Travel Month - November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Personal + Travel


This month, J and I finally made our way to the Kalvariju Market, where in addition to finding the cheapest potatoes and apples in the city, we also found some tasty fried meat pastries (see below). I also explored a new cafe during the few not rainy weekends and ate at several tasty restaurants during Vilnius Gastronomic Week.

We spent the recent Thanksgiving holiday in Frankfurt, Germany because of the awesome 20 euro flights we found. It was my first time visiting Germany and Baby ISO's first flight. I'll be talking more about both soon!

Christmas is coming around Vilnius and it is beautiful. I'm looking forward to the upcoming events  in Vilnius including a pop-up event featuring local artists and designers and a Christmas Bazaar. Maybe we will even get a tiny bit of snow to make everything look that much more festive.


Street art spotted on our walk to the Kalvariju Market



Blog


I've just finished up my stint writing a few articles on Pink Pangea: 5 Off The Beaten Path Destinations in Vilnius, Lithuania and A Chat about Road Tripping with a Baby. I also took one of Pink Pangea's free travel writing workshops and really enjoyed it. Have you taken any of their workshops? Which ones would you suggest?

Also, along with growing blogging and writing skills I've signed up for, and have slowly be working through a free blogging workshop by The Nectar Collective. Melyssa produces such excellent and helpful content that I always look forward to spending the few moments that I get to myself going through the material. I've also recently signed up for a free editing workshop that I'll begin working through when I get a chance.  If I end up liking the course I'll share it in one of my upcoming Travel Month posts.

I'm also thinking about making a few changes in my blog design to make things easier to navigate. Perhaps you can help by suggesting someone who can make drop down menus? If you'd like to see anything else design-wise please feel free to let me know in the comments or via email.


Looking Forward To


I'm both excited for and dreading heading back to the US to celebrate Christmas. The flight is long for adults, and I'm sure even longer for babies! I'm expecting to have many long nights while the baby and I recover from jet lag. It will be such fun though for Baby ISO to see his grandparents again and to meet the rest of the family!


How was your November? Are you traveling over the holidays?

This Is Not Another Gift Guide

Friday, November 27, 2015

It is the time for gift guides and holiday mayhem in this commercial world in which we live, and despite my love for Christmas, I'm not interested in sending out yet another gift guide into the interwebs. Instead, in light of the recent acts of terror and the ever-present, alarming gun problems in the US I'd like to daydream about a place, a world, where I'd like to live.

I'd like to live in a world where friends from different countries, colors, religions, and ideologies can discuss their differences over a cup of coffee.

Where schools are safe places for children to learn, grow, and excel. Where every child has the resources and teachers necessary to help them reach their potential.

Where parents or spouses don't need to worry if their loved ones will come home safely that night.

Where doctors and scientists have the equipment, funding, and creativity needed to cure the sick.

Where the only worry of extinction of flora or fauna comes through study of past events like the extinction of the dinosaurs or the dodo bird.

Where people can love who they love without fear, persecution, or hate.

Where water is potable and no one has to worry when their next meal will be.

Before we become wrapped up in the holiday season, I'd like for you to think about what type of world you'd like to live in and how that could be accomplished. Instead of sharing gift guides or getting caught up in the holiday rush I'm going to reflect upon ways that I can contribute to making this world resemble my daydream. So today, as I write this over my morning coffee, I'm going to give what I can to a charity that encourages reading and education. I know that this contribution is nothing near enough to help educate and better the world, but I'm sure even the littlest thing can help in some way. I hope that you'll consider contributing to making the world a safer place this holiday season.

*I've disabled comments for this post. 



10 Things to do in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tips for visiting Klaipeda, Lithuania and the Curonian Spit


Our recent visit to Klaipeda, Lithuania was a very laid back trip for us, yet we were still able to see quite a bit of Lithuania's third largest city and only port. Both online and in travel guides I couldn't find a lot of information about what to do in Klaipeda, so we instead wandered the winding streets to see what we could uncover. We found a budding coffee culture, a creepy statue, sneaky street art, and much more. It was pleasant to just walk the parks that flanked the river and wander the docks by the Curonian lagoon to watch fishing boats come and go.


