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Old 07-11-2008, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default Sweden - Latvia - Lithuania

Just booked me flights on ryanair. Their not charging for some flights (just taxes) in September so I got the 3 flights for €70!!

Flying out to Stockholm on the 1st of September, then on to Riga on the 3rd then flying back to Dublin on the 12th from Kaunas in Lithuania.

Now all I have to do is find accommodation and work out how to get from Riga to Kaunas.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:08 PM   #2
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I want to move really bad to Europe ! Very glad for you !
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:57 AM   #3
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Nice trip. I really want to hear about Riga when you return.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:35 AM   #4
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Yeah...with travel deals like that, me and you both, Esther! Have a great time in the Balkans, MeTurk! I loved my short time there. Language is a bit difficult and at times mind-boggling, but the people were friendly enough. The churches are really cool, the women are good looking...what's not to like?

Oh, one final thing: Beware buses that cross international borders in the Balkans. One of the longest nights of my life was on a bus from Vilnius to Warswa...drunk border guards, interminable waits -- fly, if you can!

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Old 07-14-2008, 06:28 AM   #5
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I know you meant to say the Baltics, Mike!

Easiest way to get from Riga to Vilnius is by bus - Eurolines and Ecolines are both options, I believe. You can go to Kaunas also, but if you have time, Vilnius is beautiful - one of my favourite cities. There shouldn't be any border issues between Latvia and Lithuania. The Polish border with Lithuania was notorious, though I've heard recently that it is improving.

There are a couple of hostels in Vilnius, though we lived there so I've never checked them out. The one in Antakalnis is a bit out of the way - a hassle by bus as I recall. There's also one near the train station which is more convenient though in a run-down area. Not particularly unsafe, just dingy. Check out www.inyourpocket.com for Vilnius accommodations options. We've had more experience with guest houses, which have been very comfy. There are amazing places to eat - try zeppelinai and the Tatar specialty kybynai, as well as saltabarsciai, a cold beetroot soup that looks like Pepto Bismal and tastes divine. Soups are a great, filling and cheap option in Lithuania. Delicious.

In Stockholm we stayed at the Af Chapman hostel, it was a great location, unbeatable price and the kids had a ball sleeping on the boat, even if we did hear ice smashing into the hull all night. You're sensibly not visiting in February, so hopefully you won't have that problem.

Enjoy, the Baltics are beautiful in September.
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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If the soups anywhere as good as the stuff I got in Czech then I'll be happy enough.

Those apartments look good and very cheap in Vilnius there's one there for €30. There's no hostels in Kaunas and the hotel prices I'm getting off the internet are a bit crazy at €50 minimum, I'm sure they don't actually cost that much.

I found a shuttle that will get me from Vilnius to Kaunas airport for my flight but it's €20. That's almost as much as my flight home. I could couchsurf Kaunas but I'll be there in the middle of the week not a great time for couchsurfing.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:40 AM   #7
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I've been looking into Riga, it's not sounding good. People are saying it's overrun with stag partys that the locals hate and random beatings happen allot.

I've heard that said about other places I've been to though and I've never had any trouble anywhere I go. Does anyone know how true this is? I reckon if the place is over run with stags those people could be attracting that kind of attention.

I may spend more time in Vilnius (they have the worlds only Frank Zappa statue so I'm guessing their fairly cool people) and Kaunas.

I've only booked hostels for the first night in Stockholm and Riga so I'm not stuck to any itinerary. I'm looking at old town hostel in Vilnius and hoping they'll have a guy at the train/bus station to show me the way.

Any recommendation for Lithuania?
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:26 PM   #8
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I agree. I think the talk of stag and hen parties overrunning Eastern European towns are greatly exaggerated. I heard that that was all we were going to see in Tallinn as well but we really didn't have any problems. One stag party tried to get into a bar but were promptly thrown out (well just told they couldn't get drinks so they actually left on their own). So that was cool.

then again "random beatings"...yeah, maybe you should skip it.

