Good to be back in Vilnius

2

These next two years are perfecly starting in my lovely Lithuanian city. A small week in Vilnius where I could take rest with my friend after having worked in Paris and before going to study in Tallinn!

Statue in the National Gallery square

Statue in the National Gallery square

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The situation, and why I am so happy

I love the Baltic States. EstoniaLatvia and Lithuania, maybe I should add Poland. Don’t ask me to explain how and why. I cannot explain the link I have with these charming little countries.

As I used to say I started to live my life in Estonia when I made my Erasmus semester in Tallinn, destination I have chose because it was close to Finland… It was from far the 6 best months of my life.

I have continued my experience in Vilnius for an internship, after having follow a Lithuanian girl. Again, I had a wonderful semester, living the Baltic summer and winter!

But the experience stopped, and I had to come back to France, not without pain. My studies requesting a final exam and me money.

I search in the Europe how to live abroad, find a job, an internship and even a master. And where I find the perfect master program? The little Estonian capital Tallinn: Engineering and Design. Being French without a Bachelor (but a master) it was really complicated to get enrolled, but at the mid August I received the mail, I have been accepted by the Estonian Academic Council to study in their country.

Seesight from the castle

Seesight from the castle

Then everything went fast: in one week I had to find my living place, book my flight to Vilnius, end my working contract and pack all my stuff to live in the northern Europe.

Two months of high pressure for a big big big relief! I go to Estonia again!

How it feels to leave France

I should be clear. I never enjoyed living in France. My semester in Paris was boring: no friends there, meteo, work, pressure from Tallinn and some other reasons. Best moments were when friends came to visit me or when I left Paris to Amsterdam and for my second Eurotrip by car.

If I have family in France (Really?) I am kind of solitary and autonomous guy. No attachment to this country and I used to live far from my region, 900km or 2600km doesn’t make a huge difference finally.

A good news

Little changment: I bought a new camera, I hope the new photos will be better for you :)

My plan for my days in Lithuania

My friend asked me many times what I planed do in Vilnius for five days and I could only say that I wanted to chill in the streets and feel the good atmosphere of the city. That’s actually the trust.

I don’t get bored there, or not that much. Even if I know all the street, park and main monument of the center, I like to see them again: different season, different light, different smells.

My main aim was to visit around, few place I didn’t have time to check last winter, such as the Lentvaris and Verkiai Palaces.

Arrival in Lithuania

The first contact with the country was with the rain. Not a lot at the airport because it start in the afternoon after my friend bring me to her house by car.

Just arrive and already recovering old habits. Having a small lunch, (very) hot tea, small ‘nape’ (talking while resting) before going outside.

If I wanted to make a small tour in the center, the rain stopped my desire :) We had just enough time to go to shop near the house when the rain started, we had to wait some moment inside the commercial center expecting a more calme moment to come back home!

Second day and checking if the old town has changed

I know it will surprise more than one personne but no, after 4 months Vilnius haven’t change that much. Churches are still here, street also, only girls have changed, skurts are now the standard outside.  And that far from a bad thing.

While my friend is working I walked alone in the Old Town for a typical tourist trip. I don’t even need map now, that makes the only difference between me and any tourists.

I concentrate on the main places like the Cathedral, the Gedimino Avenue, the Town Hall and the way to the Gate of Dawn. I finish with the old Jewish district that I like a lot.

Town Hall and fountain

Town Hall and fountain

Third day dedicated to particular parts of Vilnius

The second day was quite short so I must use my third to finish the old town before going around. I wasn’t in Uzupis for example…

I left with my friend in the early morning, something like 9am. The morning was fresh and the sky clean from any clouds, perfect for a walk :)

We step out the trolleybus on the Konstitucijos prospektas (first avenue on the right bank of the city), we could have walk to the National Gallery‘s square to admire the landscape and make photo of the statue that I still don’t know its name despite of intensive research. But still, the view is nice and the place like in soviet time: grey.

We continued to the famous Green Bridge, last place where the soviet signs have been kept: four important statues of soviet workers. We separated there, she went to her job and I went by the river.

I could walked on the river’s bank, where flowers have grown up, drawing lovely message such as « IR AS TAVE« . Once at the Mindaugas Bridge I take off my jacket, it was too hot! I decided to climb the Kalnu hill to reach the Vilnius Castle, better knows as the Gedimino’s Tower (starting point of the Baltic Way). Its landscape isn’t the best but it’s easier to access that the Hill of Crosses.

Ir As Tave

Ir As Tave

This day was rich in kilometers. From the Kalnu parks I went to the twin churches: Saint Anne church and Saint Francis church! I still don’t understand how Lithuanian could have built them so … close.
A must see place was following this religious stop, I went to Republic of Uzupis, strange district of Vilnius, tourist often consider only its main monument – the Angel of Uzupis – as the main place there, but there is more interesting thing to see if you want to climb the hill or try to explore the small streets.

I chose to not explore all this place, midday was coming and I started to feel hungry. I walked thoughLiteratu Gatve with its artistic wall and pass by the University and President Palace, to stop in Cancan restaurant for lunch.

Crossing all the city, by walk

After lunch I decided to go to the Vingis Parks located on the western part of Vilnius, 40 minutes walking (or more) from the Cathedral square. The park is a good place for walking and event, last week Lady Gaga was performing and my friend ‘attended’ somehow to the concert :)

On the way to Vingis I visit the Orthodox church of Saint Michael and Saint Constantine, the Trade Union Palace and the military cemetery. Before I’ve been only once there, during winter.

Amphitheater in Vingis Park

Amphitheater in Vingis Park

I got a message from my friend when I was in the park « we could meet in 30 minutes » well, I’ll have to run or to use bus. What I did. I bought ice cream in Mc Donalds I we met at the main post office. Then, we went to the « mustamae » district where all houses are old wooden houses. The district is located further the Vingis Park… After our tour wecame back to the Gedimino’s Avenue and to home. The day was long and my foot were really tired.

Guillaume Speurt

Guillaume Speurt

French settled in Estonia, I have spent my last years in the Baltic States. I love photography and travelling in Eastern and Central Europe, I write this blog to relate my experiences.
Guillaume Speurt

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2 commentaires

  1. I had seen some of these sights during our trip to Vilnius last week. I love the Baltics…sad to say, it was only a short 6-days trip and visited Klaipeda, Kaunas, Riga, Vilnius and The Hill of Crosses in Siauliai..wish to visit it again in the future…and i love vilnius!!I always love it when I met new friends when I travel and it feels so sad when I have to leave..things only left are the memories, experiences and the photos I took…

  2. Happy you have enjoyed it ! You've been in two of my lovely cities: Vilnius and Riga, but missed the one where I live todays: Tallinn.I have never visited the Hill of Crosses, I am waiting for your photos!