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Outing to Trakai


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large_5550_14712867885681.jpgCardboard Karaim and their cardboard kibinai.
I woke early to a gloomy morning. I had planned to go to Trakai [Trakai-travel-guide-1318702] for the castle today. It was a toss up between cheap public transport or a tourist bus at 1100 at EUR20. As I was up so early, I decided on the public bus which only takes 30 minutes. It was the walking to/from the station at both ends that makes it a little more of an effort.

The Trakai Island Castle wasn’t yet open when I arrived. I walked around it and waited briefly before it opened at 1000. It was starting to drizzle.

I explored the inside for about 35 minutes reading the various information sheets in English. The castle is largely rebuilt (as with many things “restored” for tourism). I found the information on the Karaim and Tartars interesting though.large_5550_14712867918905.jpgHouses in Trakai.Both groups are Turkic, the former being adherents of the Old Testament but not Jewish (which spared them from the purge as they “did not kill Jesus”) and the latter Muslim.

I donned my poncho (purchased in Machu Picchu) and walked back to the bus. I saw the remains of Trakai's Peninsula Castle which only has part of a facade with modern offices behind. The couple of kibinai (Karaim pie like Cornish Pasties) stands were not yet open and I was hungry. Fortunately there was one open when I finally got to the bus station.

Back in Vilnius [Vilnius-travel-guide-1046243], it was still wet. I found a branch of Cili Pizza near the bus station and tried out baked dumplings with lots of shredded ham, topped with white sauce and cheese. So good and so so bad. Heart attack material I think.

The market was nearby. There was also a supermarket. It was funny to see locals selling produce in very small quantities, all lined up outside the supermarket in competition with them.

I rested for part of the afternoon before walking up to Gediminas Castle (but didn’t enter). The hilltop vantage point offered a good view of both Vilnius’ old and new towns.

I knew I shouldn’t but I did. I had dinner at Cili Pizza again, this time at another branch, trying out their crispy potato pancakes. They do make a variety of authentic Lithuanian food at reasonable prices so it was a good choice as far as I was concerned.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Lithuania

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