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Free Walking Tour?

sunny 20 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

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




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)

Vilnius Anybody?

sunny 21 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Vilnius – 10th - 13th September

Hands up who has heard of Vilnius? Nobody right? Some interesting facts that I have picked up about Vilnius that I thought I would share:

1. Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania
2. Basketball is played by people outside of the US
3. Lithuanians love Basketball, I mean proper love it
4. Vilnius hosted a basketball party weekend whilst I was there, that was nice of them
5. The old town is a UNESCO world heritage site.
6. It is ridiculously cheap here but the price of a Hugo Boss shirt is still the same
7. Lithuanian food is shocking, they really know how to kill a potato
8. Lithuanians only natural resource is women
9. Lithuania has a terrible train network
10. Do you remember the story about some mad major of an Eastern European city that took a tank and drove over some cars because he was sick of the residents’ poor parking? Well hello Vilnius and hello crack pot mayor.

It is also a very small world, I shared a room in a hostel with Toby who I knew from London years ago when he was drumming with Dustins Barmitzva. Naturally we shared a few drinks.

Here are some pretty pictures, with a video of this crack pot mayor!!

Cold beetroot soup, with 4 potatoes

potato zeplins? Soggy with fat with some disgusting meat in the middle

Potato pancakes, see the recurring theme...


Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 13:00 Archived in Lithuania Tagged tank vilnius basketball mayor facts Comments (0)

Warsaw to Vilnius

rain 16 °C
View Overland debacle on beatski's travel map.

Warsaw to Vilnius – 10th September

The idea of travelling along the land being lazily dragged around on a comfortable train has had me anxious but yet excited for the last 4 months or so. I was going to see the world at a leisurely pace, I was going to see the transition between one country rather than land in some country, 8 hours from Heathrow anybody could be your next door neighbour. Don’t think that I am a train buff, but I do enjoy the comfort of a train. The first half of my journey from Warsaw to Vilnius, Lithuania was great, a cabin on my own until it became slightly cramped with the unwelcome invasion by the only two morbidly obese women in Poland.

I had to change at Sestokai, and this is where the fun began. Imagine a journey through the back waters of Lithuania on a train that is built by Tonka Trucks, with a suspension so hard I could feel the rail track smack my arse every minute. The train was leaning dangerously to the right, and on some corners when he nearly hit 30mph I could almost touch the ground. It squeaked, bounced, croaked, the only rest bite I had was when the damn thing stalled at every station.

I think if I had of at least known how long the journey would have been then I would have made the most of it, instead I was on high alert for the entire journey, ‘is this my stop?’, ‘Do I need to get off here?’, ‘Will my stop be next?’, I couldn’t ask anybody, they were either drunk or aged old farmers that had been out picking mushrooms. I had learnt that nobody spoke English outside of the main cities, and they are quite resistant to help. Repeating what you said slowly and louder is pointless, I tried that a few times already, and you might as well be talking gibberish. If I had of known that it would have been 4 hours then I don’t think the ride would have been any more comfortable, only I wouldn’t have been living in expectation of my stop. Instead, we bounced through Lithuanian countryside, picking up farmers and drunks and dropping them off in fields and breweries.

I landed in Vilnius battered and bruised. The bus from Warsaw on the other hand takes less time and only costs 3€. What was I going to do with that information? In Eastern Europe I will be recommending the bus.



Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 12:49 Archived in Poland Tagged train warsaw poland vilnius Comments (0)

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