VilniusMarch 6, 2020 in Lithuania ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C
Very busy here. Our hotel is in the middle of festival that lasts for the hole weekend. But we got there at the end.....
Very busy here. Our hotel is in the middle of festival that lasts for the hole weekend. But we got there at the end.....
Weil ich ein fauler Sack bin gibts den Reisebericht nur in Stichpunkten lol:
- der wahrscheinlich kürzeste Flug meines Lebens (25min)
- Vilnius sieht aus wie ein Mix aus skandinavischen Ländern und Altdeutschland (mit einer kräftigen Note Kommunismus in den Randgebieten)
- traditionell russisches Essen schmeckt bei Oma und Opa immer noch am Besten (der Schaschlik war aber nicht schlecht)
- shoppen ist echt schwer wenn selbst XS vier Nummern zu groß ist (siehe Bild lol)
- der Kaffee ist seeehr gut
- hab erst ungefähr 5% von dem gelernt was ich für Anatomie können muss und werd am Mittwoch abgefragt (läuft)
- Zugtickets kosten anscheinend nur 20€, was wahrscheinlich dazu führen wird dass ich im Laufe meines Studiums noch ein paar Mal hier landen werde
- ein Einheimischer hat mir nach dem Essen ein Tuch angeboten als er gemerkt hat dass ich verzweifelt nach meinen Tempos suche
- wenn man das Reisen liebt, aber keine Touristen, dann scheint Litauen das perfekte Land zu seinRead more
In Vilnius stellen wir nur schnell unser Gepäck in den Hotelzimmern ab und machen uns dann mit dem Bus auf den Weg ans andere Ende der Altstadt. Von dort aus führt uns Maik durch die Straßen. Was hier (und auch schon in Trakai) auffällt, sind die vielen Brautpaare, die mit einem Fotografen von Motiv zu Motiv laufen.
Außerdem ist in Vilnius gerade das Fest der Minderheiten. Laut Wikipedia lebten im Jahr 2017 offiziell 574.221 Einwohner oder 22 % der Bevölkerung Litauens in Vilnius, davon 54,43 % Litauer, 18 % Polen und 13 % Russen, der Rest verteilt sich auf weitere 125 Nationalitäten, 66 % der Einwohner waren katholisch. Dieser Mix wird hier gefeiert.
Unsere Führung startet beim Tor der Morgenröte. Es befindet sich in der Stadtmauer und von der dem Stadtinnern zugewandten Seite aus führt eine Treppe zu einer Galerie im oberen Bereich hinauf, wo sich eine Torkapelle mit der als wundertätig verehrten Ikone, eine Schwarze Madonna, der Barmherzigen Muttergottes, befindet. Es ist ein Wallfahrtsort, zu dem viele Pilgern, weswegen wir auch nicht in die Galerie gehen, um keinen zu stören.
Beim weiterlaufen kommen wir an einer Brücke vorbei, an der eine Schaukel hängt, manchmal sei diese sogar trockenen Fußes zu erreichen...
Dann kommen wir ins Künstlerviertel. Es gibt viele heruntergekommene Häuser, aber die ein oder andere Stelle wurde durch alte Klaviere (à la vintage) aufgepeppt. Wir kommen auch an der Literatenstraße vorbei, dort hängen verschiedene kleine Symbole, die an einen litauischen Schriftsteller erinnern sollen.
Etwas weiter finden wir auch verschiedene Tafeln. Auf Ihnen steht die "Verfassung" des Künstlerviertels in jeder Menge verschiedener Sprachen. Ein Gesetz wäre zum Beispiel, dass es das Recht eines jeden ist, zu sterben, er aber nicht dazu verpflichted ist.
Etwas außerhalb der Altstadt ist das "Gotische Eck". Dort stehen zwei wunderschöne Backsteinkirchen nebeneinander, die den Krieg überlebt haben. Jedoch können wir nur in eine hinein, da gerade eine Messe stadtfindet.
Bevor es zum Abendessen geht, machen wir noch einen Abstecher zum Cathedral Square. Die Kathedrale St. Stanislaus und St. Ladislaus, auch Cathedral Basilica genannt, ist die römisch-katholische Kathedrale des Erzbistums Vilnius. Das imposante Gebäude mit dem grossen Glockenturm ist eine der wichtigsten Gebetsstätten in Litauen. Aber auch hier ist gerade eine Messe.
Generell sind auffällig viele Kirchen in Vilnius. An manchen Stelle kann man drei Kirchen oder Kirchtürme gleichzeitig sehen!
Was auch auffällt, ist, dass viele Häuser sehr heruntergekommen sind, doch die meisten Leute mit dicken Luxusautos durch die engen Straßen fahren... macht nicht wirklich Sinn.
