This is only what I remeber of Lithuania and quickly wrote
down during the trip. I'm sure I've missed some details here and
there. Sorry! It's chronological, mostly.
Because of the new focus on cities instead of riding and the ongoing bad
weather, the route from Lithuania was almost
entirely made out of highways. This short ride had some of the worst weather
yet. Strong winds, bad asphalt and plenty of rain. Visibility was minimal,
traffic was dense and the speed was almost constantly over 130 km/h. I was
glad for a change to find myself in the thick city traffic of Vilnius.
Hotel Congress was easy to find and would serve as my base of operations for
the coming two days. Because of the high tempo on the way over I arrived
early. The uptight Russian lady behind the counter told me to wait until my
pre-booked check in time. Ugh, I really hate bureaucracy. While I was waiting
in the lobby she occasionally looked at me with these makeup covered spiteful
eyes of hers. Very disturbing.
The next morning, after breakfast, the third city of my city trip was
next. Check out the city, have a few beers and leave. It felt like a new
routine. The weather wasn't that much better, although it did stop raining in
the morning. Like a real tourist, I planned on visiting old town first. The
city center with all the nice buildings, squares and cafes.
Old town is beautiful. Most of the buildings are nicely restored, the streets
are cozy and clean. Lots of old, monumental religious buildings are dotted
across the city center. But once you step outside of old town, and this border
is quite obvious, it's like stepping back in time. The nice cars are replaced
with old wrecks, the nice buildings are replaced with dull Soviet architecture
and the cobble stones turn into cracked concrete. But things are rapidly
changing. With the recent economic growth you can clearly see several projects
underway to modernize Vilnius as a whole.
After seeing most of the old town it was time for my beer. I spotted a bunch
of empty chairs and tables in a park where I could enjoy peace and tranquility
while having a taste of the local brew. Because of the rainy weather I had the
park for myself. The first beer was a nice German-ish
pilsener. Švyturys. Nothing special, but an easy drink. The waitress convinced
me to try Baltijos, of the same brewery. Now that's a nice, interesting
beer. With a hint of caramel and roast grain it's not too sweet. This might
work well with a hearty meal.
Just when I was enjoying this Baltijos, the heavens opened and it started
raining. There was only one parasol not leaking, so I took a seat under
that. The waitress had the same idea. With rain like that she didn't have to
worry about any potential customers. The rain didn't stop for the rest of the
afternoon and well into the evening. We got to know each other rather well.
The next morning, after breakfast, we said our goodbyes. When I wanted to
check out of the hotel I noticed the same Russian uptight lady behind the
counter. This bureaucrat was definitely going to make a fuss about this. But,
as it turns out, the iron Russian wasn't as cold-hearted as I thought she
would be. No extra charge. I thanked her and went on my way to