1) Wander the Old Town: Klaipeda has a cozy little old town with Scandinavian influenced architecture. It is small enough that dedicating a day to wandering is sufficient, though I think taking it in slowly over a few days was just right for us.

2) Cafe Hop: Lithuanians drink coffee, that is for sure. A couple new cafes have cropped up in Klaipeda that really seem to take advantage of a Lithuanian's love for coffee and growing interest in brewing techniques and single origin beans. (check out next week's post for some suggested cafes!).



3) Try the Freshest Smoked Fish: Klaipeda is a fishing city through and through. On sunny days soak up your vitamin D along the piers while watching the fishing boats come and go. You'll also spot  fish, so fresh that it's right off the boat, being smoked and sold to passersby.




4) See the Creepy Black Ghost: One of the things that I was sure I wanted to see this trip to Klaipeda was the Black Ghost statue (I had heard about it on the Say Labas podcast). Pretty cool, right?





5) Watch the Hand-Cranked Drawbridge Open or Close: To view the Black Ghost statue from the front you must wait for the hand-cranked drawbridge to close for you to walk across. See those two guys in the middle of the bridge? They crank the bridge open and closed several times per hour.




6) Eat Lithuanian Food: Lithuania has some tasty cuisine, including borscht, potato pancakes, cold beet soup, and cepelinai, to name a few. Try some delicious food at Stora Antis, or taste beloved Lithuanian cheese at Dziugas.

7) Look for Sneaky Street Art: I love to look for street art wherever I go. I didn't see a huge street art scene in Klaipeda, though I did find a few cool pieces that caught my eye!



8) Check out the Post Office: I know, this tip sounds questionable, but have you ever seen a post office more beautiful than this one?



9) Search for Sculptures around the City and in the Sculpture Park: While in Klaipeda, J and I saw a family doing what appeared to be a scavenger hunt to find all of the statues around the city. They looked like they were having a blast, and hopefully one of their stops was to visit the Sculpture Park. J and I visited the Sculpture Park our first time in Klaipeda and it made for some cool photos.




10) Take the ferry to the Curonian Spit: Last but certainly not least for your visit in Klaipeda, I suggest actually leaving Klaipeda and heading to the Curonian Spit, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Even just a visit to the Spit for a couple of hours will allow you to walk the long beaches, see pristine forests, and dip your feet into the chilly Baltic Sea. With a visit of a day or more (or with a bike or car) you can visit the Hill of Witches in Juodkrante or see the fishing village of Nida (more on these locations coming in the upcoming weeks!).


Have you visited Klaipeda before? What else do you suggest doing there?

Traveling Parents' Forum: Road Trips + Public Transportation

Monday, November 23, 2015



Welcome to the third session of the Traveling Parents' Forum! Today I've got five incredibly knowledgeable Mom's joining me to share experiences and tips about taking public transportation and road trips with children. Throughout the series we'll be sharing our tips, favorite products, and looking to each other for advice to make traveling with little ones easier. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience please write it in the comments below! Also, if you have written a post(s) on a similar topic feel free to add the link in the comments. You can also join our group Pinterest board to post your own articles or ones you've found helpful. Just follow our Pinterest accounts and message me to add you to the board. The more information we have the better we can travel - at least that's what I think!


We'll be chatting about a new topic on the third Monday of every month. Today's topic is 'Road Trips and Public Transportation'

November 23: Road trips and public transportation with a baby/child
December 21: Flying with a baby/child
January 18: Child jet lag
February 22: Items to make travel easier
March 21: Traveling without your child
April 18: Moving/living abroad with your child


Frankie


Unsurprisingly the most popular mode of public transport here in Amsterdam is cycling and it's not unusual to see multiple children on a bike being ridden by one parent. I think four was my record! After we found out we were expecting a baby, we didn't think "Okay, now we need to buy a car", we actually thought "Okay, now we need to buy a bakfiets". These cargo bikes - or bucket bikes! - have a large box area at the front where children can sit. You can also buy a special frame that will then hold a car seat in place, which is what we also invested in as we were really keen to keep cycling with a baby. As it happened, the first time we took our newborn baby out in the bakfiets like this, his head wobbled around so much we were a bit intimidated by it all and even though as he's grown bigger he doesn't shake as much, it's still not easy to watch him bouncing around in there. That said, he seems to love it and normally falls asleep within a few minutes. Because it's so nice to go out as a family, we try to take the bakfiets out for a ride at least twice a month. As soon as our little man is sitting up by himself then we can get a baby seat to go on the front of one of our bikes and then it will be even easier to cycle around the city with him.

