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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
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185
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581
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45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

20 September 2018

Baltic – done

Mmm... coffee

Mmm… coffee

8 September 2018
Our flight home wasn’t until 7pm (actually not until 7:50pm but let’s ignore that bit of bad book-keeping that led to yet another hour loitering around Vilnius’ very boring airport), so we still had most of a day available! We did toy with the idea of sweltering in and out of the sauna and playing pool all day… but alas, we are explorers right to the core.

Neo-classical street art

Neo-classical street art

So we headed away from the old town, to check out some other bits of central Vilnius. Found a nice cafe for breakfast. Oh yeah: it’s worth noting that it’s generally quite easy to find good coffee in Vilnius, and not that tough in Riga or Tallinn either. Out in the provinces – as in England – it’s not so easy. Found a shiny orthodox church. Found a closed-up neo-classical building with some great street art. And another hill with views back over Vilnius from a different direction.

Next we took a long riverside walk past the old town in the other direction, to the church of St Peter & St Paul. We had read somewhere that this is the mostest baroquest church in Vilnius, and judging by the tetris of tour coaches parked outside we had not been misled. Here’s the odd thing. There was a wedding going on in the church. But still the tour groups were filing in, looking around, and filing out again. I’m sure plenty were taking photos of the ceremony. Bit odd? Of course, since everyone else was doing it anyway, we did go in ourselves – though at least kept ourselves to the side aisles and out of sight of the ceremony.

Baroque wot?

Baroque wot?


And yes, it is super-baroque. Putti everywhere. And plenty of other frankly bonkers stucco creations.

Strolling back into town we enjoyed a final blow-out burger lunch at a recommended place. One last glass of kvass for the road. Ah, kvass, how I love thee! This dark and yeasty-sweet drink is going to be my touchstone for this holiday in years to come, no doubt about it.

So our taxi arrived at the apartment on time, there was no traffic to the airport, and the journey was even shorter than the 15 minutes our host Vytautas guessed. With the departure time goof that gave us a handsome three hours to loiter around the airport and reflect on our holiday across the Baltic.

Baroque dudes

Baroque dudes

Here are my thoughts. The best part of the Baltic states are their three handsome capital cities, all with beautiful medieval hearts but thoroughly modern amenities. Beyond the cities there are few really strong attractions, very little to offer more than an hour’s mildly interesting distraction. There are some attractive wild parks, although their landscapes are green and pleasant rather than majestic or awe-inspiring. Oh… and the other best thing about the Baltic states is the food and drink. We haven’t had a bad meal, and have had some really good ones at all price points. And I love their non-alcoholic drinks. Why can’t we have some of these?

On balance, I think we’ve “done” the Baltic. Though I wouldn’t say no to the odd city-break…

Baroque St Peter and St Paul

Baroque St Peter and St Paul


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