Wednesday, January 21, 2015

VLN (Vilnius)

I'm not going to make up an excuse about why I didn't write before. I didn't because I am the master procrastinator, the laziness king! that being said, let me get onto the story.

I had been to Lithuania a couple of times before, to Kaunas as it's on the Via Baltica. For some reason I never went to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

It's a cute small city about a 100 Km west of the Belorussian border. I didn't know what to expect. Was it going to be similar to Tallinn?  Maybe not. Given its history, well, actually that applies to the entire country, the ties to Poland; Lithuania is a surprisingly religious country! Nothing I expected in the Baltics. Estonia is one of the most pagan countries in the world whilst there is a church almost in every corner in Vilnius; both Roman Catholic and Orthodox. Just beside my hostel there was that a pilgrimage church for Poles to the point that you could hear Polish being widely spoken around the chuch, that church is Aušros Vartai.

One thing that I noticed almost immediately was most pubs where outside the Old Town which made things a bit complicated. Given the fact that I'm extremely lazy, the 20ish minute walk to the center from the Old Town was too much for me. Therefor, I barely went out in VLN.

There are a couple of hills inside the town. One has the remains of a castle and the other one has three crosses, someone told that these one were "new" as the previous ones were destroyed in Soviet times. Not to confuse this one with the Hill of Crosses, the one in Vilnius has only three crosses, the other one not far from the Latvian border has a shitload of crosses.

I was living with my friends in a nice area near Kalvariju Turgus. Thirty minutes from the Old Town. Near an old football stadium. To get to the Old Town/Center you needed to cross a river, but cannot remember which one exactly, but it's either the Neris or the Vilnia.

Whilst in Lithuania I also went for a couple of days to Kaunas (again) and to Trakai. 

Overall, Lithuania was a good experience. I got to see good friends and made some new ones an int the short time I was there, I had visitors! Only time will tell when I'll be back, because for sure I will go back to the heart shaped country.