West to East Micronesia China Mongolia Russia Baltic Region Visegrad Region Balkan Penninsula East to West Ancient Civilizations Straddling the Straight Southern Africa Eastern Africa Ethiopia United Arab Emirates South Asia Crossing Photo Album Trip Logistics Itinerary Transport Logs Route Maps About Us
Two Years & Twice Around the World...  

Lithuanian Flag LITHUANIA


Sept. 14 - 15. VILNIUS It felt good to be back in Vilnius and we were now confident that our affection for the city was not in reaction to our miserable time in Russia.  We could have just spent the night and gone directly on to Poland but somehow we were easily convinced to pause an extra day.  In that time we relived our favorite restaurant, Zemaiciu Smukle, this time sitting in the restaurant's back patio in nice weather as we enjoyed the gooey cheese smothered hot bread, visited our bakery lady, drank coffee and cholocate at our cafe on Gedimino Street, ate breakfast at the Uzupio Pizzeria, shopped for yet more amber, and leisurely took in more of the Uzupio neighborhood.

The landlady at our hostel gave us a gregarious welcome and the fresh smell of the sheets in our room was comforting.  Something about having the time to revisit places you know and like reinforces such a feeling of familiarity in a relatively short time, like you had been going there your whole life.  We frequented the Uzupio Kavine a few times in the day and half we were back in town.   The real hot chocolate, literally melted chocolate with hazelnuts and a suspected dab of some liquor, was heaven as I tapped away on the laptop on the deck that overhung the river.  

We explored further into the Uzupio, up the main street, to discover an altogether new cafe with an enormous patio overlooking the city, and down the side streets to see all of the old buildings being made new again as the area changed from old and rundown to hip and trendy.  Our newly found cafe was the best view we had seen of Vilnius and we had nearly missed it!  From the far side of Gediminas Hill we walked along the winding tree-lined length of the Vilna River until again we reached the entrance to Uzupio where the pathway passed through an artist workshop along the river and brought into the backyard of Uzupio Kavine.  It was a lovely place.

We just happened to arrive in Vilnius during Vilnius days and booths filled the streets of old town, selling craft and home made foods.  On our first night back the excitement culminated in Lithuania's winning an important basketball tournament against Spain.  The city exploded with cheers and fireworks that lasted past midnight..  We could hear them from our hostel room.  Even the next day when we were strolling through the amber shops the young women at the register were gleefully singing their winning anthem.  The whole city felt like a small neighborhood.

We again had an early rise to catch our bus to Warsaw.  We had planned to take the public bus to the station but ended up walking the entire way instead.  We were again riding on Eurolines but we had learned that not all of the buses were as flash as the first ride we'd taken to Estonia.  All in all there were pretty good but that last bus from Riga to Vilnius had a smelly toilet and small seats.  Our gruff bus driver, an unhappy Russian fellow, drove fast to the spa town of Druskininkai, near the Polish and Belarusian borders.   The green landscape flew by, sparsely populated with little farm house, carefully protected by storks nests.  Each house had erected its own stork pole that towered above the home and without fail the top of each pole was inhabited by a stork.  The landscape also included a sporadic display of a kind of totem poles.  These were surely not of the Eskimo variety but in a smaller, narrower form were a constant part of the landscape.   The origin of these I still need to research - just another reason to return to Lithuania.

LITHUANIA Vilnius Aug 30 Aug 31 Sept 1-2 Sept 3 Sept 4-5

ESTONIA Tallinn Sept 6-8

FINLAND Helsinki Sept 9

ESTONIA Tallinn Sept 10-11

LATVIA Riga Sept 12-13

LITHUANIA Vilnius Sept 14-15