Visiting Vilnius.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
Corner Hotel Vilnius
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Walked old town.

Flag of Lithuania  ,
Thursday, June 16, 2011

After a very brief but wonderful visit with our friends in Warsaw, Poland (see last entry) we took an overnight bus to Vilnius the capital of Lithuania. Arriving around 7am, with a desperate need for the toilet, we discovered Lithuania hasn't quite shrugged off the past. Squat toilets only, at a cost of $1A equivalent were at the bus station. Of course when you just arrive in a country you don't have any currency and especially not coins for a locking gate that requires the correct change to let you in! 
We walked the 3 kms or so with our packs to our booked accommodation and found  to our delight we didn't have to wait until 2pm check in. Freshened up, we walked back to the bus station to get some information on some sights we wanted to see. This was not very successful due to language difficulties so we set off of on foot to discover the UNESCO listed old town instead. Entering through the rather romantically named  "Gates of Dawn", we wandered the old cobblestone streets enjoying the atmosphere and learning about the old buildings that comprise the old town section.

The next day we were at the bus station early to catch a bus to the UNESCO listed town of Kernave. We had ascertained that we could catch an 8.30am bus to the town the day before but couldn't find out if we could continue on to our next location, or if we needed to come back to Vilnius. We took our packs in the hope we could continue on to Klaipeda. It was a funny little bus and it dropped us after about one and a half hours in what seemed like the middle of no-where. We could see a pathway leading to a Church, so set off in that direction and found a sign saying we had indeed found the UNESCO Kernave site, but the museum was closed, and we were to continue down the path to see the archaeological site. 

The site was mostly comprised of rounded hills that were used in pre-medieval times as fortresses. Nothing remained to be seen really, so it was a bit hard to get the feel of the place, especially since we were carrying our packs up and down the hills!

After a couple of hours we walked back towards where the bus had dropped us off. No sign of any bus or for that matter ANY traffic. We had great difficulty finding anyone who spoke English. We tried all passersby (there weren't many!) and eventually we gleaned that there was only 1 bus back to Vilnius in 2 hours time, and no bus going in the northerly direction we wanted to go. We sat down on the grass and whiled away the time and eventually the funny little bus trundled up again with the same driver and took us back to Vilnius. Back to square one. We managed to get past the language barrier, to purchase tickets finally to Klaipeda and hopped on the bus for a four hour trip.

It had been a long travel day but to our delight the hotel we had booked over the internet was fabulous and the whole vibe of the city was fresher and more welcoming than Vilnius. We strolled around the canals and waterfront for a few hours (it stays light until around 10pm) and then had a lovely and inexpensive meal at a small restaurant. 

Footnote: Vilnius Historic Centre and Kernave Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernave) are UNESCO World Heritage Listed.
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