At the moment our main mode of transport is walking - I'm so glad we invested in a good buggy! - though I regularly take the tram with my baby strapped to me in an Ergobaby sling. I have to say that this is definitely the easiest way to get around on trains and trams and I suspect when we take our first flight later this month I'll have the sling close by for the whole journey. Wish us luck!

Frankie has an infant and blogs about Amsterdam, travels, and writing on As the Bird Flies and Travelettes. Frankie is writing from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You can find more from Frankie on her blogTwitterInstagramPinterest, and Facebook.


Roshan




We went in a camper van around New Zealand with our daughter as a 3 month old baby, which was easy as we could stop and sleep whenever we wanted to. See 'A family Trip to New Zealand for tips

My daughter loves public transport as a bit of a novelty, be it bus, train, or ferry. She loves seeing all of the people getting on and off and it often is more interesting than the destination for her.

Roshan has a three year old and blogs about her travels at Roshan's Ramblings. Roshan is writing from Australia. You can find more from Roshan on her blogTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.


Marianne




“Are we there yet?” Everybody remembers road trips as a kid, and when you become a roadtripping parent yourself, you suddenly understand the frustration and annoyance displayed by your mum and dad all those years ago. My advice? Have an arsenal of games and snacks at your disposal. Road trip games we regularly play are: Eye Spy (of course), “The animal I’m thinking of” (describe an animal, the others have to guess it), “The first person to spot a…” (red truck, green road sign etc) and Sing-a-longs.  When all else fails, and you can’t face one more game of Eye Spy… I see nothing wrong with giving the kids an iPad for an hour.

The biggest challenge with taking public transport with kids is ensuring you have the right equipment. For going on buses and the underground, you’re going to need to make sure you have a light and easily foldable buggy, for getting on and off the bus, or up and down stairs into subway stations. Or stick to a baby carrier for smaller toddlers and babies.

Taking taxis with kids can be daunting too if you are used to having your kids securely strapped into their car seats in your own car. I use taxis a lot with my kids, both at home in Hong Kong and when we travel, and have made two investments that have helped put my mind at rest. For my 4-year old daughter I have a Trunki BoostAPak, which doubles as a booster seat and backpack (there are various other travel booster seats on the market), and for my 2-year old son, I use a Ride Safer Travel Vest, which allows him to use the regular seat belts safely.

Marianne travels regularly with her four-year old daughter and two-year old son, and blogs about family travel at Mum on the Move. You can see more about her travels on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.



Andrea



Hello!  My name is Andrea and I have been living in London, UK for the past 14 months. My husband and I moved here from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada when I was 26 months pregnant and I gave birth to a beautiful little boy, William, in December.  We will be celebrating his first Birthday on December 27th!  You can follow along with our adventures on my blog and instagram account.

As I have been on maternity leave, we have really tried to make the most of our time off and do a lot of traveling around Europe. 

We don’t own a car, and William has only been in his car seat a handful of times, so I cannot claim to know much about road trips, but I do have lots of experience when it comes to public transportation.

When William was about 4 months old, we took a coach trip to visit relatives in Cornwall.  What should have been a 4 hour trip turned in to 7 hours with all the weekend traffic!  Luckily William was still in the stage where he slept a lot and we managed all right.  (Aside from an undercover dirty diaper change on the empty seat next to us!)  I could see that sort of trip being quite disastrous with a youngster that is more active.  Since then, we have stuck to trains and planes for our travel!

We have traveled by train throughout the UK and France this year, and took the Chunnel from London to Paris as well.  On the eurostar to Paris, we had to book our seats in advance.  We reserved an area where the seats face each other and you have a little table in between which gave us a bit more room.  We still needed to fold down our stroller in the luggage area and then hold William on our laps for the trip.  On other train journeys, we watch as the train pulls into the station and try to find a coach that either has a handicap section, or a large area with bench like seats along the wall so that we can easily park the stroller right up beside us.  We make sure to come prepared with some small baby toys, extra food and double check the diaper bag is fully stocked.