Nun ist es aber Zeit für das letzte gemeinsame Abendessen und alle verabschieden sich danach.
Im Hotel heißt es dann: vorbereiten für de Heimflug!Read more
Nadine hat sich einen Oreoshake gegönnt, ich mir einen Snickersshake. War eine gute Entscheidung, der Laden wieder eine gute Wahl für Shakes! Mit den Shakes sind wir weiter Richtung Hotel gelaufen, weiter durch die nassen Straßen. Am Hotel angekommen haben wir uns mit unseren Shakes hingelegt und den letzten Abend in Vilnius genossen. Die Zeit in Vilnius hat uns sehr gut gefallen! Sehr vieles gesehen, vieles erlebt. Von den unzähligen Kirchen, hin zu der wunderschönen Altstadt, zum Gediminas Turm und so vielen mehr. Auch von den Möglichkeiten des Essens waren wir sehr positiv überrascht. Wir hatten befürchtet, nicht viele Möglichkeiten zu haben. Zum Glück war es dann nicht so. Auch mit dem Wetter hatten wir unglaublich Glück. Es war zwar sehr warm, dafür auch wunderschön sonnig. Zum Ende des Urlaubs möchte ich nochmal ein ganzes Fazit zum Urlaub ziehen, daher jetzt nur ein kleines Fazit. Vilnius war definitiv einen Besuch wert und mit drei vollen Tagen waren wir genau die richtige Länge hier. Morgen steht die Abreise aus Vilnius und daher auch die Fahrt nach Lettland, genauer gesagt Riga, an. Auf dem Weg wollen wir uns dann noch zwei Sachen, das Schloss Trakai und das große Kemeri Moor, ansehen. Auch heute waren wir wieder gut unterwegs, nicht so viel wie die letzten Tage. Mit 9 gegangenen Kilometern (14.058 Schritte) trotzdem eine gute Menge für den eigentlich ruhigen Tag in Vilnius. Mit dem Ausblick auf die Fahrt und das Sightseeing morgen hieß es dann frühzeitig schlafen um Kraft zu tanken. Ein letztes Mal Gute Nacht Vilnius! Labos nakties, Vilnius!Read more
Just some E scooting!
For all those ones.
Vrijstaat in Vilnius
I believe I can gauge a feeling for a country by spending a day wandering the streets and carefully watching the people. So that is what I basically spent the day doing.
Our hotel is conveniently located right outside the city gate. This makes it very convenient for exploring the old town, but it is still far enough away from the hustle and bustle to provide a delightfully quiet sanctuary.
Near the hotel I discovered a lovely flower and fruit market. As I wandered the aisles, my gaze was quickly drawn to the beautiful looking strawberries and cherries. I have found in previous overseas trips that the standard of these fruits in Australia is very poor when compared to other countries. I ordered a bag of cherries for the grand sum of 3 Euro (about $5 Australian) and spent the next 30 minutes savouring their incredible sweetness and juiciness. They were certainly among the best I have ever tasted and I will certainly return tomorrow for some more.
My meanderings then took me right into the city, down to the Vilnia and Neris Rivers. As I walked I could see that the city was in a state of transition. While there were still many older, decaying buildings from the Soviet era, there was also a lot of modern development also taking place. It reminded me of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon that it had been trapped in for decades.
One thing that is also clear is that Soviets had no idea how to make good concrete. Every concrete structure that they built is rapidly crumbling to dust, almost before your very eyes. It is little wonder what happened at Chernobyl, thirty years ago.
Since the day was rapidly heating up, I decided to spend some time sitting in the park, under the shade of the trees, just watching life passing by. There was a mixture of young mothers with children, middle aged people and a few plump babushkas, some of them in national dress.
At breakfast time we had received a notice that we had arrived in Vilnius just in time to enjoy a festival of senior dancing and singing. That sounded like a great way to observe .some of the rich culture, so I set off to find where it was being held. Along the way I met Ross & Fran and Lothar and Celia. While we were chatting in the street, we were joined by an uninvited interloper. It was an obviously a very queer Englishman who had apparently come to Vilnius to take part in the gay pride parade. He tried to persuade us to ditch the ladies and join him at the parade. We politely declined. I still cannot understand what actually happened.
At 3 pm we managed to find the location where the folk dancing was to take place. Unfortunately it was in the full sun and the temperature was souring. I felt sorry for all the dancers dressed in their hot costumes. Whoever designed those clothes did not take global warming into account.
The dancing was spirited and very colourful, however the baking sun started to make my head feel like I was growing crackling. After 30 minutes we had to leave to seek some shade.
