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August 3rd 2006
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 54.6896, 25.2799

Since the hotel's restaurant is El Gaucho, we eat breakfast surrounded by cow skins and other reminders of dead meat. Yuck.

The car park is full (literally) of cars; it is a bit like that game, Rush Hour, trying to figure out how to unpark the cars to get ours out. It takes a few minutes and a lot of gesturing ... but eventually we're on our way to Trakai, the old capital of Lithuania.

Trakai sits on a peninsula that juts out into a "lagoon"/lake. It is a lovely setting, and we enjoy it for a while from a coffee garden in Old Town. The castle itself is on an island, but there is a bridge/causeway out -- of, if you have the time, there are many sailboats available for hire than will give you a tour of the lake, then drop you on the island.
The castle was fun to visit. It has been partially restored, with some good exhibits inside, which explain about the importance of Lithuania in distant centuries. We also walk around the park land, which is very pleasant, as the weather is perfect.
From Trakai, we return to Vilnius, leaving our car at the airport ... because the Avis office doesn't open early enough for us to do this in the morning. We taxi back to Old Town, then have a good lunch. When we sit down to dine, the skies open up ... but the rain stops miraculously as soon as we finish eating. Fate is on our side!
We walk through Old Town Vilnius, through the cathedral (which was boring Baroque and under extensive restoration ... ), then take the funicular up to the castle on Gediminas Hill. The view from the tower is fabulous.
A gelateria calls, as they often do, so we rest and devour ice cream with the locals. Dinner at a pizzeria on the main (pedestrian) street. We resist the urge to spend the night at the KGB Experience and return to our hotel for real sleep instead.

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