Saturday, January 28, 2012

Intro to Vilnius

I got thirty minutes' free access to the internet in our hotel's business center so I'm writing about our extraordinary day yesterday. I'll go back once we get home and add some pictures.

As I explained in my last post, Alla launched us on a cold-weather excursion to Vilnius, Lithuania. Our expedition started out with a pleasant ride in a somewhat-chilly train car from Minsk. I was glad the train car heating system couldn't keep up with air leaks in the front of the car because I was wearing warm ski pants and a thick fleece jacket. Alla also dressed warmly, so we decided to walk from the train station to the hotel. I had already mapped out a route on Google Maps and knew some of the landmarks we could pass on the way. Not surprisingly, we didn't encounter a lot of other pedestrians. We ourselves enjoyed the privilege of being out on the beautiful streets of Vilnius and walking along a bike path without too much snow and ice under our feet.

The hotel we chose turned out to be a little simpler than we expected, but we like the location and the very attentive staff. We intended to make short commando raids on the town, retreating to our hotel when we needed to warm up. It turned out that we didn't need to return to the hotel except to set a few things down. As long as we kept moving, we felt warm enough. This is especially true for Alla, who bought a pretty and very warm wool sweater at an outdoor market. She amused both the vendor and me by disrobing enough in the bitter cold to try on unique and beautiful wool sweaters and dresses at her stand. I think Alla was actually warmer than the vendor and I, since she was quite active undressing and dressing at top speed.

Vilnius is filled with beautiful churches, a fantastic and very historic university, and many architectural treasures. We started off with a planned route but got lost when we exited the university by a different door than we entered. From that moment forward, we never quite knew where we were. We knew we hadn't left the old town area, however, and anticipated that we could find our way home on the map whenever we wanted. But we really didn't want to find our way home because we kept finding wonderful pastry shops, enticing restaurants, cozy bookstores, amazing crafts galleries and gorgeous buildings. We finally decided we really could not eat anything more when we left the last restaurant at about 8:00 after an early dinner. Intending to go home, we decided to meander down our favorite street one more time before settling into our room. Finally we did succed in getting home, but it took a lot longer than we expected because we kept finding more things to investigate and photograph.

Today we will start with a trip to an indoor farmers market at a big shopping mall. We expect that this will give us opportunities to buy stuff we can't get easily in Minsk. In particular, I plan to buy some peanut butter and Alla plans to find some unfamiliar kinds of cheese.

So far we haven't eaten any pigs' ears. We did see them on the menu yesterday, but the waiter recommended against them. Maybe later!

No comments:

Post a Comment