So Geeklawyer and I left for Gatwick at a fairly reasonable hour in the morning, to catch the train to Gatwick. We were suitably scrutinised by security to make sure we weren’t members of Al-Quaida. The flight from Gatwick to Riga was uneventful, but as the flight was with AirBaltic and not Rynair I was hoping that they would atleast give us free pop or water – but no, had to pay for it, but only in Euros or Latvian Lats.
Landed at Riga and we had to go through another security check. I had purchased, while waiting at the departure gate at Gatwick, 3 quids worth of Pepsi since AirBaltic foolishly insists on charging for simple fluids. I had to dispose of these fluids as the Latvian Security person said “how do i know that you got this at Gatwick at the Departures area, and not before”… I was flabbergasted, to say the least, since it is fairly well known that the British Customs are notoriously anal retentive about security measures.
Anywho, that was a wasted 3 quid. Then, as Geeklawyer did not have coffee for nearly 3 hours, we had to get him filled up with coffee. We had a 5 hour wait at the airport before catching our 23:00 flight to Vilnius…so plenty of time for twittering (thank god the coffee area had wifi), surfing the net, teasing Geeklawyer over his coffee consumption and trying to get some modicum of sustenance from an eclair. Boarded the flight to Vilnius at 23:00 – it was a propeller plane, the type that scared the bejeebus out of Tarotcub back in 2006 – and on this short 50 minute flight they gave us free drinks. The mind boggles at the disparate levels of service — 3 hour flight, no free drinks, 50 minute flight free drinks.
Landed at Vilnius where my cousin Remigijus and his brother picked us up and took us to his sister’s for us to spend the night. As a proper Lithuanian lady she had a small spread ready for us to nosh on in case we were hungry. Geeklawyer had some tea and I think he may have eaten a biscuit. I had water and a bit of sausage…and then promptly to bed.
In the morning it was a quick breakfast, where Geeklawyer was interrogated by the teens of the household as they found him intriguing. Then we took a taxi down to Vilnius Airport to get a hire car and then whooosh we were off to the Curonian Lagoon, Nida in particular, which is the administrative centre of Neringa.
We had a fairly pleasant journey over, not once getting lost – to which all I can say is “huzzah”!
What we did find along the way is that the Lithuanian economy is really hurting, and whenever we’d show up people seemed really happy to see us – as it meant that there would be some cash in the till.
Only downside to the trip to Nida is Geeklawyer’s propensity to put my life at risk when he’s behind the wheel of a car. Whilst driving down the road along the lagoon GL momentarily fell asleep, luckily I was feeling fairly alive and frisky so I yelled out and thankfully we did not hit any cars or more importantly trees.
Got to Nida and there was some mixup with our reservations, but it all got cleared up and we had a lovely room in the middle of Nida – could hear the sea birds from our balcony, had a lovely view of the lagoon and most importantly, a good parking spot for our car.
Nida was really quiet, which was good for us as we didn’t have to fight fat german tourists for space on the pavement. The first restaurant we went to, since we didn’t really have a satisfying lunch along the way, the landlady was eating in her dining room and seemed shocked that there could be customers. Had a lovely lunch, wandered about on the edge of the lagoon, stared at the sand dunes, and checked out other sites. In the evening we went to a more upscale restaurant as Mr Geeklawyer was having serious cepeliniai cravings…they were not met unfortunately, but we tried gamely.
Drive back to Vilnius was also uneventful, though we did get lost a tiny bit within Vilnius because of the tight warren of one way streets. This time I had rented a self-catering flat with the lady I used back in 2006, Danarent – located a scant 30s from Cathedral Square it is the perfect location for any tourist, and only 140LT per night. We wandered a bit, went over to a dentist office to book an appointment for Geeklawyer and I got to practice my swearing at the soviet style dental clinic we were sent to for him to get some dental x-rays done.
The evening consisted of taking my cousin Remigijus out and about in the old town. We went to Zemaiciu Smiulke, which has cubbyholes in the cellar where one can feast like a king… ordered a half metre of sausage, other appetizers, and of course the ubiquitous beer. It was a good “first” night in Vilnius.