I am Vilnius'd out. Three days wandering the same small city.
I admit, my first impressions of the place weren't great. But Thursday - I found food, I had a good look around, I saw the view from the hill. I learned to trust the city from Cathedral Square onwards.
Yesterday I filled in a few gaps, ventured off the tourist trail a little bit, began to feel comfortable in the Old Town as well.
Today I have done my shopping. I have bought my obligatory amber. Chose necklaces for mum and sister then remembered the amount of money I'd left hidden in my notebook in case of the unlikely event of getting mugged. 'Excellent,' thought I. 'If I spot some amber I like the look of, I have some money for it.' Unfortunately, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the one I bought for my sister. I had to take my spare money and spend hours trying to choose another one. I wasn't going to buy myself any amber. Rings have to fit perfectly or they're just annoying. Bracelets rattle. And I'm already walking around with three necklaces on. I have my silver dragon which has been around my neck for ten years, give or take five very harrowing days this time last year when it fell under a stage. A chunk of jade that I've been wearing since August. And whenever I travel I wear a gold St Christopher which my grandad gave me for either my 18th or 21st birthday. Can't remember which but it was a significant birthday. They're all different lengths so they don't jangle or get tangled up and I wear them between different layers of clothing anyway.
God knows what to take back for Dad. Another mug? A keyring? And yet... Amber jewellery is a no. He doesn't wear jewellery. He doesn't even have a wedding ring. Never has done. For years I found it odd to see men with wedding rings. So amber, no. I thought about Lithuanian snacks but other than the language on the packet, everything seems much the same as at home. Any suggestions?
So I've had three days here. I don't know if I could truthfully recommend it as a holiday destination but I quite like this city. What I think sticks out here is the little things. Old ladies crossing themselves as they go through the Gates of Dawn. The 'God Dog' cafe (I will show you a picture of the sign when I get home. Until then, I have no way of getting my photos off my card). The 'Laugh :)' graffiti on the side of a building. Puddles in the road so cars splash pedestrians. Cars chirruping when they're remote unlocked (the first time I heard this I stopped dead. That's not a real sound, that's a sound effect! It's illegal in the UK, so Dad tells us every time it happens on TV. Not in Lithuania). Snow. The way they name their days as 'First Day', 'Second Day' etc. Pica (Does not mean small. Much more obvious, at least when you know that 'c' in Lithuanian is pronounced 'ts', as in 'cats'.). The way the belfry is perfectly straight in real life yet leans terrifyingly in photos. The buttons on pelican crossings! There's no button, you just lay your hand on the box and the light comes on. I love it! Teapots embedded in a wall. The Segway party I came across. The unicyclists I didn't have time to take a photo of yesterday. Effeminate statues. Long-handled dusters. Gediminas the Zombie King.
So there are plenty of small things I have enjoyed and been entertained by here. Tomorrow I would love to get the bus to Trakai. Vilnius is lovely but I've run out of things to do here. Bus travel involves being brave and also hoping I still have enough litas for a return ticket.
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