I started the next day with a wonder around the quaint little old town of Vilnius, the historic centre of the city. It's similiar to the other Baltic states in that they have a central old town which is usally very touristy (less so here than the other two), and then you can see newer buildings circling round and the most recent development at the edge, skyscrapers and posh hotels peeking down on you as you explore the churches, galleries and museums. Due to a large number of trollybuses there were cobwebs of electric cables weaving between buildings from street to street. I liked the place but to be honest I found Riga and Tallin touched me more.
In the old town I stepped into a few churches, walked through an endless amount of streets. (I love just walking, roaming and seeing with eyes wide open). I also accidently stole a copy of the Baltic times.
^The building in the top left is the Town Hall with a building site in front, or is that a car park..?
^ Some buildings in the Old Town
I went to the castle, or the little of it that remains and felt saddened to see so many youths at the top sitting around lost in wafts of cigerette smoke and alcohol. They were all under 20? Did they not have jobs or college to go to? It reminded me a little of Kendal castle, except this was 1pm on an ordinary weekday and there must have been about 50 - 100 young people in and around the area where the castle was. Maybe it was a school holiday?
I later found an art gallery but was disapointed to find it only housed one room with no more than 12 photos (I counted). Still, I only paid 20p to get in so I can't grumble too much. Being from Britain I could throw Litas around all day and not notice anything, we really don't realise how much we have here.
^ A random poster that had been stuck everywhere.
The next day didn't flow quite as planned, but I achieved the only thing I wanted to which was to find the tv tower and consume a beverage in the revolving restaurant at the top. (It's the little things isn't it?) At the train station I managed to buy a ticket through pointing and copying out Lithuanian phrases, only to board the wrong bus which took me up back past the hostel. I wasn't best pleased! Determined not to let my spirits be dampened I found the correct vehicle but couldn't work out where I ended up in the suburbs of Vilnius! I got off 20 mins later, only to find I was nowhere near where I wanted to be. Cue walking, lots of walking.
^ After 20 mins of walking I was this far from the tv tower!
I walked, walked and then I did some more walking. I ended up wondering around some very scary Soviet era style flats which were very oppressive and depressing. I cut through a playground and eventually emerged triuphant, if not a little embarrassed, at the back fence of the tv tower. I followed it round to the front and rode the lift to the top. I was all proud of me! (There were no signs or friendly English speaking people anywhere to help you see.)
I actually spent about an hour walking in the end, it got me thinking about how I could write something deep and meaningful here comparing my struggle to find the tv tower to the struggles of finding what you want in life. Sadly my writing isn't that elegent! I'm going to share some rambles with you anyway though.
How long do you keep going to achieve something you really want? When you're on a path that causes more harm than good, would it be foolish to stay on it when you're not sure of the outcome? Is it best to give up, cut your loses and head back to square one? Is is better to try and not succeed, than to try and try and waste all day/months/years in not succeeding?
I made it to the tv tower in the end, though I wonder if the Lizzie before mum died would have done it. Would she have even traveled at all at this point in her life if she had a mum and hadn't spent the last three years just struggling to get by?
It was great at the top though, I loved it! Settling into a booth in the revolving restaurant I worked out that one revolution took 43 mins (I timed it) and I enjoyed the view along with the chance to rest my weary legs! I felt a bit of a prick when the restuantrant revolved past the bar though, there isn't really much you can do but sit on a moving chair while the bar staff watch you go by! It must be strange to work there, the waiters seemed to have some trouble finding their customers. I was there for ages in the end, lost myself amongst the images of hi-rise flats and shades of greens, greys and browns in a landscape that seemed to float round for ever... :)
^The signs said no photos (and this was enforced by patroling waiters!) but I had to sneak some after walking for so long to get there. :)