On days such as this there is nothing better than a lovely ice cream, especially when a heaped double scoop in a cone costs only 2 Euro.
There are now 17 members of our team in Vilnius. There should have been 20, but Peter & Brigitte and John Mudgway had been delayed at Warsaw airport. At last update the flight was 7 hours late and counting. That meant that they missed dinner and the first briefing with our local guide. Marg's missing luggage is still missing and one of our team is feeling ill. Apart from that, everything is going fine - especially when we heard that Australian Ash Barty had won the French Open tennis championship.
At 7 pm a young fellow answering to the name "Lucas" introduced himself as our local guide and led us to a nearby restaurant for dinner. After an enjoyable meal I am now back at the hotel. The time is well after 10 pm, but due to the bright light outside, it feels like 7 pm.
And so ends our first full day in Lithuania.Read more
For me, one of the very best parts of travel are the unexpected things that can happen when you least expect them. I like to refer to these as the "serendipity of travel". One of these events happened today, but I guess I should first start at the beginning.
Late last night the final three members of our team finally arrived from Warsaw. They were not happy that they had spent an extra 7 hours at Warsaw airport, but I tried to make sure they knew they had not been forgotten by arranging for last night's restaurant to prepare three dinner boxes for them.
Now that all twenty riders are present and accounted for, the only thing still missing is Marg's luggage. We had all been hoping that it would turn up from the airport, but so far there is no sign of it. This means that she may have to buy another suitcase and a basic assortment of clothes. There is of course still some chance that it might be found before we leave Vilnius tomorrow morning.
After breakfast we met outside the hotel with Lucas. The plan was for him to take us on a walking tour of the city. He certainly knows a lot about Lithuanian history and he did his best to tell us most of it in the two hour walk. He would have made an excellent auctioneer.
After the heat of the previous few days we were glad that the day started overcast and relatively cool, however it did not stay that way. Once the early clouds cleared, the temperature steadily climbed back up again. It is beginning to look like all the cool weather gear we jammed into our cases will never see the light of day.
Since our team is now complete, we also took the opportunity to don our new Ghostrider shirts. I have to admit that they were so bright that I am sure they would have been visible from the moon. I suspect some of the locals thought that we were in town for the gay pride celebrations. We certainly got noticed.
It was only after the tour was over that the unexpected event happened. A small group of us were walking down a small back street of the town. We were interrupted by a distinctive Aussie voice "Hello Ghostriders". We all looked around to see where the voice had come from. We saw a neatly dressed couple looking at us.
"We have been reading all about you", the man added. He then proceeded to prove that he knew who we were by telling us that we were here to ride from Vilnius to Tallinn. I must have looked confused as he then went on to explain exactly what had happened.
Apparently he had seen our brightly dressed walking peloton earlier in the morning. He had been so impressed by our magnificent physiques than he went home to look us up on the Internet. It was then just sheer chance that we happened to walk down the very street where he lived.
He explained that he had Lithuanian parents, but had spent most of his early life in Australia, before returning to Lithuania with his wife some twenty years ago. He still followed Australian football and returned home almost every year. After a long chat we parted company, marvelling at how the whole event had taken place.
Our group then dispersed around the city. I wandered rather aimlessly,sometimes stopping to watch the locals. At one point I spent some time watching three well dressed (and very competent) girls playing string classics on two violins and a cello. Another highlight.
By mid afternoon I was feeling hungry and noticed a French restaurant called the Cafe Montmartre. I went in and started to enjoy a lovely Coq au Vin. It was at that point that a disaster occurred. Somehow the gravy from my plate leapt across and deposited itself right down the front of my florescent Ghostriders shirt. And it was the first time I had worn it ! Oh the embarrassment, oh the shame.
I quickly finished the rest of the lunch and tried to walk back to the hotel with my hands held in front of shirt. With the colour of these shirts it is not as if you can quietly merge into the crowd. I might as well have had a siren and searchlight on me. It was not my finest hour.
Once back at the hotel the famous lines of Shakespeare's Macbeth came back to me ("Out damned spot") as I worked furiously to restore the shirt to its former glory. I almost succeeded - the spot has now been reduced to a level that would only be visible to someone with at least some eyesight. It's now hanging up to dry.
Tomorrow we will be saying goodbye to Vilnius. I am sure that our memories of this place will be very positive, but the adventure must continue. After all, we came to cycle and that is exactly what we will begin tomorrow.Read more
Question - Which key on the keyboard do you use the most often ?