I have found traveling locally within London to be very easy.  When we were shopping around to buy a stroller, a few people cautioned me against the large Uppa Baby Vista that I wanted to buy.  When they learned that we did not have a car and I would be using public transportation, they thought it would be too big.  It is true that the frame is too wide to fit down some bus aisles, but it is very simple to just get on through the back door, park in the stroller section and then go tap my oyster card.  The buses in London seem to have a rule that if there are already two strollers on the bus, you need to wait for the next one.  That has happened to me a few times.  I don’t often take the tube in rush hour, but I have never had to fold the stroller down and hold William due to lack of space.  I have found the Mumderground app to be invaluable.  It lists all of the tube stations and if they have step free access.  It can also tell you how many steps there may be at a particular station depending which entrance you take and which tube line you are going to.  I use that as well as the Transportation for London (TFL) website to plan my routes.  You can use the TFL website to plan a journey with your accessibility criteria.  I select “I can take escalators, but not steps” when planning a route that I will be taking by myself with the stroller. Though these websites are specific to London, most other major cities will likely have similar resources.  It’s always great when you can get to where you want via a simple, step free way, but whenever I have had to take steps, somebody always offers to help me with the stroller.

I found public transportation slightly more difficult in Paris.  Our stroller did not fit through the turnstiles in the underground stations and we had to use the intercom phone to call somebody to buzz us through a gate each time.  I’ve also written a blog post about cruising with a baby for those that are interested.

A lot of people choose to simply use their baby carrier, thus eliminating any issues using public transportation.  William is a big boy and I have become far too accustomed to the large basket under my stroller and the clips that hold my baby bag!  He also naps much better in his stroller now.   So although we may use our carrier during certain times of the day, we usually have our stroller handy as well, and never have any issues with that.

When we first moved to London, using public transportation was a huge annoyance for me.  However, now I love being able to walk everywhere with the stroller and I find taking the bus and underground to be a breeze.  The line I usually take is not busy after morning rush hour, so I find it relaxing to get on a quiet train and just zone out with a cup of coffee for a few minutes before we begin our adventures for the day.

Andrea is joining us from London where she lives with her husband and 11 month old. You can find more on her blog, In Love In London, or on Instagram.


Amy






Not many people enjoy public transport. It can be crowded, unreliable and, in the UK at least, expensive. It's the thing I dislike most about travelling in the UK. I've travelled pretty extensively, so I can give you a few tips (I also hassled my friends on Facebook for their advice for this post too!)

Buses
British buses are notoriously unreliable. We have a phrase, 'you wait ages for a bus, and then, three come along at once', and it's true. If you're planning to use buses, check to see if the local provider has an app that shows you live arrival times so you know when to really expect that bus. If you're travelling with a stroller/pushchair, remember that whilst there may be a space on the bus that will accommodate it, by law that space is for a wheelchair user. If a wheelchair/mobility scooter user boards the bus, you'll either need to collapse your stroller and travel with your little one on your lap, or leave the bus and catch the next one. Alternatively, if your little one likes the sling, leave the pushchair behind and travel with relative ease! 

Coaches
I always swear I'll never travel by coach again, and then I remember it's the cheapest option for long distance travel in the UK. That said, I will never travel with a baby on a coach. I did it once and it was pretty horrid for both of us, so coach travel will have to wait until he's a little older. Coaches don't have baby changing facilities, which has obvious drawbacks. You don't have to take a car seat on a coach, but if you do, or if you want your child to have a seat on the bus, you'll need to make sure that's mentioned at the time of booking your tickets. Infant car seats are obviously pretty easy to travel with. They are small and easy to fit. If your baby is very small, you can board without them even noticing. However, this is where it gets complicated. Bigger car seats are harder to get too and from the bus station in the first place. I was booked on the coach for a lone journey and at the last minute had to take my son. I wore him in the sling, but felt horribly unsafe. I couldn't walk around when he needed soothing and there was nothing I could do when he needed a nappy change. The whole thing was anxiety inducing and I plan to never put myself in that situation again. 

