So I have officially been to all three Baltic countries! That was one of the many things I was hoping to accomplish during my time here, and whoohoo!
The reality is, all three countries are rather similar in terms of appearance. You’ve got the cobble stone streets running through a medeival style old town, magestic churches and of course people giving you that well knoxn, cold baltic smile.
Vilnius however did have a unique characteristic that made it more charming than Riga, which was there were churches EVERYWHERE! Standing upon the hill that overlooks the city I easily counted 20 church towers. The irony of this is that Lithuania, much like Estonia, is one of the most unreligious countries in the world. Our tour guide briefly explained to us that the country has deep pagan roots and there are still many who practice pagan rituals.
Like most other cities, there was a free walking tour organized that took us around the city by food to show us some of the lesser know areas, and get a few stories that you wouldn’t be able to read about on Trip Advisor. For instance, my favorite story was about USSR filming locations. According to our tour guide, back in the USSR days they had quite the desire to make their own films. Seeing as travelling outside the USSR to film was pretty much near impossible, film makers had to use what was around to try and create ‘exoxtic’ scenery. For instance, they would film scenes that were supposed to take place in Riga, and films that were tended to have a south American feel to them were shot in the courtyard pictured below (Vilnius).
I thought food was cheap in Tallinn, but I obviously hadn’t been to Vilnius yet. Food is cheap, and its GOOD! Its not often that the two go hand in hand like such.
Cozy: Due to it’s name I of course had some pretty high expectations concernig the coziness of this restaurant. I do have to say they lived up to just that. A great breakfast menu, with a variety of choices (even croissants!!). And of course, you’d have to be starving to spend over 10€ for your meal.
Pinavija café: A quaint little café that has the best setting and amazing pastries to choose from.
Now I absolutely cannot talk about Vilnius without mentioning The Republic of Uzupis. A suburb of Vilnius located near the old town and is considered the artistic district of Vilnius. To get there you have to cross a bridge over the Vilnia river, and entering the republic means you agree to the 4 main laws posted on the welcomoing sign: you must smile and be open minded, drive no faster than 40 kph, respect artistic talents, and finally, do not drive your car into the river below. Pretty laid back if you ask me.
Uzupis also has their own flag, currency, constitution and of course national day, which just happens to be April 1st. Strangely enough, on this day the fountain located in the middle of the main square has beer flowing out of its spout rather than water… just goes to show that these people know how to live. I mean their parliment building doubles as a bar and is called the ‘barliment’.
This little Repulic also has a mayor who cares, just watch him crush a car with a tank in order to make a point about cars being illegally parked in the bike lane:
Here are some photos of the Republic:
Check out their constitution below, who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?