My first day in a new country, you never quite know what to expect. My expectations were good as the arrival late in previous the evening was smooth, although the airport arrivals area was not the big open space you expect but lots of nook and crannies as its an old building. The taxi into town was fast and efficient and reasonable at 15 euros. I arrived at my hotel and got upgraded to a spacious apartment. So everything was great and the included breakfast had good coffee and a good variety of things I prefer to eat for breakfast.
I wandered into the old town of Vilnius and it basically was all I expected. The old town European charm oozed everywhere. Tbilisi and especially Yerevan and Baku had a distinct Russian flavour to them despite also feeling very European. Vilnius was different despite being part of the USSR.
I had several museums to tick off my todo list today. The first one was the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, but I arrived to find it was closed on Monday. So I climbed the bell tower of the Vilnius Cathedral. It started off nice and easy, then the steps became more wooden and less stable. I made it to the top to find they had netting across the windows making photography of the views difficult.
I wandered around to the National Museum and the old arsenal and they were also closed on a Monday. It looks like I should have done more research, or realised it was a Monday as many things in the previous two countries didn’t open Mondays either. I had planned a trip to Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city on Wednesday, but may have to skip that to see these museums.
I did, however, see a lot of the small streets in Vilnius. Many of the narrower streets are blocked off as cafes and restaurants put tables and chairs straight out onto the street. It is a charming city, that is easy to navigate around and easy to wander and get lost in also.
For dinner, I headed out to a place I read on the tourist map, but it looked more like a pub than a place I wanted to eat at. Instead I wandered back to another place I saw called Lokys. The menu looked good, I ordered the roast wild boar with spiced pears and lingonberry sauce. To go with it I found a delicious craft brewery stout on their menu. All up 20 euros for a really nice meal, more than Armenia and Georgia and on par with what I might pay back home.
Tomorrow I head to Trakai, just out of Vilnius to visit a castle!