Come to Lithuania in June, they said. Chill and swim in a lake, they said. So I expected to have very chill vacations, looking scruffy and eating garden-grown veggies. But then my friend and comrade Sandra put me in a designer dress for a photoshoot for her magazine, Verslo pietūs. Focusing on success stories, her magazine has become home for my latest travel articles before I embarked on my new Mediterranean adventure.
This team is fantastic, and I always learn a lot just by hanging out with them. At the same time it was a learning experience to see what areas of Vilnius are suitable for taking photos when the sky is cloudy. Our photographer chose the area near the White Bridge, which offers green spaces as well as urban landscapes.
My other friend invited me to Dr. Waffle (Pylimo str. 11) – a new cafe of the up-and-coming central station area. This was where I learned that a waffle burger is a thing – and it costs only 4 eur! Friendly staff and interesting hot drinks make this place strongly recommendable.
Chatting with friends in Kaunas, I learned that the municipality has offered several hundreds of fully funded summer school places for local children. Also, one of the buildings on a local university campus is being transformed to much-needed underground parking, which will hopefully encourage people to leave their cars and explore the city on foot, by bus or using now fully functional rental bike system. This time I didn′t have an impression that Kaunas changed a lot – it′s still coffee, donuts and bakeries all the way.
Back in Vilnius, I made a few quick plans, but the weather spirits decided to extend my siblings quality time, as a thunderstorm and resulting flood made me ask my brother for a lift to my next destination, and we spent nearly an hour in a traffic jam among desperate drivers. No wonder, since the city looked like this:
People are still sharing photos of scary clouds and floods. Vilnius municipality is now mapping the flood and promising to take action. I believe today Lithuanians overtook the Brits in time spent talking about the weather.
Amid the flood, I walked/ ran/ splashed to meet three friends who work for the public radio, and they told me about their plans for an upcoming discussion festival. Apparently, discussion festival is now a thing.
I′m a big fan of building travel itineraries around experiences. So even if you never lived in Vilnius or Kaunas, there seem to be many off-the-beaten-track events and ideas floating around, and it′s a good idea to check them out for richer travel experience.