We spent the last week of September on the road. On the way to our eastern neighbors :)
All signs in the earth and sky indicated that it was time to move four letters and leave, to rest. This was probably the longest period without further trips. We’ve already written several posts about traveling during pregnancy, but since Olive came along, travel plans have gone down the drain.
This does not mean that we have stopped exploring new places, but it takes some time to find ourselves at home in the new reality first, and then only plan to explore the world anew ;)
We’ve been to several places around Lodz, mostly for leisurely walks with a dash of sightseeing. However, we missed a lot of that planning, searching, packing, booking, discovering. So we made the decision to do a dress rehearsal.
Table of contents
Planning a trip to Lithuania
We decided to start by choosing a place that meets a few key conditions:
- Fairly close by car (and this “fairly close” is very flexible ;) ).
- If abroad, however, close to Poland.
- A developed place, clean, without any plagues, epidemics, with good medical care (you know, civilization must be ;-)).
- Places adapted for people with children (mainly in terms of stroller riding).
- We will not spend a fortune on the ground.
- If you are visiting cities, it is important that the attractions are in close proximity to each other.
- Availability of hotels and parking.
- Security (assassinations, terrorists, kidnappings, or anything that can happen even in Western Europe).
There were a few others, less important (so few that we no longer remember them ;) ).
After some research and a few recommendations from friends and family, we decided that it would be Lithuania, with an emphasis on Vilnius, and if it worked out, we would see Kaunas as well. Lithuania was no stranger to us (half-heartedly, literally), and it still seemed like a very interesting option for an extended weekend trip. Although this extended weekend is a bit of a stretch, because we spent more days on the road, but quietly 3-4 days are enough.
The real Lithuania?
As the famous Polish bard wrote, “Litwo ojczyzno moja…” – this is what many Poles who emigrated to Poland after World War II could say. We listened to stories of what childhood was like in Lithuanian lands or travel accounts that shaped our ideas about Lithuania. We expected to encounter Polish accents and legacy at every turn, and to get along in Polish without any problems.
Fortunately, travel not only educates but also helps verify our assumptions and guesses. We will write about this in upcoming posts.
Lithuania is not a satellite or puppet state, as many people might still think. Moreover, Lithuanians are very sensitive on this point. The country is neither Russian nor Polish, it is Lithuanian and there is no expectation to get along in Polish or Russian without a problem. OK, often, we ran into people who spoke these languages, but it was mainly in two situations: conversations with older people or typical tourist places where there is a glut of Poles and Russians. In larger cities, especially with younger people, only English.
Planning different than always…
This was one of the few trips where we relied almost entirely on recommendations from other people. We were recommended where to go, how many days to spend, and even where to eat. This doesn’t mean that we blindly followed the beaten path (although there’s nothing wrong with that either), but at least we spared ourselves the dilemmas of “I don’t know what to do”. “where are we going to eat tonight.” Also unusually, as ever, our guidebook (in the form of Lonely Planet, as always) was wrong about good places to eat.
Before the trip, we had only three nights booked: one still in Poland, and two already in Vilnius itself. However, we secretly hoped to stay longer, go to Kaunas, and find time for the Vilnius area as well (especially Trakai). There is no problem with booking accommodation, you can do it using, for example, the
or directly on hotel websites (e.g. Novotel in the center of Vilnius).
The whole trip was quite an unknown for us, and we decided to approach the trip very flexibly – nothing by force and at any cost. We have our new little Passenger on board and she will decide what and when. We – the parents, will make sure that she has a good environment, a full tummy, a warm crib, dry pampers and proximity to her parents ;)
Just packing was already a challenge for us, fortunately we were driving a large Mitsubishi Outlander family car, so we could actually take a supply of stuff for the whole nursery ;)
Now that we’ve returned, we already know that more than half of this was an exaggeration and our “useful things” are things that we simply like, and in practice, during the trip we didn’t use them at all. There will be a separate post about how to pack and other practical tips :)
So much in a word of introduction about the planning of this trip. We start our coverage from Lithuania, feel free to follow :)
See all our entries from Lithuania.