Trains
Trains are my favourite way to travel with a baby. Sure, they're expensive in the UK, but they are a lot more comfortable than other methods of public transport, and at the very least you can get up and walk around should you need to. There are no designated pushchair spots, but Coach C is often a disabled access carriage with space for a couple of wheelchairs. As with buses, by law you have to vacate the spot if a wheelchair user needs it, but I hugely recommend taking the place if it's free. Sitting in a crowded carriage with a little one on your knee can be bad enough, but in addition to that, luggage racks are usually packed full so finding somewhere to put your folded stroller might prove difficult. I take my little fella in Coach C. He can stay securely strapped in his pushchair (and sleep, if he needs) and I can entertain him easily whilst having plenty of space to move around to feed him/pick up dropped toys/rock him to sleep etc. I'm about to take my first journey with my son since he learned to walk and I am a bit apprehensive about it. I'm worried he'll not be best pleased with not being allowed to wander freely, which is why I've booked the train so I can walk him up the aisles if needs be. I'll also be taking a big bag of tricks (aka toys and snacks!) Wish me luck! 

Amy has a 16 month old and is joining us from London, UK. You can find more about her life in London on Instagram and Pinterest.

Elizabeth



Road Trips:

I recently returned from a week-long road trip to the Lithuanian coast with my husband and infant. It was our first trip as a family, and a sort of experiment for future travel. We learned that traveling with an infant certainly takes more planning than traveling as a couple or solo-travel, but it can be just as fun!

This one trip does by no means make me a pro, but I have learned my fair share about road tripping with an infant. On this trip we were sure to allot ourselves more time (add hours) for travel. Still, we got a bit lost and ended up an hour late to our AirBnB. Next time, I think we'll give ourselves even more time. 

Every three or so hours we stopped for me to nurse the baby and change some diapers. During those breaks we took the baby out of his car seat and let him stretch and get some fresh air as well. If I had known better I think I would have prepared at least one bottle because sometimes it was inconvenient to pullover the car for a feeding.

One of the biggest difficulties for me in general is deciding whether Baby ISO is hot, cold, or comfortable. This also applied in the car, as the weather was cold outside, but the car had heating. For this trip, we opted to bundle the baby up and forgo heat, especially at times that we knew we would be making relatively frequent stops (Lithuania is not a big country to drive across!). During longer legs of the trip we would remove layers and use the heat - which was much more comfortable for the adults at least! I also packed a toy, pacifier, on the go diaper changing pad (this is seriously the best thing ever!), and a change of clothes in the backseat, so that they would be easily accessible. Because it was our first long car ride I opted to sit in the back, so I could easily check on the baby. It felt a bit strange - like I was being chauffeured everywhere. Do you ride in the back or up front when traveling in a car with a baby?

Luckily, Baby ISO slept most of the time and we even decided to jump in the car when he was particularly fussy one evening! 

*A similar post to this appeared on Pink Pangea

Public Transportation:

About a month ago we went with a few friends and Baby ISO to Trakai, which is about a 40 minute train ride from Vilnius. Taking this short of a train ride was incredibly easy with Baby ISO. He slept for a bit of the ride and was happy to be held the rest of it. The most difficult thing about taking the train here was the steps to get from the station to the train (we couldn't find a working elevator) and getting the stroller onto the train. I couldn't have lifted the stroller up onto the train without help, and if I happened to be traveling by train without my husband I would have asked a conductor to help. Luckily, people in Lithuania love babies and are always happy to help with them! I also would have felt comfortable carrying Baby ISO on the train without a stroller or carseat, so if you prefer to travel light, perhaps train travel is for you!

This week we'll be taking our first flight (to Frankfurt, Germany), as well as our first bus trip to get from the airport into the city center. Wish us luck!

I have a 3.5 month old and I write from Vilnius, Lithuania on In Search Of. You can find more on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and Pinterest.



Follow Elizabeth @ In Search Of's board Traveling with Children on Pinterest.


What are your tips for traveling with children? Feel free to share your posts or advice below! If you'd like to be involved in TPF send me an email :)

How To Eat Out With a Baby

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brining a baby to a restaurant


One of my favorite ways to get to know a new destination is to eat at restaurants; however, eating out with a baby requires a bit more planning. It is absolutely possible though to eat at restaurants other than Friendly's (oh yeah that is where I ate as a kid!) with your little one. I've been taking Baby ISO to cafes, restaurants, and #CreativeLithuania events with me since he was about three weeks old and over that time I've figured out five ways keep baby happy while eating out.


