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 my no fly rule – and then on to Vilnius by train. The train was pretty slow but at least the carriage was modern and the seats good. The train station in Vilnius is just a block or so from the Old Town so we simply walked to our hotel right at the edge of Old Town. And…here comes the first tip of the blog: Vilnius Studio Appartments offer really nice flats for a good price, we got a really nice one for a total of 80 euros for two days.
After unloading our bags we went out to see the city, luckily for us most worthwhile sights in Vilnius are within the relatively small Old Town so no other transport than a pair of good shoes is needed. We visited the giant white block of a cathedral and the belfry next to it then made a wide circle around the national museum until we found a small elevator up to the top of the Gediminas hill and the old tower up there. It’s a pretty nice little red brick tower with a great view of the city. Too bad I no longer have a panorama making program but I can still show you the tower itself.
From the top of the hill we saw three large white crosses on the next hill and decided to go there. It was quite an awesome sight to see three giant crosses and the view from up there was not bad either. Having climbed two mountains that day we headed down and took a stroll along the shallow river until we found the break away republic of Uzupia. This is a small area of the city, right next to the river, full of vagrants, drunkards and artist who one day decided to break free from Lithuania and form a new state. Of course it is all a joke – a good one at that – but they do have a constitution on one of the walls, proudly declaring the right to be happy, the right for dogs to be dogs and other similar things. I really enjoy this little joke and i recommend any visitor to take a gander at the constitution. The republic itself is nice but not much different from the rest of the old town though perhaps a bit more dilapidated.
The crosses on the second hill (seen from Gediminas hill)
The entrance to Uzupia republic
Picture of the constitution with a reflection of the photographer
By the time we were back in Lithuania, it was nearing dinner time so we went to a restaurant called Rene on a small side street close to the town hall. The food was good but not great, what did make it worth a recommendation though, is the very friendly and funny staff.
All in all, one can see much by just walking around in the old town of Vilnius, you don’t even have to have a guide book, there are so many old churches and houses you will get your full share by just taking a random walk. Not to mention that there are signs to all the main sights so no need to worry that you will miss anything good. Tomorrow it’s time for the Trakai national park.