Whitlocks Round the World - Travel Diary for Lithuania

Click here to read the latest newsThe diary of our trip round the world. You can view other diary entries by clicking the highlighted months at the bottom of the page or by clicking on one of the countries visited so far. Click our logo (on the left) to see the most recent news entries. We are adding new entries from Internet Cafés as we travel, so updates may be irregular. Please check back often to see how we are getting along.

Countries visited so far: UK Latvia Lithuania Poland Slovak Republic Hungary Romania Bulgaria Greece Egypt Tanzania Malawi Mozambique South Africa Swaziland South Africa (again) Argentina Bolivia Peru Ecuador Vietnam China Mongolia Russia England

21st August 2003 Lithuania
The Frank Zappa bust we found thanks to Charlie! - Click to enlargeWe travelled to Vilnius on the overnight train, leaving Riga at 10.25pm and arriving in Vilnius at 5.20am. It was vey exciting! We had booked 'sitting' class tickets, as they were much cheaper than 'sleeping', and we decided that the kids could sleep leaing on us and we'd just doze. However the train was nowhere near full and we just bagged an empty compartment when we got on. As it turned out, they had sold 'sitting' tickets for the seats under the bunks and, as the bunks weren't being used it seemed daft not to! The kids were excited, but went off by about 11.30 on the top bunks. We met Charlie and Mickey, two people who live in America, although Mickey is Italian, who were travelling together having just finished running a kids' summer camp in Estonia. They were really nice and we had fun sharing a couple of beers with them before going to sleep ourselves. We woke the children at 5.00 to get ready for the off, and alighted, bleary-eyed, at 20 past in Vilnius.

We hung around with Charlie and Mickey for the morning, and had a wander around Vilnius. The most important thing to see, it seemed from Nick and Charlie's enthusiasm, was the Frank Zappa bust; a rather bizarre addition to Vilnius' array of stylish buildings and dramatic statues of other influential or significant historical personages!

Charlie and Mickey had to leave at lunch time, to catch their train on to Poland, to Esther's dismay. She had really taken to Mickey. I think all of us appreciated having someone different to chat to for a while. Cheers guys!

Vilnius is a great city. It felt more western than Riga, but the streets and buildings were colourful and spotlessly clean. There is an ornate church or monument everywhere you look. We visited the castle, to be found, logically enough, on Castle Hill. It is a mix of ruined remains and renovations in red brick, and consists of a tower on top of a hill around which the city has grown, and a few other wall and bits of buildings. It is a dramatic setting with a great view from the top. We were all impressed by the small museum inside, containing 14th and 17 Century impressions of the city in miniature, and armour and weaponry found on the site.

By this time the kids were very tired, and rather a fraught afternoon was spent finding accommodation, but we ended up staying in a very nice and friendly hostel.

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