would honestly recommend this charming city to anyone in quest for a peaceful getaway. Food and drinks are cheap as chips and generally tasty. And most importantly, you don’t have to know the city that well or to use all of your brain capacity on maps to discover all of its beauty. I didn’t even have a look at a map of the city and yet I’ve seen so many wonderful things. 

  • Atmosphere : ****
  • Food : ***
  • Wifi : **
  • Budget : **
  • Comment : So chiiiiilled. Lovely.

imageMy face the day after drinking the Schnapps

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A calm haven around the river with an alternative lifestyle and art galleries.

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These are not potatoes. They’re big rolled potato-mash dumpling with pork in it. Cepollinai they’re called.

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