Answer - the space bar of course
And why did I start with this strange question ? Because that is the key on my laptop that has decided to stop working. It means that I have to hit it two or three times every time I want to insert a space. I like to consider myself a very patient man (although those that know me might say otherwise), but this is really starting to $#@& me off.
In spite of the difficulty with the misbehaving space bar, I will do my best to keep up with this blog.
The day actually started quite poorly. The location of the Hotel Chmielna is in a precinct that is filled with a lot of youth hostels and guest houses. The people that stay in those sort of establishments are often more interested in getting drunk than learning anything about where they are. Apparently there was some sort of soccer match between Poland and the UK which attracted a horde of unruly supporters across for a drunken weekend in Warsaw. What followed would have made wonderful viewing on an episode of "Brits Behaving Badly".
From early evening the amplified techno "music" combined with the shouts of drunken louts at earsplitting level. In spite of the heat in my room, I had no alternative other than to close all the windows and swelter inside. Even with the windows closed the noise still permeated. One particularly obnoxious Brit obviously had a vocabulary consisting solely of one four letter word. This he uttered every few seconds at the top of his voice for hour after hour. I assume he was practising his barracking skills for the upcoming match.
The audio onslaught continued all night long until sunrise the following morning, when they finally decided that they had interrupted everyone else's sleep enough and probably went somewhere to collapse into a coma. Somehow I did manage to get some sleep, but the stuffy room made the final night in Warsaw a night to forget.
This morning it was time to bid farewell to Warsaw and start our journey to Vilnius. I had arranged for the same driver who collected us at the airport to drive us back again. Once again,the sparse Warsaw traffic allowed us to reach the terminal very quickly. Even quicker was the speed that we were able to check in our luggage. How wonderful it would be if all airports worked like this.
Since we had some time to spare, we all settled down in a quiet corner of the Costa Coffee shop and chatted. It soon developed into a sort of "truth or dare" as each revealed secrets about our past that we had not told anybody before. Of course Bob excelled by telling of his famous previous life as a sharp shooting bank manager.
Our plane was delayed a short while and we were happy to be finally called to start boarding. The only trouble was that we had to be jammed into a waiting bus to take us to our plane. We were then crammed together like cattle while the bus waited and waited, and waited. The temperature inside soured in the hot sun. It became unbearable. But still we waited. There was no explanation as to why we were kept in the bus for so long, but it really was terrible.
When we finally reached the waiting LOT plane (made in Brazil), I was happy to find that it was actually freezing cold inside. I loved the respite from the heat. We even were served a chocolate bar and a cup of coffee during the short 1 hour flight to Lithuania.
After collecting our baggage we were met by a quiet guy who drove us to our hotel. Although we expected that there would be more horses and carts than cars, we were a little surprised to find our vehicle stuck in peak hour traffic. As we looked around it was clear to see a contrast of decaying soviet era buildings interspersed with quite a few modern structures. It was clearly a country in transition.
We finally arrived at our hotel about 6 pm and were met by Ross and Fran, Lothar and Celia, Gordon and Sue and also Marg Jones. That brings our contingent up to around 16 people. If Marg was looking a little stressed it was probably because her luggage had not made the flight from Amsterdam with her. Every traveller's worst nightmare. We hope it arrives tomorrow for her sake.
Our hotel is the very comfortable City Gate Hotel, beautifully situated right near the entrance to the old city. After a shower and a change of clothes I joined some of the others for a wander into the old city. We soon found a place to have dinner and hear Gordon and Sue tell of their travels in the far north of Norway and Finland. The food was good, relatively inexpensive and it was great to spend time with good friends at the start of another new adventure.
Somehow David managed to get us lost on the walk back, leading us all into an interesting dead end. It was only a minor blunder and we were soon all back safely. Although the sun doesn't go to bed until about 10.30 pm, I am happy to hit the mattress at 9. And the hotel is beautifully quiet............Read more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Vilnius, Вилниус, ቪልኒውስ, فيلنيوس, Wilñus, Vilnüs, Горад Вільнюс, Вилнюс, ভিলনিউস, ལྦེ་ནི་སུ་ནི།, Vílnius, ڤیلنیوس, Wilna, Вилн҄ь, Вильнюс, Βίλνα, Vilno, Vilna, ویلنیوس, Vilnjûs, Vilnias, וילנה, Vilnis, Վիլնյուս, VNO, Vilníus, ᕕᓪᓂᐅᔅ/vilnius, ヴィリニュス, ვილნიუსი, 빌뉴스, Vilniaus miestas, Viļņa, Вилнус, व्हिल्नियस, Wilno, ولنیس, Вилњус, வில்னியஸ், วิลนีอุส, Вільнюс, Wilniyus, ווילנע, 维尔纽斯, IVilnyusi