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Published: December 13th 2017
Geo: 54.6896, 25.2799
This time we are on Ecolines bus for 4 hour trip to Vilnius and this bus has a tuck shop and the conductress is the waitress and they give you numbered luggage tags, very professional indeed. No customs dogs this time but saw tonnes more storks and they have many windfarms but no mountains.
On arrival in Vilnius we walked to our hotel as C. had it all worked out this time and led us there as if it was his home town. Staying in Old town in The Radisson (all I can say is 5 star my ass but they had brekker til civilised time - 10:30am) but it was fine and in a great spot. The weather was now back to being gorgeous and the town is so much more 'catholic' looking (as in looks more Spanish than Russian or Scando) and the houses are painting bright colours, so nice. And the women were very trendily dressed - lovely shops here and seems very fashion conscious but for cheaper than home.
First afternoon we organised our Warsaw train tickets (38 euro Iarnrod eireann take note) from here and once you find the right counter which is in fact a special glass office at one side and not a regualar ticket counter (but the ones at the ticket counter keep sending you from billy to jack and then shout at you!) they were pretty nice.
So then we started our walking tour via the 'Gate of Dawn' where the revered image of the Madonna is held, past the philharmonic where we could hear tham practising, checked out a few of the big name stores Armani etc as good sales on, coffee in 'Il Arvino', walked down Pilies gatre to Catherdral Sq., which has lots of churches and has a great Indian restaurant 'Sues Indian Raja' with outdoor seating on the sq. and mosquitoes 😞
Nightcap was east of old town is the Uzupis 'Republic' which is the arty centre and we followed two women completely covered in gold paint til we got a lovely river side bar complete with mermaid sculpture dipping into the river.
Next day we hit the jewish quarter site of the irradicated great synagogue in WWII, we tried to go to the jewish museum but it being Friday it was closed. But we did find the Frank Zappa statue ironically erected by a country who had seen enough ideoligical public monuments. Good craic is what I'd say they are. Then we hit the Genocide Museum in the ex KGB building complete with torture cells and the eerie execution chamber, which was all a bit harrowing but interesting.
Lunch was in a trendy dredlocky all vege place 'Balti' (ahh europe for veges). Spent a while that evening looking for an non existent absenthe bar and walked around by Pymlio and had cocktails over looking the old town at sunset. Dinner was in 'San Antonio' nice but over priced italian on Pilies (as they were too cool to actually gve out menus in Balti this time) then a bit of a pub crawl til 3am starting in 'Amatininku Uzage' where we watched 2 pissed Irish love birds in action amoung other things. Then a club 'Mojito Natskaya' (v. trendy young clientele) then a bar with outdoor seats made from tyres where we were accosted by a crazy drunk young Russian.
So Vilnius was very entertaining - would have liked to stay longer.
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