Vilnius - churches and graffiti galore!

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July 16th 2010
Published: July 17th 2010
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Mmk, first half is my spazz about the bus ride. Second half is my day in Vilnius haha:

Bus ride
Right, well I was wondering where all the crazy people were this year… I’ve had no creepy old men follow me around, nobody confess their love to me in the street or try to tell me my fortune in an airport.

I’m not going to say I miss that excitement… I was just wondering where it had gone?

Apparently they were on my bus from Tallinn to Vilnius, sigh.

First, while waiting for the bus to arrive I could hear a couple screaming at each other in what I think was Russian. Not just loud voices - full out screaming. Okfine. About 5min into the yelling match the girl storms off, and the guy goes to speak to the driver of the bus. Sigh. My bus.

Second no love for Eurolines assigning you a seat number. There’s a reason I don’t mind sleeping on busses - that’s because I’m always there early enough for a window seat. Sure enough, for the second time in a row I was assigned an aisle seat. Great.

One with the story.

Angry Russian couple isn’t alone - they’re part of a group of 8 young Russians. Lovely. Oh, and they’re sitting two rows in front of me. Even better.

About 10min into the drive they decide to start drinking… and I don’t mean water. I thought it was funny that there were stickers on the bus saying “NO ALCOHOL” because I mean, no where else in my travels has that been plastered on a bus… I mean it’s common sense, no?

Apparently not.

So, they’re passing their thermos cup around. (Oh, very clever guys.) And then taking sips from their “water bottle”. (Even smarter - have the booze and a chaser. Brilliant.)

As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also kept going to the bathroom in partners to smoke. Uhm. At least go alone if you’re going to go… because I mean, going two at a time? Kind of obvious.

So the bus now reeks of vodka and cig smoke. It’s a solid 30 degrees in the bus. And the Russians are being super loud. It’s almost midnight. Yeahhhhh, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep.

Meanwhile, the guy beside me keeps getting angry and huffing and puffing because of the Russians. I gave him a sympathetic smile - I understand your frustration kind of deal. He had enough though - he proceeds to lean up in his seat and full out scream at the group of Russians, in Russian. They all stop, look at him, and kept quiet for maybe 10min.

Well… it’s a start?

About 15min later the extra driver (when it’s an overnighter, they have 2 drivers) goes to check the bathroom. My Russian guy points at the group of Russians to be like “it’s them”. The driver proceeds to go back to the front of the bus.

WHAT THE HELL MANNNNNNN?!?!?!? No. Just no. Not cool.

Another 20min pass and my guy gets angry again and starts screaming again. One of the Russians took offense to whatever he said, jumped up, and launches himself towards in my direction. I’m sitting there thinking ‘oh dear God. Eurolines, you’re going to pay for this’.

Angry Russian guy is about 2ft away when two of the other Russian guys grab him and pull him back. ‘Ok Eurolines… you live. You just get a lovely email, no lawsuit’

Oh. And through all of this that young couple keeps getting into fights - she’ll turn sideways and pout and start slapping him whenever he tries to touch her and apologize.

Yes, this cycle (Drink. “Bathroom” break. Drink. Fight.) went on for an amazing 9 hours… only breaks were when one of the drivers stood in between them… so not often.

Labas Vilnius!
I have never been happier to get off a bus in my life.

Of course, there are no signs here… never mind street signs. I had instructions on how to get to my hostel, but without street names I knew this would be an adventure. Another tourist walked up to me - “English?” Yes. “Oh good! How do you get to the Old Town from here?” Good question, let’s find out haha.

We headed off on an adventure. If it weren’t 6am, if I weren’t totally sleep-deprived, and if I didn’t have my 20kg backpack, I’d be loving it… but let’s just say I tolerated this one. The girl was nice company though - she’s from Thailand, studying in the Netherlands. Very cool. We found our way to a hostel - I’m like perfect! They’ll have maps! … aaaaaand they were closed. Nevermind that plan. We kept walking and finally found a big map with a “you are here” dot. Thank yooooou Vilnius.

We went our separate way at this point - I found my way back to where my instructions had told me to go, and then it was only about 10min more to my hostel. Good to go. Of course, my room , wasn’t ready yet, so I went to grab a coffee and wandered around the city. I’m right off one of the main streets in the Old Town - the entire middle section of the road is like a giant park with beer tents from the restaurants… we know where I’ll end up one of these nights.

Vilnius is beautiful - it has this laid-back charm to it, it’s hard to describe. I continued on towards Town Hall and the surrounding area, before heading up further north along the pedestrian street. I love the amount of pedestrian streets Europe has… in general. It’s more fun to walk along a street of café and restaurants than one with cars barreling down it.

Uzupis angelUzupis angelUzupis angel

It's their "guardian" in the main square
took pictures of a lot of churches (there is honestly one on every other block haha, they’re everywhere!) but only went in a few - some were closed, some you had to pay, some you had to not be in shorts… ahem.

On my wandering journey I made it to Uzupis - it’s this artsy neighbourhood that essentially declared its independence a few years back. They named their own President, an archbishop, created an army (of like.. 12 haha), created a flag, have April 1st as their Independence Day and most importantly, have a pretty sweet constitution with 41 points - it has hard to get pic because I kept getting things in the reflection… but I’ll post the Constitution at the end of this entry.

Anyway, Uzupis was neat to wander around… it’s a pretty sketchy looking place if you didn’t know what it was… lots of abandoned buildings, windows boarded shut and stuff. Great graffiti and art all over the place though… I had fun with my camera.

This really is a great city, as a whole, to take pictures in. There is graffiti everywhere… and I mean everywhere. Sure, some of it is gross looking (just words in simple black all over), but a lot of it is artistic and pretty funky. I like it.

Around 1pm I was exhausted, so I headed back to the hostel… still no room, sigh. I chilled in the common room for a bit - they had a British channel on and it was Home Improvement, followed by Fresh Prince haha. AWESOME. (And no, that’s not sarcastic. I was genuinely happy haha). Finally at 3pm I got my room and pretty much vegged until it was time for bed.

Tomorrow I’m going to finish wandering around the city I think… no big plans other than that.

And here’s the Constitution of Uzupis - enjoy, it’s worth the read:

• Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnele, and the River Vilnele has the right to flow by everyone.
• Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
• Everyone has the right to die, but it is not a duty
• Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
• Everyone has the right to be unique.
• Everyone has the right to love.
• Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
• Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
• Everyone has the right to idle.
• Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
• Everyone has the right to look after a dog till one of them dies.
• A dog has the right to be a dog.
• A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but it must help him in time of need.
• Everyone has the right to sometimes be unaware of their duties.
• Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
• Everyone has the right to be happy.
• Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
• Everyone has the right to be silent.
• Everyone has the right to have faith.
• No one has the right to violence.
• Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
• Everyone has the right to understand.
• Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
• Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
• Everyone has the right to celebrate or not to celebrate his birthday.
• Everyone shall remember their name.
• Everyone may share what they possess.
• No one can share what they do not possess.
• Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
• Everyone may be independent.
• Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
• Everyone has the right to cry.
• Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
• No one has the right to make another person guilty.
• Everyone has the right to be an individual.
• Everyone has the right to have no rights.
• Everyone has the right to not be afraid.
• Do not defeat.
• Do not fight back.
• Do not surrender.

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