Friday, May 29, 2015

Riga to Vilnius

On the drive out of Riga, I stopped by a gas station. The was no credit card slot on the pump, so I went in prepay. The clerk didn't speak English. I asked how do I pay for gas. He said, "No gas." I said, Petrol?" He said, "Petrol," and nodded before reconsidering and declaring, "Petrol, no!" I sneared and said that my car was right there by the pump. The clerk followed me. He motioned for the pump and I realized in Latvia you pay after you pump.

The clerk didn't like that the tube was curled so he yelled, "No!" and pointed at the twist. I untwisted the pump and a few drops of gas spurted out on him. After I finished, I paid. It cost 32 Euros for less than half a tank.

The drive through Latvia and Lithuania was filled with scenes of lush grass and trees. In Lithuania, I finally got a two lane highway with a divide between oncoming traffic.

Vilnius has proved to great so far. Its Old Town is far more accessible than those of Riga and Tallinn. Tallinn has a Medieval old town with narrow streets. Riga has Enlightenment era big squares. Vilnius has modern wide boulevards and a preponderance of cafes with outside seating. The buildings within Old Town are beautiful. We ate like royalty for a reasonable price.

The people seem to be nicer. Candace dropped her scarf twice and two Lithuanian grandmothers picked it up for her. She dropped her wallet and someone told her. She always says sorry even when someone gets in he  way. In Estonia and Latvia, people ignored her; in Vilnius, someone said, "No problem at all."

We stumbled upon a concert of traditional Lithuanian music by the president's palace. People were dancing in the aisles. They all knew the steps too. The dances all involved a lot of hopping. Then we walked up to Gediminas castle. The scooter couldn't handle the cobblestones on the way, so Candace was determined to walk it, even though the way we took was very steep. I was so impressed with Candace's tenacity.

Our hotel is right outside the Gates of Dawn and is quite nice. The toilet paper is so soft. I've essentially been wiping my ass with bark for the last week plus. It's such a treat. Plus we have a fridge so we get cold drinks, a rare treat.

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