Friday, September 10, 2010

Off to the Baltics at Last

   Taxi was early and so was I. Girl at hostel had said it would be 20 euros. It was 25 - whatever! I was at the gate by 6:15 for a 7:40 flight, and was too tired for coffee, but I was on my way.
   There were lovely cotton ball clouds over Austria with gray blanket clouds covering them and well-ordered earth below. I was astounded by the number of swimming pools I could see. It was cloudy, cool, and rainy in Vienna, and the plane was delayed a half hour, but we all climbed on a bus to the middle of a field and climbed on board. I was actually chilly.
   It's been two years since I was in my beloved Lietuva (which literally means "land of rain.") Globalization is everywhere, and they even have a KFC! The quaint cafe they used to have in the grand hall with the chandelier at the airport has been replaced with a pizza joint. The beautiful fixtures and building are still there, though. Inija had given me the keys to the house since they were going to Venice for the day and coming back Tuesday, and told me which stop to get off the bus. Every bus stop has a name. Isn't that a great idea? (However, my favorite guide magazine, In Your Pocket, states that proper bus etiquette when getting off or on a bus is to push anyone in your way into the gutter.)
   For a dollar I rode a spotless, comfortable bus which stopped 1-2 blocks from where I was going. I was so happy to be back, and my Lithuanian is much improved. Hauled everything upstairs, said "hi" to Vetra (who helped with the bags - she's the youngest daughter, and the same age as my youngest niece - the class of 2014) and took a nice 3 hour nap.
That's a lovely Rowan tree to the left of the entrace to their flat.
Woke up starving at 8 pm and headed out the door and about 5 blocks down the street to a huge grocery with a restaurant upstairs with great sunset views. As I walked in, they told me they were closing early at 9 pm. I said I'd eat quickly, and a "large capucino, please!" The coffee and view were great. The lasagna was okay by LT standards, but a B+ by Italian standards. Only 6 euros for all, and it was the first hot meat I'd had since leaving America.
   I took the escalator downstairs (they're really cool, and are flat, and will hold your shopping cart) to stock up on all my favorite Lithuanian things as there was no telling what was at the house since the Trinkunas' had been gone for a week as well. The biggest news in Lithuania is how well they're doing in the World Basketball Tournament - it is their national sport. When Russia beat the US in the olympics, it wasn't the Russians, the team was 80% Lithuanian! So it'll be a close match if they play the US.

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