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Published: July 12th 2012
Immediately after breakfast, I dashed out to the shopping centre to get some packed lunch and, as you do, came back with a bus ticket! As I walked to the trolley bus stop, the number 5 was just arriving - great timing - so I climbed aboard, stamped my ticket and was at the bus station before you could read a short story.
I then went into the ticket office to get a ticket to Trakai but was confounded by a Russian who was asking the lass in the office too many questions. Every time she beckoned me over, he's push back in and ask another question. I got fed up and just stood with my back to him so that he couldn't get back in!
After a thirty minute stop/start journey with the driver in the early stages of Parkinsons', I eventually arrived in Trakai.
This has got to be one of the most picturesque places in the world with its fairy tale castle, painted wooden houses and stunning lakes.
I firstly went for a walk around one of the lakes and across several very uneven and wobbly pontoon, into the forest. There, I spotted a
stone indicating the site of a Nazi massacre of Jews. Indeed, there was a narrow path, almost hidden, leading of the track which, just 100m into the trees, culminated in a memorial to a number of Jews massacred in 1941. Despite being in the forest, I could hear no birds - although their resting place is now so tranquil.
Back by the lake, I decided to sample so local cuisine. The area has been the home of the Karaim community for over 700 years. They practice a form of Judaism and have maintained their own culture and traditions. It transpired that their traditional food was very similar to a Cornish Pasty - but not as nice!!!
Anyway, after lunch, the fairy tale castle beckoned. Although a virtual ruin in the 1970's, it was rebuilt during the Soviet era.
After maxing out on coins and badges of office, I made it to the train station and back into Vilnius. Back on the trolley bus, the over excited driver managed to separate the pantograph from the overhead wires - something not uncommon seeing as he had all the necessary equipment.
That evening, there were no balloons, but a
drink in the SkyBar.
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