Any thoughts on going to Tallinn?
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:41 PM   #9
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riga is pretty overrun with stag parties, but i didn't hear of any random beatings. I probly would have found one too the way i was acting. The day or two after I lost my passport there i was kind of a mess and was walking around alone drunk impersonating borat. just talking to random guys in vehicles or on the streets and trying to convince them i was from kazahkstan. but the world hockey championships were on then so there was probly alot more people around in the streets and not so easy to get caught out alone.

anyway, about the stag parties. put it this way. i was staying at frank's in riga, something like 160 beds or something. it was pretty easy to find the people that WEREN'T in stag parties. any solo female staying there at the time was pretty much forced to hang out with us because we were the only non-douche scouser stag party guys there. but there was a GREAT bar down the road (maybe only seemed great to us) Pulkevedis something. and a pretty cool lil cafe down the block called john lemons.

as for lithuania, sorry tumbleweedz, but i wasn't that big of a fan of vilnius. maybe cuz it was raining for a couple of the days i was there, maybe because there was lots of fences for construction around the centre, and maybe because i really didn't know anything about it or really see anything honestly, but i just wasn't overly digging it. we did do a very cool road trip to the curonian spit though which was gnarly. some girls from our hostel rented a car and invited me and a buddy along. it was this really cool strip of land that comes up from russian kaliningrad(sp) so you have to take a ferry across from klapeida. just seemed like a kind of bizarre place (sand dunes, wild boars coming down to the ocean at dusk). this was also the very first place I ever got in the ocean.

as for the border issues i can def. comment. after losing my passport in riga, I had a temporary, white, canadian passport that looked very fake and which was issued in sweden. well, i don't believe i was even stamped when going into lithuania, but then on a night bus into poland, we sat at the border for at least an extra 1/2 hour to 45min because of this passport. they couldn't figure out why it said sweden, but there were no stamps in it. pretty nervewracking ordeal at 2-3am.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbo108 View Post
Any thoughts on going to Tallinn?
It's in the wrong direction unfortunately. I don't really have allot of time and plan to include Estonia and Finland on a future trip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sasquatch
as for lithuania, sorry tumbleweedz, but i wasn't that big of a fan of vilnius. maybe cuz it was raining for a couple of the days i was there
Can't be any worse than here.

I'll be staying at Franks for the first night in Riga, I'm hoping to do that AK47 shooting range thing.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:50 AM   #11
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I recently did a short ryaniar mini break and saw Riga and Vilnuis!

RIGA: I have never been so ashamed to be British! It is riddled with the dregs of our society. It was however a pretty city, with beautiful churches, parks and Squares.
I also stayed at Franks. It was fun and cheap! Serves its purpose if ur into meeting fellow travelers and staying very central. I actually met Friendly Fun Frank, ummm interesting chap. He is like 50 - the more I think about it the more questionable I think he is!

VILNIUS however was totally beautiful and I pray to god Ryanair doesn't open a flight there as currently it costs around £150 to fly there from the UK direct. ITs totally unspoilt,There was loads to do there, it is truely Beautiful and is there perfect example of undiscovered Europe. The musuem of occupation is also a must.

I wish i could go back!
I hope this info helps!

Vilnius is due to be European capital of culture 2009 so im sure tourism will be a lot more developed there this time next year!
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:55 AM   #12
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Completely agree jenny, Riga was just over run and the locals just seem to be sick of them. We had bottles thrown at us and there was always the feeling you where 2 seconds away from a beating. I had a great time at Franks hostel though, they organized their own pub crawls so it was safe enough.

Vilnius is a much nicer city and the people here actually smile unlike Riga where you feel your just putting people out.

I'll go into more detail when I get back, I'm just sitting around here waiting to print my Ryanair ticket off so I can go home.
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Old 12-11-2008, 02:06 AM   #13
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Glad you enjoyed Vilnius, as I said, it's one of my favourte places.

Sasquatch, sorry you didn't like it - we lived there for two years, so had more time to get into the rhythm of the place. But it's not everyone's cuppa.

Re the smiling faces in Vilnius - when we first arrived we were struck by the grumpiness all around us, but the second year we were there the touism office started massive campaign called "Vilnius Smiling" to encourage people to be friendlier and more welcoming of tourists. They sold caps, t-shirts and had signs up all over town. It seems to have worked. They also encouraged restaurants to offer coffee "to go" as part of the campaign - I didn't really understand why they'd want to introduce that particular rubbish-producing innovation, but anyway...

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