Sunday, 3 July 2016

Meandering around Vilnius

I have a some backlog to process in terms of blog-posts. We travel faster than I write. :) But I guess it's not a bad thing. I owe Vilnius, Caen, Mont Saint Michel. I will not blog about Copenhagen, I keep it for the myself.

So Vilnius. It was mid-November 2015. We decided to make a weekend somewhere, where we could get easily and was not expensive. This is one of the great advantages of living in Berlin: you can fly in Europe really inexpensive, and uncomplicated. So we found a relatively cheap flight to Vilnius, where we both haven't yet been.

A small twin-turboprop aircraft took us to Vilnius airport. The airport itself was built by the Soviets. It's nicely decorated. Sculptures of workers, soldiers and aviators from the outside and of flowers, bay leaves and stars from the inside are irregular nowadays. It reminded me somewhat Moscow's underground stations. We took a bus to our hotel, most probably our cheapest ever travel between hotel and airport, costed 1 (one) Euro.

Airport hall:

The next two days we toured all around the city. We visited the university, the Gediminas Castle, St. Ann's Church and also the Grand Dukes’ Palace and even an amber museum. The city is very friendly for tourists, everybody in the service sector speak English. There is an excellent restaurant scene is international. We explored exquisite Korean, French and Lithuanian restaurants.

The university consists of thirteen courtyards, from which the buildings are accessible.

In one of them we found some really weird wall-paintings:

It's just sick.

Gediminas Castle:

Old city:

Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania:

Home, sweet home.

We also found an apple, well half of it:

Then I realized that if you cut an apple into two you get the shape of a heart. On it there are "80 Names of Generosity" inscribed. They were probably good people. We conscientiously skimmed the names. We happened to visit this monument 6 times, as it was located on our way between the hotel and the old town.

Amber museum. We learned there the fascinating story of this special stone, and found some intricate instances of insects in them. The poor animals got captured about 130 million years ago. But I guess they would probably be dead anyways by now.

They sell these stones for quite a bit of money. We skipped the purchase. After all they're just stones.

Some views of the city from the castle:

Not bad for two days. :)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Casablanca, 28. September, 2015

A six hour long bus ride from Chefchauen to Casablanca is not fun, but it was necessary. This time was enough to phase over from the quiet mountain village atmosphere to the noisy and big city. Jeruen rode the bus today to Tangeer as the next station starting his last week in Morocco, and I took the bus to Casablanca to fly out tomorrow on my way home.
In the city I visited the third biggest mosque in the world. It's HUGE, is beautiful, is located on the coast of the Atlantic ocean.
In the afternoon I meandered around the streets of the Quartier Habous. A very old neighborhood filled with new shops that sell traditional Moroccan art and pastries.
My last dinner in Morocco I spent in Ostréa restaurant near Casa Port at the port of Casablanca. I missed fish. Since we were not on seashore areas I never ordered fish. But now the sole fillets were paired with orange sauce on my plate. :-)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Chefchauen, 26 - 27 September, 2015

The town of Chefchauen was found by Jews and Muslims exiled from the Iberian peninsula in the late 15 th century. Chefchauen is the northernmost point I touch on this trip. The town lays in the Rif mountains, a scenic location within the green gorges. The entire town is painted in different shades of blue. The houses, the sidewalks the stairs of the medina, everything. This gives the city a magical charm. The view from the Spanish mosque on one of the neighbour hilltops provides an exquisite view on the medina. The town is calm, much more quiet than all the others we have been to.
The air is fresh, the evenings are almost cold, but the fresh chicken lemon tageen warms up the tourist from the inside.