Soon it’s time to leave for my next road trip. The ferry leaves at 21.00 for Poland and I’m listening to “Timbuktu – Jag drar” at the highest volume at the same time as I’m trying to figure out what to bring. It is kind a hard to know what to bring when you don’t know what to expect but that’s the lovely part too, no plans, no must do, no destination, instead we just jump in the car and drive.
We do however have some plans, the ferry to Poland and or first night at a hotel in Vilnius is booked and if I’m not wrong it will be a nice cozy budget hotel in the old city and as long as we keep left in Poland, it will be easy to find our way to Vilnius.
Our plan was to keep left and in that way get into Lithuania as soon as possible and then drive to Vilnius but we kind a forgot that and suddenly we were in Warzaw. A small detour on 30 miles from the expected tour but we got to see Poland instead and even if some of the roads are a bit small, windy and needs new asphalt most of their roads are in mint condition, the polish driving style..that’s a complete other story though!
A broken down truck caused a long delay before we were allowed to drive on the ferry and once we took off we realized that even if we are still in the archipelago the waves are kind a big and its rolling…this will be an interesting trip. Lucky for us the beer was really cheap and if you drink a few you will get your body to roll in the same rate as the boat. To bad not the rest of the people on the boat understood this and we were pretty much alone both in the restaurant, nightclub and arcade hall.
Now we will fire up the Jacuzzi, open a bottle of wine and celebrate that we arrived to Vilnius, our budget hotel rocks!
After spent one day in Vilnius I’m still not sure what to think about it. The roads to get here were really nice but the houses along the roads is not the same. Maybe half of the houses along the road are abandoned or should be tear downed because of lack of maintenance and the other half is newly built and really nice. Inside the city its really nice though even if they of course have some rougher neighborhoods (like where our hotel is). It looks like the project with big, concrete houses with wood balconies which are all rotten. Walking into the city center it’s really nice though, most is renovated and its clean and nice. The whole city center feels like Stockholms Old city with the exception that everything is cheap and the people are friendly.
You can however see the traces from the finance crises. In a 4 floors shopping mall more than half was empty but I found a store that sold old soviet things. Don’t get supprised if I come home in a uniform, a gasmask or with a huge kick as bomb.
The day were spent just walking round with several stops, sitting in the sun and drinking a beer or drink. Once back to the hotel we jumped into the Jacuzzi before its time to head out again, this time to find some food before we try Vilnius nightlife.
We have been walking up and down, forward and backward and of course you get thirsty and have to take a short stop for some refreshments. We started kind a early with a dinner and I tried some sort of Lithuanian stew, I’m not a big fan of either potatoes or cabbage but this was really nice and perfect to eat before a long night out drinking. It ended up with we found a place called “Gringo”, we had a lot of beers and met a lot of different people. A good night for sure and extra fun for me when they refused to believe that I was the older one, first after they verified my driving licence they agreed that I’m older than Sandra and by some reason I doubt that she enjoyed it as much as I did.
A little bit tired after yesterday we started the day with a hang over breakfast. 2 pizzas later, 3 soda. Everything for only 60 Swedish kronor (€7), that’s cheap but as google say “you did not come to Vilnius for its shopping”. Instead we took a walk and found an awesome fort, nice view over the city and a small market just outside where I found a big soviet military winter hat. I had a craving but no, I didn’t bought it!
Now we are back at the hotel and trying to decide where to go tomorrow, we thinking about Klaipeda but haven’t really decided, any ideas?
Our idea of going to Klaipeda was never realized, instead we went to Palanga. Palanga is just a few miles from Klaipeda and while Klaipeda is suppose to be an city with industries and everything this is more of just an resort. We haven’t had time to look into it to much but it looks really neat with like on street with a lot of restaurants and bars and clubs and the beach looked just marvelous even if its to windy to go for a swim today.
To get here was no problem at all and after we started the days with pancakes we headed out on the highway and boom, we were here. This hotel does not have a Jacuzzi beside the bed but the room is huge, I think the hotel is recently built, we got a minibar and a pool somewhere. The city is kind a small and I would say a typical summer resort, everything is built around tourism and the beach and on the main street there is a amusement park and I guess everything just close down during the winter.
