In my opinion, Vilnius is one of the most beautiful and underestimated European cities, it is the capital of Lithuania, it has almost 600,000 inhabitants and its Old Town has been declared Unesco World Heritage Site.
Since it is very easy to find this kind of general information in Wikipedia, let’s start immediately with the first thing to do, especially if you arrive in this amazing city at lunch time like it happened to me:
1 – Taste Zeppelini
That day I wanted to eat sushi, but I had already understood after the first bite that it would have been a terrible mistake. Zeppelini are a typical Lithuanian dish: they are a type of dumpling made from grated and riced potatoes, usually stuffed with minced meat and served after boiling with sour cream sauce and bacon or pork rinds.
I took the one in the picture together with a delicious mushroom sauce and a good beer.
They are so-named because their shape resembles that of the famous German Zeppelin airship.
I ate them at Forto Dvaras that is a very nice restaurant situated in Pilies Gatve(street), the most popular tourist street of the Old Town. Despite the great food and location prices are pretty low.
After lunch I met this fun homeless man, who looked at my face and, I am still wondering how, guessed immediately my nationality and started to sing one of the most famous Italian songs: Volaare oh oh, cantare oh oh oh.
So I could not avoid to take a picture with him.
Zeppelini and my new Friend score 9/10
2 – Stop in the middle of the Cathedral square
and admire the church, Gedimino Gatve (named after the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas) on the left and Gedimino’s Tower on the right.
The Cathedral itself is very simple, but the surroundings are really fascinating. It is also possible to go up to the uppest part of the bell tower (57 meters) and enjoy this view..
While I was leaving the square, I thought about this comparison..
Did you guess what is in the second picture?
All right, that is crazy, Pisa tower is Pisa Tower..
Cathedral score 6.5/10 – Square: 8/10 – My Previous statement : 2/10
3 – Visit Užupis Repubblic
This place is certainly the most fascinating area of the city, with a very interesting story: even if it is very close to the city centre, until some 30 years ago it was populated by the marginal elements of the society, like prostitutes and homeless, but then, since house prices were very cheap, a lot of penniless artists started to take up residence there. In some years they transformed the worst area of the city into the most trendy one, and – on 1 April, 2000 – Užupis has been declared “Republic”. It even has its own currency.
Walking through its streets, it is possible to admire different kinds of wall paintings, very original shops and open air portraits.
Užupis Republic has even its own Constitution, that is written in 14 different languages and displayed on the street. Even though after the first reading it could appear bizarre, it is actually very deep because it asserts very wise principles like the right to follow dreams but also the right to have a normal life without the duty to achieve great careers. Here is the complete version.
Dalai Lama is honoured citizen of the Repubblic.
Tomorrow the second part, with the last 2 things to do and 2 original pictures I took in Vilnius!