Thursday, 17 May 2012

Kaunas & Vilnius, Lithuania, 4.-6.5.2012, Day 1

New York for my 30th birthday was supposed to be my next trip after London but what do you know, I suddenly found myself booking flights to Kaunas for a weekend in May...I've been desperate to travel lately and just can't seem to stay put at all so this trip was much needed. Why somewhere like Kaunas, you might wonder? Where is it even? Well, Ryanair fly there from Tampere, it's the old capital of Lithuania, and I'd never been to Lithuania before. That's reason enough for me! Again, I went with my devoted travel companion Tiina, who was amazing enough to do all the arrangements and find information on Kaunas and Vilnius for us as I was too busy with work to think. Also, this was a real low-budget trip for a change: the flights were 52€, the hotel maybe 60€/person for two nights and I had 100€ with me, of which I spent half during the trip. A weekend in another country for approximately 150€? Not bad at all!

The flight from Tampere to Kaunas leaves pretty late in the evening, around 10 pm, which means that when you arrive in Kaunas, you won't be able to catch the Ryanair bus or whatever it is to the city centre. The thing to do, therefore, is to book a taxi in advance, preferably through your hotel. Apparently, in Lithuania, it's more expensive to catch a taxi from the street than it is if you've booked it in advance. So, there was a taxi driver holding a sign with Tiina's name on it waiting for us at the airport, and off we sped to our hotel, Park Inn Kaunas. A very nice hotel indeed, I think it was either four or five stars. The taxi cost something like 15€ from the airport to the hotel, by the way, so it wasn't too bad at all, especially if you get to share it with someone.

Our hotel was close to Laisvės Alėja, a lovely promenade leading to the Old Town, and also right next to Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is quite an impressive building at one end of the promenade. Lovely! I can definitely recommend the hotel!



My breakfast at the hotel.


In the morning, we left for Vilnius. As we only had two days in Lithuania, we'd decided to spend the first of them in the capital and the second in Kaunas. It's ridiculously cheap to travel by train in Lithuania - the fastest train will take you from Kaunas to Vilnius in one hour and 10 minutes and for that you pay around 5€! In Finland, you'd pay over 20€...Anyway, I thought the train trip was extremely interesting as the minute you leave Kaunas, it's all beautiful countryside and tiny train stations. Quite idyllic!


The view from our floor at the hotel in Kaunas.

Our train to Vilnius.


Myself and Tiina :).





I loved Vilnius! We basically spent the day walking around, admiring the many churches (I had no idea Lithuania was a Catholic country - for whatever twisted reason, Catholism is my favourite religion because it contains so many beautiful elements, which I'm not going to get into right now, and their churches are the most beautiful churches in the world), enjoying the sunshine (it was basically summer in Lithuania while they'd predicted snow for Finland for the weekend we were away...) and eating various things along the way. Thus, I'll just go straight to the pictures as this wasn't one of those trips where I run from place to place like a madwoman, making sure I see all the sights the place in question has to offer...


See? Summer <3!





Rotušės square.

We waited for these pizzas for almost two hours...the waitress also originally brought us something we didn't order and got mad at us when we told her it wasn't what we'd said we'd want...geeee...but these pizzas were excellent :).


Cathedral Square


Gediminas Castle

Three Crosses Hill

A view from Gediminas Hill

Kiwi ice cream!

The Presidential Palace



Gates of Dawn


And then it was back to Kaunas!
It was a great day and I really fell in love with Lithuania! It's such a pretty country with lots of nature and old buildings everywhere, just gorgeous! I felt very relaxed all the time even though we spent the whole day walking.

When we arrived back in Kaunas, we had a look around the promenade before heading back to the hotel for dinner and then to our room for the night.

Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Kaunas

Laisvės Alėja

Me and my pasta at the hotel - see, one day of sunshine and I'm already all sunburnt :D!

4 comments:

  1. ihania kuvia. Mäkin haluan käydä jossain vaiheessa Vilniuksessa.... <3 oliko se oikeasti NIIN halpa... wau :)

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  2. Kiitos! Suosittelen todellakin käymään, ja reissusta tosiaan tulee halpa, kun Ryanairilla pääsee :)!

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  3. You make me want to go to Lithuania. Vilnius seems quite a nice city, reminds me of Tallinn, somehow.

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    1. It's a really nice country! I love Estonia as well. I think Lithuania has more of a central European feel to it :).

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