Actually Lithuania is not my motherland but for many of our ancestors it is and was a home. Thinking about Lithuania I can see Adam Mickiewicz (Polish writer, author of: “Pan Tadeusz or The Last Foray in Lithuania. A Tale of the Gentry during 1811–1812 in Twelve Books of Verse”) in front of my eyes.
In Poland I lived very close to the Lithuanian border but recently finally I have been there as a tourist. The flight Birmingham – Vilnus was very pleasant. The railway station is located for about 5 km from the airport and there is only one platform, so it is impossible to make any mistake there :). The journey to the city centre by train is about 0.70 euros so it is good to have some pocket money with you.
I was staying at the ‘Vilnus ‘hostel located about 10 minutes from the old town. The bed in the 8 person room cost 9 euro for the whole day.
Gate of Down
Straight away when I checked in the hostel I went to see the ‘Gate of Down’ (in other words The Sharp Gate’) – it does not look any special from outside. The inside’s chapel as many of that kind was very beautiful but here it is not about its’ design but rather the spiritual experience. This place is visited in crowds by our compatriots. What I may notice is that all masses take place one by one, all the time. The schedule is quite tight as the group of tourists are waiting for their turn to be entered. The first group was few minutes delayed and there was a little argument – it was good that we have been in a sacred place as it may have finished with fight.
Later I went to the Town Hall and Gediminas Tower – which is on hill. There is a museum located in one of the towers. The entry ticket costs 5 euros not expensive but there was not anything special inside to be honest: the mockup of the city, a few armours and swords. If not for the exhibits it is worth to buy a ticket for a few from top of the tower.
In the evening I went for a walk to the Literature’s street I expected a lot of people but it was all empty. I felt disappointed I was looking for some concerts at least single man singing on the street. Quarter is advertised as a district of artists, however I have not seen anybody.
After I ate my breakfast at the “Station 24th” (the breakfast was included) I went straight away to the Uzupis.
On the Old Town I have visited few more churches and orthodox churches – there are loads of them and later I was tired to visit them all.
Next I scrambled up on the top of the Hill of Three Crosses. In my opinion there are simple 3 crosses made of concrete, nothing special. The big advantage of this place is a beautiful panorama of the city. If you a picnic fan please go ahead, this palace will be perfect to do barbecue.
In the evening 7 o clock I went to see the Rossa Cemetery. Maybe it will sound weird to some of you but it was a lovely place and I have been there for three hours. There are plenty of beautiful tombs and many of them had polish names. The cemetery is neglected but even though it has unforgettable charm.
The general impressions from Vilnus are very positive. It is nice and green city. You can go there without any extra preparations. The map can be taken from the airport; the route from the station is very good indicated. There are also the buses but I was not using them and I am not aware of their schedule and prices. There are many Polish people and you can meet the group of Polish tourists all over.
Some additional and useful information:
The Internet cafe, in fact printing office and the shop where you can buy some stuff for the office and school is located next to the police station on the Pylimo street 54. On the first floor you can use the Internet for free – so that is why I should finally buy myself a smartphone :D. Sometimes I do have an Internet connection but only when I really need it…
There are very good bus connections between Poland and Lithuania operated by Lux Express.
I had some issues with currency exchange. I could not find the currency exchange bureau. In the tourist information I was always sent to the one of the banks. The rate was low and the commission was 1-2 euro. Not as much but still distaste stayed with me.
Lithuania the neighbor of Poland on the eastern border has much to offer. The capital of Lithuania – Vilnus has its’ unique charm and it is visited in crowds especially by our compatriots.