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Flying cheaply to Vilnius


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large_5550_14711496917448.jpgChurches of St Anne & St Bernadine near my guesthouse.
I moved from the Louis Tavern lounge at Bangkok Airport to my departure gate about an hour prior to my flight to Vilnius [Vilnius-travel-guide-1046243]. The gate didn’t seem that crowded but once everyone was on board the old 767, it was packed. Ukraine International Airlines puts 8 seats across instead of the usual 7 seats; it is a very rare configuration. The seats and aisles were narrow (like AirAsia X) but the recline was also poor. But the fare was very cheap.

There was quite a roar from the ventilation duct in the wall one row behind me (where the window was missing). Fortunately this annoying aspect wasn’t apparent when airborne. The two inflight meals weren’t too different from the standard one gets between New Zealand and Australia, or on US carriers.large_5550_14711496931479.jpgSt Michael's near my guest house.

I managed to doze for 5h30 (out of the relatively short 10h10 flight time today) with the aid of two half-tablets of sleeping pills. That made the flight relatively bearable.

We landed into Kiev’s Boryspil airport about 30 mins early. It was a pleasant newish terminal. However, the queue for security to go back to the departure level was long. It took a little less than 30 minutes but due to our early arrival, it still meant I had time to go the lounge for some snacks and sparkling water.

The connecting 1h20 flight to Vilnius was on a 737 pre-loved by Lufthansa apparently. It was in about the same condition as the ones running domestically in New Zealand until recently, so again I have no complaints about Ukraine Airlines bearing in mind its pricing.large_5550_14711496954603.jpgSt Catherine's Church.Water was offered with buy-on-board meals.

We flew past the south side of Vilnius’ old town before touch down. It was a very pretty view but I didn’t have a window seat to get a decent pic.

It was a long and weird walk at Vilnius Airport. Two storeys up to get to immigration then a long corridor and finally two storeys down to baggage claim. Perhaps the airport is more for flights within the Schengen zone and ours is a rare International flight which had to be parked in an “afterthought” part of the building. Also strange was the baggage claim for our international flight being in the same area as the Schengen ones.

Everything else was quick after that and I was out landside in no time. The new modern terminal gave way to a cramped historic-looking (but well maintained) foyer area.large_5550_14711496975104.jpgSt Casimir's church.It was so strange and I couldn’t work out why until I was outside the building. It appeared that the new airport was built behind the facade of a historic terminal.

It was a short wait for Number 88 bus to Old Town for EUR1, followed by a short walk to Litinterp Guest House. I learnt my first and only Lithuanian words from the driver; the word for "Thank you" is "Aciu" (like sneezing). It was midday when I arrived at Litinterp. I showered then rested/napped for a couple of hours.

When I woke, the cool day had turned into a scorcher. I was starved and the mooncake I had bought with the leftover Baht saved my day. Just one quarter of it filled me right up and I was bloated till dinner time.

I went for a wander around the Old Town. It was relatively compact and very beautiful and I managed to snap away some of the highlights all within an hour.large_5550_1471149699662.jpgSt Casimir's church.Just as well, as the gloomy weather the next day didn’t offer the same lighting.

Breakfast wasn’t included at the Litinterp B&B (strange considering it is a B&B!). So I found a supermarket. Now, nothing is in English. I worked out the milk and the yoghurt. But then there was “Kefyras” which appeared to be like yoghurt. I found one brand which had some English on it and it was translated as “Kefir” which didn’t help. I bought it anyway and googled it to find that it is a yoghurt-like drink made with some grain culture which differs from normal yoghurt culture.

There were a few restaurants that did traditional Lithuanian food. One of them was very reasonably priced but very full (through my entire stay actually). I chose another restaurant and ordered duck breast with sauerkraut which turned out very nice.large_5550_14711497016478.jpgLooking up at Gediminas Castle.

I later found a franchise restaurant called “Cili Pizza” which did very good traditional meals as well and dined there three times (in three different branches) through my stay in Vilnius. I kinda dismissed it too early as a lot of the pictures in the menu and windows relate to Pizza which I wasn’t interested in.

Despite the night flight and 4h time difference with Thailand, I didn’t sleep till 2200.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Lithuania

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