After our very brief day in Kaunas, we headed to the capital of Lithuania: Vilnius. We had 4 days there, which would prove to be ample. We had also booked a rather swish hotel so we could have a bit of comparative luxury after having cheap hotels for the past week.
Vilnius had a very different vibe form Poland, and even Kaunas. It wasn’t quite as relaxed, however that is somewhat understandable considering it is a capital city. The old town is meant to be one of the biggest in Europe, but if I’m honest, it was lacking in something. Maybe because it was so big, it just felt like any other big town. But that’s enough negativity, because that’s far from how we actually felt about the place!
We saw the usual things to see in the old town: the old churches, castle hill, and old streets. They were jolly spiffing places to be.
As the rain hit on the second day (yay rain!) we went to the palace by the castle hill (which, strangely enough, was a hill that had a castle on it. Who’d knew?!). It was a museum displaying the history of the city, as well as the old church/palace/castle. The excavations of the old cellars were on display as well as many artifacts, so called because they combine arty stuff with the fact that they exist…Hence artifacts.
After the palace, we did something rather unusual for us, and went to a restaurant offering local food at inflated prices – although it was one of the few places offering sheltered outdoor seating so that we could enjoy the rain without getting wet. Sam had beetroot soup with potatoes, which apparently was very nice. Will had Cepelinai – potato dumplings with meat. They were tasty enough, but the amount of oil that spewed out of them when they were cut open was enough to deep-fry all of McDonalds’ chips for a week. Still, the location was nice.
On our last day we took a day trip to Trakai. Trakai is an old town with a castle that used to be the capital, and is renowned for being a favourite destination for the locals. It was certainly a beautiful spot with the town built on a spot of land that was surrounded by lakes.
After another traditional lunch (this time Will won with a delicious beef stew, while Sam had what turned out to be chicken wings and chips) we ventured to the local castle. Located on an island, the castle has been completely reconstructed after being badly damaged during the second would war. Whilst not as impressive as Malbork castle which we had seen in Poland, it was a pretty place and held lots of exhibits in its maze of rooms.
Mu was also punished after laughing at how Will farted on a child’s head when it kept getting in the way.
Despite the initial unsure feeling, we left having enjoyed Vilnius. It may not have the charm of some of the other places that we have been to, and perhaps isn’t as pretty, but it certainly felt more real. Next up however was the city we had heard the most about in the Baltics: Riga.