Vilnius


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July 31st 2003
Published: July 31st 2003
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Vilnius CathederalVilnius CathederalVilnius Cathederal

And the strange leaning tower ;)
So it happened again - events and things happened quickly and the blog suffered. The blog ceased to exist - so here I am writing about 5 weeks after the events (again).

Vilnius lies in the mainly flat and forested countryside of Lithunia, situated close to the Russian border in the South-East of the country. Founded in the 1320's by Duke Gediminas after a dream the city has lots of historic buildings, and statues. The old town is bigger than that found in either Tallin or Riga, and has a more open rambling feel than either of the other two baltic capitals, but has narrow streeted ghettos and archways in aboundance.

Wednesday

I decided to stay at the old town hostel - though to be honest it is the only centrally based hostel in the city. There was no room at the inn, so we had (I met a Japanese girl named Hana on the bus) to go to the overflow hostel. It was actually a really nice place - the main social area also had beds in it, the corridors had beds in them, and shoes had to be taken off at the door. The niece of the the owner of the hostel ran this section, a nice friendly girl who took most of the guys staying at the hostel to a strip joint in the evening - I didn't go. I had a date the following day with a girl I'd met in Riga wanted to get a good nights sleep so that I'd stand some small chance of impressing her. Hana was really helpful in the mobile phone shop, translating the shop assistants German to English and back so that I could by a cheap Lithuanian SIM card - she had also by a series of coincidences met the girl I was to have a date with in Tallin.

Thursday

I spent the next morning climbing a tower that overlooked the city, didn't really learn much about it, or have since forgotten if I did. The view was really great, wandered the rest of the city, basically a little nervous about what would happen at 5pm. I usually don't write anything about relationships in my blogs but as we're still together now I will, I also think things will work out for us. I met Sara in the POSH Backpackers - she's from
View of VilniusView of VilniusView of Vilnius

From the tower.
Hungary and I liked her a lot as soon as I met her. She was travelling up through to Tallin at the end of a month exchange program for medical students in Vilnius, she had arrived back in Vilnius the day before I had. I had asked for her phone number and if she'd spend some time with me in Vilnius the evening I met her and she must have liked me too as she said she would. I also met her friends Anna and Judit who were really nice, though I find out now they had been teasing Sara for previous 3 days about me.

Well the date consisted of meeting Sara, Anna and Judit, going for coffee and cakes. Anna and Judit then made excuses (buying shoes??) and left me and Sara to go do tourist things for the rest of the day. So we went to the Hill of Three Crosses and the Acropolis (huge shopping center) to buy cake. At around 11pm we made it to the dormitory that the girls stayed at complete with cake. The buying shoes ruse was given up as they celebrated Sara's birthday two days early with wine and funny
Sara and ISara and ISara and I

Heading to the centre of Europe.
presents. We then all went out to a bar in the city. Danced and drank and had a great time. Watched dawn over the city with Sara and arranged to meet the next day. Got to the hostel at 9am slept 3 hours and then got up... I like to sleep 9 hours.


Friday (continued)

I went to McDonalds - I'm so sorry, please forgive me I was hungover. Met Judit in McDonalds randomly - she was also hungover - though not in the same league as me. Before meeting Sara I went to the former KGB and SS headquarters - basically over the 50 years 1940 - 1990 (or thereabouts) the former court building had been turned in to an interrogation/prison/execution building for anyone that the regiem found distastful - priests, members of the previous government, freedom fighters and assorted others. Recieved my first phone call in the execution chamber.

Met Sara, had another really nice day, though we both were really tired and decided to skip ice skating and get sleep. Saturday was Sara's birthday - 24th - she wanted to go the Centre of Europe for the day and I wanted to spend time with her so arranged to go with her.

Saturday

We met at 9.20 am at the bus station, were told that there were no buses to the Centre of Europe so instead settled for one that would take us to the edge of town. We then caught a second bus to a village just outside of town, and decided to walk the next 12km. The walk was nice, went down one wrong road and decided to go cross country to the Centre of Europe. Crossed two rivers (fetid smelly filthy things) - got bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes and a few horseflies. Eventually made it to the centre - it had taken 10 hours but it was one of the best days ever. We hitched back to the Acropolis with a really nice lady who telephoned her secretary so that she could find out where we would like to be dropped off. Had showers and went out for the evening.

Sunday.

Saw more of Vilnius and spent more time with Sara. Met Hanah.

Monday.

Went to the hospital where Sara had done her exchange work - delivered cake to the doctors who had helped her there. Took two hours to get there... the buses and trolleys go so damn slow - cheap though. We then went to the TV tower - only £15 quid to bungy jump from it - though that day someone died in Germany doing just that on another TV tower. The TV tower had been where in 1990 the Soviet troops tried to stop the independence movement by killing 14 people, outside crosses and photos help to remember their deaths. Walked through some really nice forest to the cafeteria.


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