[This is a continuation of my last post. You can find Part 1 here.]
On the next morning, our host drove us to Trakai, a beautiful little town surrounded by lakes. I had put on all clothes that I had. Layering does work so well! The place was lovely and we enjoyed exploring the area. The lake water was so clean that I was actually amazed! There were chunks of ice here and there (-13 that morning). It was a sunny, clear day and we decided to explore as long as our feet didn’t freeze.
We could see the castle, perhaps what Trakai is most known for, across the lake. We took some pictures and went round the solitary park. We went inside the museum in the park after about 45 minutes. Lithuania was a part of Polish-Lithuania commonwealth until 1795. The largest minority group (6%) in Lithuania today is Polish. The lady at the museum could speak some Polish and gave us a tour. Lithuanian language is a unique language and is not related to other Slavic languages.
After the museum, we went to visit the castle. The scenery was lovely. Beautiful little houses and cafes along the street on a sunny day, castle on the backdrop and the lake, it was all enchanting! We went for the tour of the castle which lasted for about 2 hours. There were nice royalty collections of the things, weapons, furniture etc from the commonwealth era. As this town is quite touristic, we were not the only ones talking in English. Information in Polish language along with English, Lithuanian and German was available in almost in all major attractions in Vilnius and Trakai.
Our host had suggested us to try “kibinai” – typical Lithuanian pastries filled with onion and mutton. The cafe with a nice view of the lake and castle was crowded so we went to another restaurant. Kibinai was good and the filling was similar to Polish pierogi. I also had a delicious herring salad.
After lunch, we decided to go to Vilnius center. We walked through the center of the lovely town of Trakai to the bus station. While waiting for the bus, we had some Lithuanian beer alongside the lake and it was really good!
After reaching to Vilnius bus station, we looked for the way into old town. It was quite chilly again by then but we were warming ourselves by walking. We went through the old streets of Vilnius into its lovely old town. It was starting to get dark as it was about 5 in the evening already. After getting a map from tourist point, we went around a bit. Lithuania uses Litas, but is using Euro from January, 2015. That’s why we had only found 100 litas at exchange counter in Poland. It was not so easy to find exchange point even in the most touristic part of the city, but we were able to find an exchange point in a mall. We went for dinner after the exchange. To get people used to the Euro prices, they had prices both in Litas and Euros at the supermarkets and restaurants.
After dinner we decided to call it a night. We used the free wifi in the mall to look for right bus number and stop to go back. We stood at the bus station and saw our bus passing without stopping there! We walked a bit forward and saw another bus stop with our bus schedule in it! Turns out that Lithuania has bus stops (with bus sign and everything) even for tourist buses and if there is no schedule of the bus you want to take there, then it’s not the right one. We decided to walk to the main bus station and take another bus. We finally took a bus and reached to our place in 20 minutes. I was really enjoying Vilnius, it was such a quiet, less crowded place with a very unique feel.