We love having you along with us as we explore the culture, architecture, history, and of course, the food of these countries. If you're new to our blog, know that you'll get all the advantages of travel plus some attitude--with none of the jetlag, packing, immunizations, Montezuma's revenge, or expense. So, welcome aboard!
Tuesdy and Wendsday, August 7-8, 2018
Laba diena (Hello) from Vilnius, Lithuania!!! This is the capital and largest city (540,000) in the country.
As usual, we arrived a day earlier than the start of the tour. This is to account for possible travel delays plus give us time to ward off jet lag, and to give us the opportunity for a pre-tour tour (more in a moment).
We got into Vilnius around 1:00 and were out of the airport in 10 minutes (having gone through a cursory customs check in Frankfurt). Our Tauck driver made a point of mentioning how clean the highway was, showing obvious Lithuanian pride.
After a quick stop in the room, we headed out to explore (and keep Morpheus at bay for a few hours). It was in the upper 70s, and except for a brief but intense shower, the weather was perfect.
Our hotel, the Kempinski, is right in the center of the Old Town. And this really IS the Old Town, containing many buildings that are centuries old. Many, many churches (so many saints!), and the University of Vilnius, which was founded in 1579! Here are some buildings from one of its 13 courtyards.
At the edge of the Old Town is Cathedral Square, dominated by the Vilnius Cathedral (full name: Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius - two saints!) ,which will be visited by Pope Francis next month.
The forest is rarely visited and today was no exception. Only one other person was there besides us. It was eerie and almost serene; we stopped at several chilling memorials.