Palanga is the shit, its all an classic summer resort just like I sad but they atmosphere, the beach, the pier and all the activities that are happening all around just make it crazy, The whole place is just built for tourists and even if you can feel that winter is coming (its getting cold during night) its really awesome to be here. Both me and Sandra has starting to get a cold bu who cares for we live king king and queen here, eating a lot of good food, drinking nice drinks and clubbing all night long. If you are in the neighborhood I can really recommend “Klub Exit”, 3 floors with a small bar on the middle floor together with a huge dancing floor, with nice house music and smoke machines, confetti bombs and laser shows I only seen on TV before.
Just booked a new hotel in Riga so lets go there, we couldn’t find the address on the GPS but how hard can it be?
Even if we didn’t found the address on the GPS it was really easy to find our way but suddenly we arrived to what looked like an abandoned house over the road. A bit confused at the beginning we soon realized that this was an old toll house from the old times and then we were in Latvia. The road conditions went from really good to really bad just as we crossed the border and you can really see that this is a much poorer country.
Riga is the biggest city we been to so far on this trip and you really see and feel it, a completely different atmosphere, people are more stressed, always people on the streets and its more expensive here, not Sweden expensive but still. We arrived pretty early so after an quick shower we headed out and and once we started with 1.5l Sangria as a pre-drink, I think we all know where it ended. Later we moved on to a sky bar and took a bottle of wine while having a blasting view over the city. While the sun was setting we headed into the night life of Riga.
Well, the nightlife here sucks, we had some weird russian drinks, we went to a club with really lousy gogo-dancers (good looking but they couldn’t dance) and everybody we ask just keep telling us “You should go to Palanga”
A bit tired after all partying and clubbing we spent this day in relax mode. A cup of coffee here, some water there, attempted to do shopping but only found trash but we did find a really cool market hall. Former a place for zeppelins was rebuilt to a huge indoor market where you could find anything you wanted, from vegetables and fruit to meat and fish. It was packed with people but you never were really afraid of pickpockets and except that mix a hangover with the stench of fish it was awesome. However the language is a problem, its not any problem at the hotel or at the restaurants but as soon as you start to talk to people you realize which low level of English they have and on the market where most of the people were older, English was non existent. I don’t think its an bad idea to learn a few phrases or at least words in Russian or Latvian before next trip here.
Just a few pictures from today, the last pictures are our hotel. As you can see it feels kind a harsh and you can really tell that its a poor country but the streets are so clean, no garbage on the street and not a lot of graffiti on the walls and the contrast are huge between the newly built and the old.
We loaded the car, charged the battery on our mp3 player and headed for the border to Estonia and our hotel in Tallin. This time we didn’t saved any money and booked a room on a 4-star hotel, we guesses it would be pretty nice and yes, it is. Driving here were not any problem except at one place, we arrived to a roadwork and a huge blue sign with an white arrow showed us that we should drive to the left, into the oncoming traffic side and Sandra, she turns right
Me: Why did you turn right when the sign said turn left?
Sandra: I’m just following the car ahead of us, can he so can I
Me: Ok, but that’s a truck who belongs to the roadwork?
Sandra: Oh…yea…well I didn’t thought of that
It was a bit bumby ride but not any real problems and shortly after that we changed driver. My contribution was a few laps in the roundabout instead, I’m might be able to blame the GPS but to be honest, I had no idea where to leave.
Our hotel room is really nice and we got a bar in the lobby, one on 5th floor and one in the pool. Oh yea, the pool area contain three Jacuzzis, an “adventure swimming pool” with a waterfall and stuff like that and 7-8 different saunas, massage and all what you can think of. Do we like it here, heck yea!
Tallinn was really nice even if its the most popular Swedish tourist resort of those we visited, and you see it. Both that the prices are higher here than anywhere else but also that you can find menus in bot English and Swedish and that you hear people speak Swedish all the time. I did however like it anyway but if I only can recommend one of all the cities I think Tallinn will be the last one. Vilnius is much smaller but more genuine and not that much tourists, Tallinn is both a much bigger city and a have a lot of tourism while Riga is somewhere between those two (both in distance and in size).
The roads are in really good condition and its easy to drive here, except for the polish suicide drivers the traffic is quite calm, they are supposed to have road tolls but we never saw any. If you only look out for the tram while driving in the cities you will not have any problem at all. Everything is cheap here and its your budget which sets the limit, if you want to can more or less live for a penny a day or you can go crazy and live a life in luxury for a small amount of cash. English works really good as language but it will be a problem when you try to speak to the older population or leave the main roads.