1) Bring an age-appropriate toy or two to keep baby entertained

For us, this means a rattle or a set of plastic keys that Baby ISO can hold or look at (he is just 3 months). We also bring a pacifier (the ones with the snap on covers are awesome), which helps calm Baby ISO down if he is getting sleepy.

2) Go out at times when baby is happy

A happy baby = an easy time out. Baby ISO is usually happy to play or nap in his stroller or on my lap during the day. So, eating we often eat breakfast and/or lunch out while traveling. By about 7 in the evening; however, Baby ISO gets tired and cranky. This means that we usually avoid eating dinner out, or we eat a very early dinner so we can be home by 7 pm. As the baby gets older it is very possible that this will change, so at that time we will adjust what times work for us.

3) Choose off-hours

If you're worried about eating out with baby you can always visit restaurants at times when most people aren't eating. Then, if baby has a meltdown it is likely only you and the waitstaff that will here. This was our strategy on one particularly cranky day during our recent trip to Klaipeda. We happened to be the only ones in the restaurant (Rene) and our waitress was incredibly nice, despite the 15 minute meltdown prior to the baby falling asleep.

4) Weather permitting, eat outdoors

Outdoor eating tends to inherently be more casual and noisy than eating indoors. On our first several restaurant outings over the summer we sat outside. I'd always choose eating outdoors to eating indoors with a baby as long as the weather is appropriate.

5) Bring a bottle or nursing cover

A lot about keeping a baby content (and maybe even sleeping!) is keeping them fed. I try to take Baby ISO out directly after he's eaten, so that I won't need to feed him while we are out, but this isn't always possible. Though not necessary, brining a nursing cover (mine is just a thin swaddle blanket) makes me feel more comfortable nursing in public.


What are your tips for eating out with an infant? What about with a toddler (I've got to learn!)?

Preparing for a Trip to Frankfurt, Germany

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Family travel to Frankfurt, Germany


I always like putting together these posts where I collect several of my favorite resources from the web for trip planning. Not only does it help me organize for the trip, but hopefully it helps you guys in your own trip planning when visiting the destinations that I share. Over the Thanksgiving holiday we are taking a family trip to Frankfurt, Germany. It will be our first flight and a great little test for us before our longer flight back to the US over Christmas. So far our plans for visiting Frankfurt include a trip to the Modern Art Museum, checking out the Christmas Market, enjoying coffee at several cafes, and trying to find some delicious international food. Do you have any suggestions for what else we should see, do, or eat in Frankfurt?

Over the past few days I've been practically stalking Kate's blog, Relokate, as she used to live in Frankfurt. She has many informative posts about this huge international city, and my favorite is her article on where to eat in Frankfurt.  Based on her tips I'm thinking Cafe Sugar Mama and Im Herzen Afrikas. Now I just need a suggestion for a great Asian restaurant. Any ideas?

The Frankfurt Christmas Market begins the weekend we're in Frankfurt and I'm pretty sure it will be awesome. I'm a lover of Christmas Markets and the photos on the Frankfurt Tourism Website have got me ready for the upcoming holiday season.

I love taking food tours and cooking classes whenever we travel. This food tour of Bahnhofsviertel (how do you even pronounce this?!) sounds delicious. Unfortunately there are no tours planned for the weekend we are visiting. If we return to Frankfurt I'll certainly check it out. If you happen to take this food tour I'd love to hear about it!

As you know, I'm a big time coffee drinker. The European Coffee Trip blog has done all of the leg work for me by listing their favorite cafes in Frankfurt. I'm hoping to visit Tortenengel and Aniis cafes.

Oh Asian food, how I love thee! Because there is a lack of great Asian food in Vilnius I always look for it during my travels. This is how I stumbled upon the blog 'A Sausage Has Two' and it's great post on Asian restaurants. Add those to the map!

