The rest of Vilnius
The Rest of Vilnius
Since I’ve been home for a month, I personally think that I really need to wrap up my ramblings from Eurotrip Spring 2016. I am saving the Museum of Genocide Victims, aka the KGB museum for a post all on its own though. I don’t want to mix that with things like “this is what I ate and I loved this beer!” It just deserves its own post and respect. The day of tiredness ended with a really delicious dinner at Forto Dvaras - which did not disappoint. If you want authentic Lithuanian food with employees in traditional dress (I did!) go there.
This was the first place I had any kind of dessert. Even while on vacation, I usually pick dessert or a glass of wine or beer, not both. But upon realizing I had not eaten any sweets on day 6 of my trip and that I’d been walking all day and um, hello, ran a marathon 2 days before, I decided it was okay to splurge. I ordered the chocolate cake pictured above, the taste almost reminded me of fudge. The dinner was also really good, I ate a salad with some pickled vegetables and mushrooms, two pork dumplings that were amazing, and I sampled all of the local liqueurs on that paddle pictured above. The one on the far left was my favorite and I finished it, the rest I didn’t really care for as they were very bitter. I think I could develop a taste for them. I ended up ordering a beer too. I again appreciated the slow pace of life in a European restaurant, I like dining alone and people watching.
I went to bed that night at a fairly early hour because I was actually tired and watched a little bit of tv at the apartment. Since it was satellite, there were some interesting channels. I found myself watching a program on the channel from Belarus that had very young children in ballet costumes doing a dance they made up to creepy music. It was then I decided to go to bed and I slept through the entire night! The only wake-up was when my sister called me a little before 4 am local time/8 or 9 pm Chicago time to get approval for certain things for my dog because she had to take him to the emergency room. That woke me up and made me nervous for a bit - and it was a scary time but a month later and he is much better - I’m happy to report. I was worried about Rocco the rest of the trip, but this was the first night I slept until about 6:30/7 am and got almost a full 7 hours of sleep.
My next day in Vilnius was when I started at the KGB museum and as I mentioned earlier, that will be another post, but I also managed to meet a local that afternoon when I was walking down Gediminas Street. After the museum, I was hungry and wanted to explore the city on the other side of the Neris river, so I ended up in non-English speaking territory and had a really cheap and tasty lunch, explored a Russian Orthodox church where I did have to cover my head with my scarf, and then walked along the river seeing the locals riding bikes or out for midday runs and walks until I crossed back into the other part of the city where I stopped into a cafe for a coffee to go.
It was about this time that I ran into a local who was in town from Glasgow visiting his family. He walked out in front of me after buying something at a kiosk and in an effort to not block my path, moved and had to immediately duck and miss a low-hanging tree branch. He turned around and said something in Lithuanian and I shrugged and said “I don’t speak Lithuanian” and then he told me what he’d said - that the tree needed trimming - and fell into step with me for 3 blocks. He asked me where I was from, why I was in Vilnius and for how long, and then said he needed to go but asked for my number so he could show me around the city later. I gave him my number thinking that I would never hear from him again and then ascended the Hill of Crosses, went to a museum, and walked through the Bernardine Gardens before going back to the apartment for a rest and refresh before heading to dinner.
Around 6:30 pm, when I was halfway to a restaurant for dinner where they served beaver and other game I was interested to try, I got a phone call from the local asking me to meet him. I really could not believe it. We had a short chat about where to meet and I was hesitant at first but then I abandoned my solo plans thinking he could probably show me an interesting place that I wouldn’t know about and set off to meet him. I’m glad that I did. We walked around the city for about 45 minutes with him showing me the presidential palace (the President of Romania was visiting and I’d seen their motorcade earlier that day), and then we walked towards the Arts district - which I’d read about prior to coming but had completely forgotten about visiting! I’m so glad that I met up with him. We had a really nice and relaxing dinner at Uzupio Kavine which had deck/patio on the river. The weather was beautiful so we were able to eat outside and enjoy the sunset and the mellow mid-week ambiance of the restaurant. A better photo of the restaurant exists here. PS, it took me a very long time to find the name of that place by searching for it on a Google map in Vilnius.
After dinner, we took a stroll through Uzupis to see some highlights in the very unique and artsy Bohemian neighborhood, we parted ways because he had to get back to his mother’s house since he was visiting them for the first time in 3 years and headed back to Glasgow in a few days. It was really nice to have someone to talk to for an extended period of time who spoke English. I was not lonely, I like traveling alone, but I also like talking to people who didn’t grow up in the same country as me and who have a completely different perspective of the world from my own.
I went to sleep that night a little sad that I was leaving the next day.