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Free Walking Tour?

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Vilnius – 11th September

When does a free walking tour cost you nothing? Never, or at least not when you are in Vilnius. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and I wasn’t daft enough to think that a free tour would be without the obligatory exchange of currency. Whilst I was naturally doubtful about the ‘free’ aspect of this tour, I guess that I was rather naïve to believe that a free tour might actually be worth a portion of the limited time I had in Vilnius.

We were a sorry group of men, made up of nomadic characters that happened to be in Vilnius and had, like me, wanted to learn about the history of this city, the architecture, but for me personally I wanted to know about the occupation of Russia and how it compared with the German ‘liberation’ and now that Lithuania had gained its independence what was left of the country. What was the Russian occupation like, and how did it feel when the Germans ‘liberated’ Lithuania only for them to begin their anti-Semitic policy, their propaganda and the mass annihilation of a race. How does the Lithuanian person feel to this day about all of this?

Our ‘Tour Guides’ were two sisters who were studying in the City, you couldn’t tell but Helga the smaller of the two was 14, she had already bore 4 children was working 15 jobs and her sister Klishnikov was still in school and was learning to be an exotic dancer, their parents, they were proud to announce were also their aunt and uncle, I didn’t get that one, but hey, any port in a storm?
Highlights of the tour included:

1. Standing atop a concrete hut to get a vantage point of the town. Vantage point looked and smelt like the unofficial local toilet/hangout.
2. Pointing to a sign and reading it aloud to us word for word, it was already in English.
3. Walking to various landmarks, pointing and telling us useless information “This is the town hall, you can rent the room out in here for parties.” Oh really? “This is a famous church in Vilnius, the rich and famous come here to christen their children.” Marvelous!!
4. The traditional Lithuanian dance, oh man, that was embarassing!! See video.
5. Needless to say they dropped us off at a tourist restaurant where they said the food was delicious and declared, “That is it, the tour is over.”

Questions were a bit pointless and I gathered that within the first minute.

But of course, I'm English, and what do English do? Nothing, and that is true, so I kept my mouth shut, put my hand in my pocket and said what a great tour it was, I gave her the equivalent of £4.00 enough to feed her and her incestuous family for the next seven months. Next time I will read a book.

Oh and by the way, i had a shave, contrary to popular belief, looking like a vagrant is not my style, rather a well manicured Crustie

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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 05:39 Archived in Lithuania Tagged walking traditional dance family tour free vilnius lithuania Comments (2)

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