More information about visiting Frankfurt, Germany:  

A weekend in Frankfurt; Frankfurt Christmas Markets; Things we loved in Frankfurt

If you have any pointers for visiting Frankfurt (or for flying with an infant) I'd love to hear them! Feel free to leave links in the comments below :)



Where To Eat in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Monday, November 16, 2015

klaipeda lithuania an inexpensive family travel destination


Klaipeda the third largest city in Lithuania is a budding foodie destination that is perfect for affordable family locations. I loved our recent trip to Klaipeda and J and I are even talking about spending another weekend there in the summer. One of the many reasons we like Klaipeda are the affordable, yet delicious restaurants that dot the city.


Rene

The Belgian restaurant, Rene, which has another branch in Vilnius, is simply delicious. While looking for a lunch spot, J and I were having our usual problem that everything was closed on Monday's. We had almost settled on grabbing some groceries from the local Iki to cook in our AirBnB, but luckily a last minute spotting of Rene saved us. We arrived at Rene at an off hour (look at all those empty seats!), which was perfect because Baby ISO was a bit cranky after a long day of sightseeing.

J ordered a creamy meat soup as a starter and absolutely loved it. Both of us ordered Rene's delicious ribs and shared the different flavors (short and spicy vs. long and sweet). I definitely licked my fingers after eating them!

Our waitress at Rene was so sweet. Baby ISO had a small meltdown at one point during the meal, but our waitress was kind as could be. We were also the only customers, which made us not feel as though we needed to get our food to go and bolt out the door with our fussing baby.



Where to eat in Klaipeda, Lithuania

Eat delicious ribs at Rene restaurant in Klaipeda Lithuania




Momo Grill

The TripAdvisor reviews for Momo Grill were all glowing, so J and I had high expectations for our meal. The Momo Grill did its reviews justice! Our meals were delicious, the interior was beautiful, and the waitstaff were very helpful. Quickly after we sat down we were given a paper bag full of bread with a delicious spread. The bread basket is easily one of my favorite parts of any restaurant experience (that and dessert), and the spread here was a standout.

J ordered steak with rosemary potatoes and I ordered duck and potatoes au gratin. Duck can easily be cooked poorly, but my meal was cooked perfectly, the meat was tender, and the sauce (I can't remember which I chose) only enhanced the flavor of the duck. It was the best duck I've eaten since my time in China. My potatoes were deliciously creamy and my only complaint would be that I could've eaten two portions of them! J's steak was also perfectly cooked and he loved the sauce that accompanied it. By the speed at which he ate his potatoes I'd assume he loved them as well!


Restaurant reviews for Klaipeda Lithuania


Where to eat in Klaipeda Lithuania

Where to eat in Lithuania

Eating out in Klaipeda Lithuania


La Maison du Croissant

In Lithuania it is notoriously difficult to find restaurants that serve breakfast. One morning; however, we happened upon La Maison du Croissant and treated ourselves to a tasty French breakfast. The interior of LMdC was super cute, and we probably would have opted to eat upstairs had we not had a stroller. I had a simple breakfast of multigrain porridge with coffee and J had a Croix Madame. He said that his sandwich was missing the sauce that traditionally covers the Croix Madame, yet he happily ate it nonetheless. La Maison du Croissant also serves lunch and dinner, so we will have to return to check it out!


French food in Klaipeda Lithuania

Eating at La Maison du Croissant in Klaipeda Lithuania

Breakfast restaurants in Klaipeda Lithuania


Stora Antis

During our last trip to Klaipeda back in 2013 we ate an incredible meal at Stora Antis. Both J and I were itching to return on this trip - I wanted the borscht so bad! Unfortunately, Baby ISO's bed time clashed with Stora Antis' off-season opening hours, so we were unable to revisit this restaurant. Bummer! Anyways, if you happen to visit Klaipeda you should make it over to Stora Antis for a meal. Their food is delicious and I remember the owner being very friendly - he shared a (free) Lithuanian shot with us! Hospitality at its best! The next time we are in Klaipeda we will certainly revisit Stora Antis!


Where to eat in Klaipeda Lithuania



The Details:

Below are the addresses and links for the restaurants I mentioned above.

Rene: Tiltu g. 13; website
Momo Grill: Liepu g. 20; website
Maison du Croissant: Turgaus g. 11; website
Stora Antis: Tiltu g. 6; website


Head over to the sidebar to sign up for my newsletter to receive FREE upgraded content! This month I'll be sending out a guide to road tripping around Lithuania!


