Waking up in this hostel unfortunately didn’t make it any better, especially since I was queueing up for a shower and I had hardly seen a sole in the place yesterday. Even worse, my travel buddy was leaving me tonight while I stayed on for another 2 nights.
With very little explored yesterday we had decided to start the day with the the free walking tour run each day. Run by the same company as my Tallinn and Riga tours, I was undecided if it was going to be a good or bad experience given the past tour in Latvia.
Just like my tour in Tallinn the group was small, the two of us and a couple of dutch girls on break from their studies. Our tour guide was to be one of the founding members of the tour company so he had to be better than the poor girl I had in Riga that just didn’t seem like she enjoyed it anymore… or so I though.
Heading off to wander the streets we were shown sights relating to jewish murders (Lithuania had the highest percentage of Jewish death in Europe), decrepit buildings that look like they had been there for centuries and some rather funny graffiti as well.
Following these streets led us to Uzupis. a neighbourhood in Vilnius that in 1997 became The Republic of Užupis. Creating its own flag, president, consitiution and army. Crossing the bridge into Uzupis and heading to your left will bring you to an interesting statue to the person they state was the original backpacker.
From here we walked through Uzupis discovering the constitution they live by elegantly displayed along a wall in 10 different languages. Heading further into the district and up a steep old hill, we trecked up behind a school to a lookout point that allowed for a view out across Vilnius.
All things that go up must come down and, so from the lookout point we decended the other side of the hill to follow the waterway that lead us to Gediminas Tower and the end of the tour.
I’m not sure if it was because of our small group or just because our guide had to be somewhere else but ending the tour as we did just felt like it was a rushed showing. I felt as if there was so much more we could have seen in our 2 hours together. Still it was nice to have someone explain the sights we did see and not have to rely on a guidebook for the answers.
A bonus of the tour was that our twosome was now an awesome foursome, so after a short stop for ice cream we strolled back up into the old town square and tried some of the local cuisine. I opted for Zeppelin’s (a local Lithuania dumpling) which are a meat stuffing surrounded by a mash of potato. I have to say they had one of the most interesting texture’s to potato that I have ever tasted in my life. Somewhat bouncy like rubber yet still soft on the inside like potato.
From lunch the dutch girls directed us to the Vilnius University which was said to have some interesting courtyards to explore. Obviously the propaganda leaflet for the university was written by eager students who wanted good marks as wandering around we struggled to see what was so great about them.
Leaving the university disappointed we looped around the old town again stopping to look at the Lithuanian Chapel of Our Lady Mater Misericordiae which was attracting a huge crowd. Then it was time to part ways with the dutch girls. They were off to Warsaw along with my travel friend and with me only a day or two behind them, I had hopes of catching up with them again for drink and a bit of fun.
Filling in some time exploring the shops while my friend packed their gear to leave, I again struggled to find a souvenir that was not of amber origin. Giving up after walking into my 5th amber shop I went off to meet up with my friend for our last cheap mean in Vilnius together.
One thing can be said for the cheap restaurants meals in vilnius, you’re rarely disappointed. I had eaten like a king the last couple of days and paid a pittance for the joy of it all. The food alone would be enough to get me to come back.
Returning to the hostel we said our goodbyes and I settled on my bed to watch a movie as my friend made for the 10 hour overnight bus ride to Warsaw.
Looks so quaint!
Very much so Andi. Everything about the old town of Vilnius was really interesting. Then you turn a corner and discover the new part of Vilnius with the McDonalds and chain clothing stores. Luckily I didn’t find that until my last day there.
i have never been to Vilnius am glad i found your blog.
I’ve always been interested in visiting Vilnius since I have Lithuanian family background. Thanks for the nice summary!
Hey Laura, I did have fun there and would like to go back and see some more of what I missed out on. There is some cool places outside of Vilnius but they took too long to get too for my short stay.