A Taste of Lithuania
Vilnius Travel Blog› entry 36 of 113 › view all entries
June 27th, 2008 – by: afredrix
I'm going to interject a little request here: On behalf of me and all the helpful Jozefs, Marios and inhaling students of the world, I ask that you PLEASE be kind to foreigners. If it weren't for people like this, I'd still be sitting in the Krakow train station. So the next time you see a lost traveler, with a heavy backpack and bewildered look, please lend a hand.
But back to the streets of Vilnius. We made it to Justas (where I, of course, had to defend my directional skills) and headed out for lunch. We met up with Vytas and their friend Tadas, and the boys showed me to a very traditional Lithuanian meal. You learn very quickly that the Liths love their potatoes. The most famous is the Zeppelin. A potato filled with minced meat. This is what I ate. Preceded, of course, by the famed cold beet soup. The idea of this scared me for many reasons: Cold soup? Really? Beets? Yuck. And not to mention the hot pink/purple hue I hadn't seen since the late 80s. But what do you know...I really liked it.
While we waited for our dessert, I learned how to count to 10 with the best method ever: a game of Battleship! The placemats had the squares and because of my game vs Tadas, I can now count from vionose to deshim. Mom and foreign language teachers around the globe: take note!
The boys headed back to work and left me to explore the KGB Museum. Vilnius has a museum dedicated to the history and genocide of the Lithuanian people from 1930s-90 at the hands of the soviets. It's set up in the building that housed the former KGB headquarters, prison cells and all. It was a lot of reading, but really good information. I'm definitely traveling in an area with a somber, recent history that seems to still show on the faces of the older generation.
In the evening, the boys, Vytas's girlfriend Algita and I left town for the lakes and castle of the nearby Trakai. We played volleyball and the boys swam (it was definitely not warm enough to join) until the mosquitoes drove us away. I tried yet another traditional dish for dinner--the kibina. A pastry pocket of meat and perhaps my new favorite. To top off the night, we rented a boat and took turns rowing around the castle. I discovered I'm not so great at rowing. The coordination has a lot to gain and I think we feared for our boat with a couple turns. But I pulled it off and managed the last leg, rowing safely to shore without any damage.
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