Have you been to Klaipeda? Where would you suggest eating? Where is the best duck you've ever eaten served?

#CreativeLithuania: Little Free Library

Friday, November 13, 2015

little free libraries in lithuania


Sometimes living in Lithuania can be a challenge (oh those dark winter days!), so I wanted to focus on forgetting about the challenges and enjoying the positives. To do so, I've started a monthly post (the second Friday of each month) that features the more creative side of Lithuania. In previous posts I've written about Uzupis, which is truly a creative mecca. For this series I wanted to focus on creative events, unique aspects of the culture or language, and cool places that I find around Lithuania. Previously I've written about Open Kitchen, the Beer Marathon, a Cat Cafe, the Lithuanian Design BlockPottery ClassCoffee Enthusiasm, A book fair, a felting class, and a street art festival.  If you have any suggestions of things to check out I'd love to hear them!

If you would like to participate in sharing creative things about where you live, tag your photos on Instagram or tweets on Twitter with #CreativeLithuania or #CreativeLocale. I'd love to see the creative side of every country! I'll share my favorite tweets and photos each month on social media and here on the blog.


Walking over to Uzupis one day recently, I noticed a box full of books - a library box! I've heard of library boxes and Little Free Libraries (LFL) before, but have never had the opportunity to check one out in person. The box I saw, located in Tibet Square right over the river in Uzupis, is a bright red beauty with a variety of books and information about Tibet. Located nearby, in the central campus of Vilnius University is another library box, this time, mimicking the building it has been attached to. The Vilnius University library box holds philosophy texts in several different languages. 

The aim of Little Free Libraries (and public library boxes in general) is to foster a community of book readers and encourage sharing of literature. Little Free Libraries are free to use and don't require you to sign up to 'check out' a book. All you have to do is have a browse through the selection and take a book you'd like to read and return it when you are finished. If you have books around your house that you don't want any more you can also leave them in an LFL. 

I LOVE reading and really enjoy carpentry (oh yeah, I rocked my high school shop class), so someday I'll have to make my own LFL. For now, I'll have to settle with watching J lead his class in making one :)

The Little Free Library movement in Lithuania started in 2012 as a community builder by Milda Varnauskaite. I contacted Milda and she was super happy to share her experience starting LFL here in Vilnius. Here is what she had to say:


Milda with her first box photo by: Edita Mikelioniene

photo credit: Milda


"The beginning wasn't so cheerful. One dark Lithuanian night three years ago I was browsing the internet when I found Little Free Library organisation website accidently, however, I instantly felt that this is what I really want to do in Vilnius. I like to joke that I had a vision where it should be standing and I followed my instinct to build it. (Almost like the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Gediminas, had a vision about building a new capital of Lithuania in Vilnius, huh? :) ) It took me a while to convince my sceptical father to help me building the Little Free Library. After two months of constant attempting, I finally succeeded and we both built a small box for books, which is standing now on Tramvaju Street in Vilnius. October 13, 2012 was the opening day. I was frightened that day, to be honest :). Even though I had invited all of my neighbours to come for the opening, nobody appeared. I recall, everyone was so sceptical about the possibilities for a library to survive even just for a few days, so for several days after the opening I had lots of nightmares, where somebody was damaging the little library.  But it survived! And to everyone's suprise, it was quite easy for people to get used to and start using the library for exchanging beloved books. We got lots of attention from media and I even got on the cover of one national newspaper! That was really huge after all of those nights full of bad dreams :). The library became a member of the street community, moreover, I would dare to say it built the community of readers in the Antakalnis neighborhood and Vilnius as well. There are now 5 registered boxes in Vilnius and more than 10 in whole Lithuania. I lost the number! :)" - Milda

Thank you Milda for sharing your creative story and for sharing LFLs with Lithuania!









If you'd like to read more about LFLs check out the links below:

Search for Little Free Libraries in Your Area

The Bibliotekele - Lithuania Facebook Page

Milda's LFL Webpage

Little Free Library on Tramvaju g.

Little Free Library at Vilnius University

Little Free Libraries in Vilnius



Have you visited a Little Free Library before? Would you be interested in making your own?