The Opera in Vilnius

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I've read everywhere that Vilnius has a great selection of arts. I finally experienced this for myself at a recent performance of Carmen that I attended.

The Opera Theatre is on Vienolio str. 1, which is conveniently close to Gedimino g. You can purchase tickets online or at the Opera Theatre. Avoid shows that are advertised for children as I've heard that misbehaving is common and can cause disruption.

Local tip: try the hot chocolate- delicious, fudgy, warm, yum.

Upcoming Trip: Brussels and Bruges

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

From October 26th through the 31st I'll be visiting Brussels and Bruges. Stay tuned for travel posts ...

Cool Things in Lithuania

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little cars with trunks that open up to create a coffee shop

Balloon rides over Vilnius

Wine Tasting in Vilnius, Lithuania

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I recently went to a wine tasting at Vyno Namai on Sv. Stepono g. in Vilnius. This is near the egg statue, near the market in the Old Train Station. While not a particular wine connoisseur, I enjoyed learning about the different types of wine served. The owner was incredibly knowledgeable and his English was excellent. We sampled Macedonian wine and I have attached an image below of my favorite bottle.

Delicious Red Wine for 35 litas per bottle

A weekend in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Klaipeda Old Town

Klaipeda is the only functioning seaport in Lithuania. From Klaipeda you have easy access to the Curonian Spit where there are incredible sights. Out of high tourist season Klaipeda is a quiet and peaceful city that lent itself to a romantic weekend outside of our hectic lives in Vilnius. To travel from Vilnius to Klaipeda we took a 4 hour bus ride from the Vilnius bus station to the Klaipeda bus station. In each direction the bus stopped once for a bathroom break and was an easy ride. Because we only had short time in Klaipeda (after travel time less than 24 hours) we took this visit as a scouting mission to determine if we wanted to come back in the future to see more. I would suggest to anyone wanting to visit Klaipeda from Vilnius to spend two nights in Klaipeda. You really need at least one full day to see all of the sights.

Where to stay: The Memel hotel, a simple hotel in the Old Town is a good value and has a nice, free breakfast. While in Klaipeda we also saw a hotel called the Old Mill, right near the water (the Curonian Lagoon). From the outside this hotel looked wonderful, and was in a great location. We will try to stay there during our next visit.

The extensive free breakfast at the Memel Hotel

What to do: We visited the Curonian Spit National Park and the Sculpture Park.

The Curonian Spit is a narrow piece of land that separates the Baltic Sea from the Curionian Lagoon. It is truly beautiful and you need to spend a full day or more to see everything. On the Curonian Spit you can visit dunes, see the Baltic Sea, the Hill of Witches, and the town of Nida. We only had the time to visit the Baltic Sea and it was beautiful- very worth the visit. To travel to the Curonian Spit take a ferry from the pier to Smiltyne. The ferry works all day from 7 am until 9 pm and is just about 5 litas round trip.

A view of the Baltic sea from the Curonian Spit

The Sculpture Park is in Klaipeda right outside of Old Town by the bus station. In the park you can see statues from local artists in the 1980s and also a hint of the past. In the 1800s the park was a main cemetery in Klaipeda, however it was destroyed by the Soviets and was recreated into a park.

Sculpture Park

Eerie remains of the historical cemetery in Sculpture Park

Where to eat: Normally, in Lithuania we have an easy time deciding where to eat, however during the off season in Klaipeda many restaurants are closed. Additionally, Klaipedians really love to add mayonnaise to everything, so menus at the few open restaurants were not so appetizing. Luckily, we found a hidden gem- the Stora Anstis (Tiltu gatve 6). This cozy restaurant (only 6 tables) was housed in an old German bunker and decorated with historical antiques. We met the owner of the restaurant when he served us several shots of special vodka and became even more enamored with Stora Anstis. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Stora Antis

Interior of Stora Antis

Borscht at the Stora Antis- delicious!

A river running through Klaipeda Old Town

Have you been to Klaipeda before? What do you suggest?

Shopping in Vilnius

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The other day I heard a few women chatting about how they can't find any good shopping in Vilnius. Perhaps we are living in different cities, because I think the shopping is great. There is something for everyone, from mega malls to local boutiques.

Stikliu g. is the place to go for local designers and boutique shopping. Gedimino g. has local shops like Tiger (a fun odds and ends store with cheap prices), and international stores like Zara. On Gedimino g. there is a new mall (Gedimino 9) opening soon.

If you are looking for a mega mall visit the Akropolis, Panorama, and Ozas. Both Akropolis and Ozas have Maxima grocery stores to really make the trip one stop shopping. Big news in Vilnius was the recent opening of H&M at the Akropolis mall.

Souvenir shops are frequent on Pilies g. and near the Gates of Dawn. I prefer to pick up souvenirs and gifts for family and friends during weekend festivals on Gedimino g.

I recommend saving space in your luggage for local goods like amber, knit goods, and linen.