So of course, my life in Tallinn would be completely incomplete having not visited the third Baltic city, Vilnius.
Flights were booked on a slightly alcohol induced state when my new Erasmus friend Max and I decided that we should go to Vilnius together for these reasons:
- We didn’t want to take an 8 hour bus ride to Vilnius
- We would much rather take a plane
- We were clearly under the influence of a few beers and thought it would be a good idea…
4. We were looking at going to Vilnius around the same time.
Once flights were booked, accommodation followed and the day arrived. Max and I were jet setting off to Vilnius after my very last class at EBS. It was a bittersweet moment, a celebration but at the same time, the realization and real life had to start very soon.
Despite this – we were off on a plane to Vilnius. We didn’t quite know what to expect, we were given some handy tips and recommendations and just decided to go with the flow. When we arrived, we promptly checked into our accommodation and decided to hit the town for dinner. We went to a restaurant that was recommended to us, Bistro 18. It had an international menu, a friendly vibe and staff.
After dinner, we strolled towards the “bar” street. A Street, as you can imagine, littered with bars. We walked until we could both agree on a place to get our night started. The streets were packed with people as it was Saturday night and everyone was out in their best outfits. The first thing we realized was how cheap food and drink were in Vilnius. Six euros for an espresso martini! I nearly said give me 2!
Basically – Max and I ended up having an amazing food and cultural tour of Vilnius. It was our perfect weekend away.
The next day started with a free walking tour where we got to Vilnius a bit better. I highly recommend the free walking tour – it takes two hours and pretty much takes you through the entire city even the republic of Uzupis. This neighborhood in Vilnius is extremely fascinating. The town itself is a UNESCO world heritage site and it means “the other side of the river”. This district is popular with artists and this is definitely evident as soon as you enter the district. On the 1st April 1997, this district declared itself an independent republic (The Republic of Uzupis). They have 39 articles of the Republic’s constitution and 3 mottos – “Don’t Fight, Don’t Win, Don’t Surrender” in 23 languages. And these are engraved onto plaques in which one can see in the district.
After the tour we were spoilt with a delightful sunset. One of the best we had seen in a long time. The old town was simply stunning underneath the sunset rays.
On our last day, we decided to visit a nearby town of Trakai, famous for its castle. It was a quiet and cold day but that was just made for beautiful photos. After walking around the town, we stumbled across the yummiest and probably most authentic Ramen (Japanese Noodles) outside of Japan. Once again, it was a complete shock and our bellies were definitely satisfied.
Overall – our trip to Vilnius was a success. We managed to see all of Vilnius, visited the cathedrals, the palace of their duke and even had an adventure to a beautiful castle. It just reminded us how beautiful the Baltics were. That even with its close proximities to the other Baltic States, they are all extremely different from one another in culture and in history. Even if the rivalry grows between Vilnius and Tallinn, I have to say that Tallinn is definitely my winning city.
Author: Chervil Tan
Photos: Chervil Tan
Editor: Kärt Mättikas