We got to Lithuania (me and my Catalan friend) by bus which we actually had to take from Warsaw, because we couldn’t find any possible way to get there from our current place in Poland called Mikolajki, which forced us to make a huge detour.
By the time we got to Vilnius we were absolutely exhausted, at least myself, so we headed to our couchsurfing hostess who received us very warmly and told us she would prepare some food while we rested before going out to explore the city. I took a quick shower, put on my pajama and fell asleep like a baby in no time. Later on, when we both woke up, we ate some very tasty Lithuanian food and had a nice chat with our hostess and her husband who explained us a bit of what was their country like during the soviet times and how united the three Baltic states are to each other, always competing in a friendly manner to become the best.
We then went out, took a bus to the city center which left us at a bridge with some very communist style statues of soldiers and working men and women, very square and “perfect” looking. At the sides of the river which it crossed were two big inscriptions in Lithuanian, on one side it says “I love you” and on the opposite one “I love you too”.
As part of our sightseeing walk we got to the cathedral and tower square where there is a plate in between them that says “Miracle” and you should stand on it and turn around three times asking for a wish so it will come true. We also visited a part of the Old Town called Užupis where the artists and all sorts of folklore live, although we didn’t see anyone special, but on one of the walls there is a constitution engraved in plates in many different languages, because they unofficially declared the district as an independent state.
When we wanted to take lunch, we decided to try a typical Lithuanian restaurant which our hostess recommended to us. Once we went inside we happily acknowledged that all the waitresses working there were stunningly beautiful and all dressed in traditional costumes. While we were enjoying our tasty meals it started pouring rain, so hard we even recorded it on video. Fortunately it stopped as soon as we were finished so we paid the bill and felt compelled to leave a generous tip to our beautiful waitress who also gave us a very good service.
When we were back at our CS hostess place, we had some nice dinner and talk about our day, then she also explained us that the meaning of the word “Lietuva” (Lithuania in their language) means rain, so that explained the events at the restaurant.
Our next stop after Vilnius was Trakkai , a very nice touristic town with a big lake and an amazing medieval castle in the middle which was our reason for our visit. The weather was perfect and the surroundings offer a very good place for taking lots of pictures. The castle is big and in a very good shape. Once outside we were hungry and decided to try something we were also advised to eat, similar to dumplings but bigger, which were sold everywhere by women with baskets. When we asked for some, they spoke in a funny mixture of English, German and Russian words. The dumplings were delicious.
There was also on the street a small stand with another very beautiful girl selling expensive exotic teas who invited us to approach only by her looks and we almost ended up buying something. It’s definitely a good strategy with men.
From there we moved to another city called Siauliai where we wanted to check out a hill which is famous because it’s full of thousands of crosses, a symbol of rebellion against the oppressive communist regime which tried to abolish all religions.
We were again completely exhausted when we got there but we had to make it to our next CS host’s place so we sent her a message asking for the time we could meet, began walking and found a very nice lake with a park, so calm and with such a perfect weather that we stayed for a while just to rest and enjoy while we waited for our hostess to reply.
Once everything was settled we walked our way to the house where we were hosted by a super friendly woman with her daughter who offered us a tasty meal as soon as we arrived. She was hosting a polish guy as well who was in Siauliai only because he was going to get a tattoo from an amazing artist who lives there.
The daughter offered us to ask a friend to take us to the hill of crosses because the transport can be a bit difficult to find, especially on the way back. That place is definitely stunning, thousands of crosses from all sizes and from people who have donated from all over the world.
When we came back we had a great dinner and then set up the living room’s floor for my friend and me to sleep. There was one thing my host felt really bad and embarrassed about and it was that they had found a mouse in the house but they hadn’t been able to catch it and now we would have to sleep with it. She was so friendly and kind that we didn’t really mind it and said that there was no problem. During the night I could listen to it several time passing very close to me and I don’t know if I was too paranoid but I’m pretty sure it touched my arm once. What I did was that I pointed everywhere with the light of my ipad for some time, trying to find it and scare it away, which worked and I could then sleep until the morning.
On our last day, our hostess invited us to go to her work before we left so we could say good bye and have a coffee there. She worked at a chocolate museum and gave us each a small bag with delicious chocolates for the journey.
We were trying to find a bus to go to Latvia but it proved to be a bit hard, especially without being able to ask for information in Lithuanian, but our hostess was so helpful she even asked for a break at work to go with us to the bus station and found out about the only bus there would be that day, which would be crossing from Kaliningrad to Saint Petersburg, Russia, and was supposed to have free places. In the end it arrived a bit late, our hostess waiting with us all the time until she made sure we were able to leave and then we made our trip in a bus full of Russians to Riga.