Crossing the border between Poland and Lithuania
It was a strange feeling to cross the border between Poland and Lithuania, into what was once one of the Soviet Socialist Republics without even having to stop. The border checkpoints are still there and in the gloomy light of the afternoon the whole area reminds me of a ghost town. I wish I would have felt more comfortable stopping and getting out of the car to take some decent pictures, because the ones through the dirty car window really don’t convey the way the place felt.
I look at the signs in Lithuanian, and try to imagine how these words must be pronounced. There are some different characters, accents under letters like the Polish ą and ę but also under “i”s and “u”s, there are also different accents over letters… I have read that this language is the native tongue of less than 3 million people. Somehow I’ve always loved to see and hear other languages.
Coat of arms of Vilnius. That's St. Christopher in the middle.
Once past the border I stopped at a gas station to buy a map of Lithuania. I didn’t have any Litas, but that was no problem. A Lita, the currency of Lithuania, has about the same value as a Polish Zloty. After getting a map, we continued on our way towards Vilnius. But, just like most everywhere a credit or debit card will do. Our first stop would be Alyta. I looked at houses in some of the villages along the way. The names of these little towns escape me. It feels poorer here, I even see some windows covered with plastic instead of glass.
After Alyta it is dark and we decide to just blast through to Vilnius. We’ll see about a place to stay when we get there! I like this kind of travel: deciding to go somewhere on the spur of the moment, getting in the car and going.