I am in Lithuania. I don’t know why this is so hard for me to digest on this first night, but the idea of being in Lithuania is odd. When I stuck the “visit all EU countries” into my bucket list I would be lying if I said that I knew that Lithuania would I’ve crossed off before the likes of Spain, Greece, Ireland or Sweden.
As I sit in this gorgeous hotel situated on a Vilnius town square (a hotel that has had guests such as Bob Dylan, Prince Charles and the Emperor of Japan, seriously how do I end up in these places) I can only be glad that my journey here is long over.
There is no way to sugar coat the fact that London Luton airport is a stress-laden craphole which lives up to the One Foot in the Grave episode title of ‘In Luton Airport No one Can Hear You Scream’. All trains getting there were either heavily delayed or cancelled and the number of people in the post bag scanning area add it feel like a game of sardines got wildly out of hand.
This is nothing compared to the flight. I have nothing against W!zz airlines as they were great. For a budget airline they had impressive legroom and I look forward to using them on future journeys to the likes of Slovakia, Macedonia and Latvia. However, as with all flights, we ended up in a child sandwich. The one sitting behind us was a Loud screaming child who kicked the seat for the vast majority of the 2 1⁄4 hour flight; the one sitting in front was jumping up and down, constantly playing with the tray table and the blinds.
We both got off the flight feeling highly stressed and in need of aspirin only to be faced with passport control. Three windows (one of which seemed to involved with the same couple for half an hour due to a documentation issue) and we got in at the same time as a flight from Minsk. You can guess how long the queues were.
Still, once we arrived at our hotel it all melted away. I am always in Radisson Blu hotels for my work meetings, but this is the first time that I have actually stayed at one. The view from our window has St Casimir’s Church to the right and the Town Hall (with the accompanying square) to the left. Looking at it right now, all I can is that Vilnius is a beautiful place.
Obviously we arrived absolutely starving so we ventured around the local area to find a restaurant.
One thing I have learned from doing this food list is that a lot of these Eastern European dishes are widespread and just known by different names. The case in point is this smoked pork loin meat. It has this name in Poland after the town of Krotoszyn, but we had the Lithuanian version of it as part of this platter. It went really well with the sweet dark rye bread.
Any chance at desserts (which would have been honey cake) was utterly destroyed by the main course. We had not banked on the very large portion size of either meal… especially those large zeppelin shaped potato dumplings stuffed with meat. Maybe I’ll be able to grab a food list dessert tomorrow in the form of either honey cake or baumkuchen.
If the few hours we have so far had here say anything, I cannot wait to explore this country over the next four days. If only we had longer here.