The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Month July 2011

Sigulda with a guide

The plan for today was to look around a bit more in Riga and in the afternoon I would go to an old Soviet bunker and fire an AK-47 but, after thinking things over for a while we figured out it might be wiser to switch plans so, at the spur of a moment we signed up for a tour to the national park in Sigulda.

Normally I avoid tours like the plague because there is too little freedom, they take too much time and take you to too many place that are not interesting, as some kind of diversions … Read the rest

Rainy Riga

Today me and Yini have explored Riga’s old town accompanied by grey skies and intermittent drizzle. The old town of Riga, much like that of Vilnius, is full of churches, merchant houses and other old buildings covered in ornaments. Unlike Vilnius most of it is in good shape with brightly painted walls and unbroken masonry; it seems the Latvians have done a better job of either preserving or restoring its old town. There is more life on the streets of Riga as well, the ground floors of nearly all the buildings hold small shops and there are several cafes on … Read the rest

Hill of crosses

Today we visited what is supposed to be Lithuania’s most incredible place – and you will see why I agree with that statement. The hill is a short distance outside the town of Siauliai so – on recommendation from the tourist office – we rented a couple of bikes and off we went. You notice directly when you have reached the place because you see the hill from a distance and once you do you just want to get closer.

It is not a big area, just two small hills in the middle of nowhere,  covered by crosses. When I … Read the rest

Hill of crosses 10:38 am

Photos cannot truly describe this place, there is simply too much of it. Crosses, thousands and thousands of crosses, all in a big jumble. Big crosses, small crosses, iron crosses and wooden ones. Two small hills in the middle of nowhere completely covered by them. Some are simple some are ornate, the  smaller ones hanging off bigger ones, crosses all around. Intermingled with the multitude of crucifixes are Jesus status and other religious symbols. That the weather is slightly cloudy doesn’t matter, the experience itself overshadows such trivial matters. My words however, just like a photo, are insufficient to describe … Read the rest

Making a base in Siauliai

We have been without internet for a while but we are now having dinner in a restaurant with free wi-fi nearby so here come an update.

Yesterday we spent the morning in Vilnius, going to the Gate of Dawn which turned out to be much less amazing than the name suggests. Actually most other city gates are more worthwhile except this one has a small church on top, kind of cool. We walked around a bit more, then went back to our hotel to pack our stuff. On the way to the bus station we had lunch at a chain … Read the rest

Trakai National Park

One of Lithuania’s big national parks, Trakai is just half an hour or so away from Vilnius. So, having heard that it should be worth a visit we hopped on a bus around lunchtime (we slept all morning after a long first day) and went there. Since we got there around noon we decided to eat some local food for lunch. When I say local I mean Karaite food; the Karaites are a turkish people who have been living in the area since the 1400’s. They were originally brought to the area to be body guards for the king. Apparently … Read the rest

Kronoborg Castle 2:59 pm

There is something rotten in the state of denmark…it is raining so hard that visiting hamlets old castle is less than fun. We are standing in the tunnel through the second battlement, cowering from the rain. The vaults overhead are white except the last one before entering the castle grounds, which has been painted a bright orange; through its opening we see the big main building, yellowish grey masonry with a maroon roof and a high, ornamented copper spire tapering to a point, piercing the milky sky. I wish I could se more of this famous fortress but it will … Read the rest

Stenbron Arild, 10:46 pm

The sky has been painted in a lustrous gradient from dark blue above my head seamlessly changing to a lighter blue then yellow and finally pink bordering on orange. Grey clouds sweep across the pink like heavy brush strokes, turning to solid at the horizon. I know there is no land there but the cliffs are there no less. Right below the horizon a gleaming streak of yellowish white from left to right, like the trail of some fast-moving thing. The water is otherwise a greyish blue, ever so slightly tinted in yellow and pink where it mirrors the sky. … Read the rest

To Vilnius, and the start of the first Landtravel trip

Today I and my girlfriend embarked on the first land travel trip. Apparently my girlfriend doesn’t share the same romantic notions of traveling on land that I have, neither does she share the notion of dreariness and cruel sterility of airplanes that I have. So, when we were planing the trip she insisted on flying, and having a low budget we opted for Ryanair; or Greedy Bastard Airlines as I shall henceforth call them.

So, ungodly early this morning we got up and went to the airport in Göteborg, from there we flew to Kaunas in Lithuania – immediately breaking … Read the rest

The concept of land travel

Before telling my avid readers (none?) about my travels, I will dedicate one post to describing the concept of land travel that i am trying to embody in this blog. I realize in writing this, that I might want to put it the About section for the blog but in the famous words of the poet Twetman “Screw it”. Anyway, I must not let myself be distracted and let the readers suffer for it, on to the concept.

I have always traveled a lot, probably one or two trips outside the country per year ever since I was young. For … Read the rest

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