Postcard #73: Venice

Gondolas near St. Mark’s Square in Venice

Until my next post … take care!

36 Hours in Vilnius

You wouldn’t think of the tiny Baltic country of Lithuania as a fantastic place to have some mommy-time off, wouldn’t you? Well, it’s exactly where I went! Every now and then I need some lone time for me, myself and I to just relax, forget about my daily routine and get re-energized. Others do yoga, I travel.

So there I was investigating the map of Europe looking for places I’ve never been to that were close enough for a weekend trip. Not easy as I’ve travelled quite a bit in the continent. Mmm, let’s see … voilà! Vilnius, Lithuania, it is. I booked my plane tickets, reserved my hotel and off I went. I didn’t really know much, yet alone anything (oops!), about this Baltic state beforehand but I was extremely positively surprised. Vilnius is full of history with a beautiful old town and some remnants of the bygone Soviet era. The people are also friendly, and younger compared to Western Europe, and quite religious. A whopping 77% are Roman Catholics (and practicing too, in church attendance at least) while the rest belong to the Russian Orthodox Church.

While plane tickets to Lithuania are costly from where I was flying from (Switzerland), it is a very affordable country to visit and where your travel budget can get quite a bit of mileage. For example, staying in a five-star luxury hotel and eating in the fanciest restaurants cost a fraction of what you’d shell out in Paris and London. Seeing the prices, I indulged. Seeing the city’s beauty, I explored.

So instead of my plan to simply do nothing, sleep and retreat in my hotel room, with possible spa treatments, I found myself discovering the cobblestoned streets of the city, taking tons of pictures and joining tours to learn more about Lithuania, including a trip to the picturesque island castle of Trakai. Well, I was tired from my 36 hours in Vilnius but I felt re-energized nonetheless back home.

The RETAIL THERAPY
What else but amber! Bracelets, earrings, statues, you name it, there’s an amber product for every imaginable taste and at different price points too. There’s even an amber spa. And have you ever heard of amber vodka? Well, that’s what I bought. You just basically put a few amber beads in Lithuanian vodka for a couple of weeks to let the alcohol take in the amber’s taste. It’s a great souvenir and quite different. Now if these golden gems are not your thing, what about some linen, wooden toys or paintings from street artists?


The HOTEL and RESTAURANT
Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square — ♥♥♥♥♥
Universiteto gatvė 14, Vilnius 01122
* Apparently the best hotel in Vilnius. I didn’t even bother checking out other options after seeing the nightly rate. For €135.00 a night for a single room with a hearty breakfast, I thought it was a super deal. I had a beautiful luxury room with a view of the cathedral and the ruins of the fortified castle. And because I was on my mommy time off to spend my hard-earned cash, I just reserved airport transfers with the hotel and dined there. The food was delicious and the service superb!

Until my next post … take care!

Postcard #72: Paris

Giant bubbles in Paris

Until my next post … take care!

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