Today was another travel day as we’re zipping through the Baltics. My trip will slow down in a few days as Chau and I part ways and I move onto Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe.
In the meantime though, it was time to leave Riga, Latvia even though it seemed like we just arrived.
We booked an afternoon bus again giving us time to do another tour of the town before we left.
Our guide today was really good and you could tell he really was passionate about his job and the history of his country.
He passed on alot of information. It was actually a little too much info as he would ramble on from time to time like an old man telling another anecdote.
It might have seem like info overload for us too because alot of the stories about the history of the city and country were the same ones we had heard during our tour yesterday.
In fact, some of the stories of how the country was yo-yo’d between Germany and Russia were the same as the ones we had heard a few days ago in Estonia.
I expect we’ll hear more of the same in the next city of Vilnius in Lithuania.
At least the history of the USSR, Germany, WWI and WWII will be ingrained in my head and that’s a good thing because the history is actually very fascinating.
Anyway by 1pm Chau and I ducked out of the tour a little early and met up with the two brits who we played foosball with last night to go for lunch.
We went to Sefpavars Vilhelms which is a little pancake house in the old town.
It was self service style so we just loaded up our plates with the different crepes and pancakes they had available. They also had a row of various berry sauces and sour cream to add to your pancakes.
I selected an assortment and topped them with different sauces.
It wasn’t until later that I actually saw the signs for the various offerings telling me what I had put on my plate.
By then it was too late and I ended up eating a meat stuffed pancake with peach sauce.
An interesting combination for sure…
After sitting around for a bit we went back to the hostel to get ready for our trip out of town.
Farhad, the man I met yesterday who’s also from Vancouver, was heading to Vilnius as well so the three of us boarded another Lux Express bus out of town at 3:30.
Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania was a relatively short 4 hour bus ride away – time to watch two more movies.
This time it was The Maze Runner and In Time.
About halfway through the trip the bus stopped at a checkpoint on the Latvia/Lithuania border where an officer came on board checking everyones’ IDs.
I actually was surprised as I though there were open borders in these countries. When the guard started looking at my passport I could see him flipping the pages looking for an entry stamp.
Now, I have plenty of stamps in my passport (it’s almost full) but I still haven’t received a stamp on this trip so it was funny when after flipping through the pages for a bit he finally nodded and handed back the passport to me.
Anyway, the bus ride was quick and before we knew it, it was 7:30pm and we had arrived in Vilnius.
The directions to the hostel seemed really complicated (there were 7 steps) and none of us wanted to lug a backpack through all that so we decided to splurge and split a taxi to the old town.
Our driver was a jolly man who was pretty happy their country’s basketball team had just placed second in the Euro tournament.
I sat in the front seat and watched the meter for a bit as it went from 4 euros to 5 euros – very reasonable.
I couple minutes later though as we entered the street our hostel was on I noticed it had all of a sudden climbed to 12 euros and the meter was quickly ticking 6 cents every second.
I totally missed when he switched it but, man, I knew we had just been ripped off.
Oh well, just another taxi scam casualty. One of those things that happens when you travel.
After settling in at the hostel we headed straight out to dinner at a restaurant the girl at the front desk had recommended.
The place was actually out of the main square and more in a residental area. It took awhile to find and then we only found it after some locals saw us with the map and asked if we needed help.
Turns out it was literally 10 feet away from where we were standing and we didn’t even know it.
For dinner I chose a platter of various appetizers which later I regretted as it was all heavy, fatty food.
Still good but not really what you’d want as a meal.
The platter had braised pig ear, cheese, garlic toast sticks and beans.
Chau and Farhad had normal meals that looked amazing which made me regret my choice even more.
Oh well, can’t bat 1000 all the time…
There are only two more days of the Chau/Todd adventure and we plan on making them count.
I told Chau I would join her and get drunk one night we’re together and that night is tomorrow. Also, the next and last day we’re together I’ve booked a car to drive around the countryside and do the ultimate day trip visiting a few different cities in Lithuania.
So, buckle up… the next couple days should be awesome…