Hey there APJ Crew,
The honeymoon continues apace. Jin has organised a kick ass adventure and we are having a ball
Scent Diary: 13.5 – 19.5.2019
This morning we had our breakfast, bathed, packed bags and were in the hire car by about 8am. Goodbye Tallinn.
Driving past fields of electric yellow canola flowers. Doesn’t jin look handsome here? He took the whel because he grew up driving on the right.
Poor bugger. He drank a Red Bull to give him a lift at the 4 hour mark. Then he needed to have a wee every 30 minutes. We couldn’t find a service station and he ended up on a side road pissing for Jesus. It was a cascade to rival the Victoria Falls and his relief was so palpable it was comic.
I was remarking on this beautiful colour green beer can and Jin noticed that it would be our mate Michael and my combined surname if we married. He’s clearly thinking of escape routes.
In the Vilnius Holiday Inn they have a restaurant called the Rib Room. How have I never eaten ribs before? Dinner was bloody delicious.
After a few drinks we got fairly silly and decided to a Couples Selfie to fit in with all the Lithuania gays on GRINDR. They are all doing raised eyebrow pouty shit. We were laughing so hard.
Cool, steely grey day in Lithuania. Perfect for doing the walking tour of the old town. So much history. The story of the Jewish plight in Vilnius in WWII is appalling, 95% killed, about 1/3 of the cities population at that time. The sheer number of different rulers of the land, countries, kings, unions. It’s hard to fathom coming from a country so untouched by strife.
This is Town Hall Square where our tour started. So clean and neat.
Interestingly the country was mass baptised by Polish Catholics. Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be converted from their pagan beliefs. After centuries of warfare they capitulated to the festering hoard of the devoted.
This is a modern recreation of the ancient castle, ruined beyond repair in a war.
This cathedral was completely burned out inside by the victorious armies in WWII trying to smoke out Nazis. The restoration is simple but lovely.
Interior of a really lavish cathedral.
View from the old castle on a hill remains. It was a tough climb but well worth the effort.
Dinner at Lokys. The staff at our hotel said it was the best available Lithuanian cuisine. This is Cold Beetroot Soup. Looks like Peptobismal, tastes pretty good, but weird.
Venison medium rare. YUM!
Our waiter Andres is an ex Lithuanian swimmer. You can’t see it here but his shirt was quite thin so we could see his six pack and tight nipple buds. He was sweet, gruff and friendly.
We might have bought some more amber. SHHHHH
SOTDay: Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations.
We were up and at ’em early. Breakfast in the hotel and out into the car. Jin had decided we needed to make a couple of pit stops on our way from Vilnius to Riga. First stop was the town of Kaunas. Very pretty, some lovely buildings and castle ruins.
It does have a lovely cathedral too. We walked in and someone started practicing on the pipe organ. Jin had never heard one played before and was completely riveted. It was nice to watch him so immersed.
Second stop of the day was at the Hill of Crosses. Originally people would erect crosses on the site to remember loved ones killed in revolution or taken to Siberia. The Russians would regularly pull them down and the locals would start all over again. Now anyone can buy a cross and put it on the hill or around. Last count in 2006 was over 100,000 crosses. It’s touching but also CREEPY AF!
Next door we found an extensive field of canola and Jin wanted to have a photo immersed in the middle of the flowers. He’s so freaking cute, and took such joy in making it happen. It’s so easy to love this guy, look at his happiness here.
Next stop DINNER! We decided to follow Trip Advisor’s #3 recommendation, Beef Eaters. A little bit out of the heart of town but worth the extra search. Latvian food with lavish servings, delicious and CHEAP AS CHIPS! We ate so much, mains each and four sides with extras from the kitchen thrown in for under 50 euros. That includes booze! Unbelievable. We tipped like crazy.
From dinner we walked back to the river and through the Old Town.
Surrounded by the most divine scent we noticed the lilacs are blooming madly. Almost a white floral but demure, yet breathy and lightly animalic. WOW! Fabulous. The air is redolent with lilac.
Even the sunset was amazing. This picture does it no justice. It was spectacular.
Jin organised for us to do a guided city tour of Vilnius. We had an excellent guide, Inga, and were accompanied by two other Aussies, Lou and Paul. Vilnius is beautiful and full of history, all easily followed through its buildings from the very beginnings to today. Informative and fun.
Home for a nap and some lunch.
Having enjoyed Inga’s morning tour and loving the Aussies so much we joined them for the afternoons Art Nouveau tour. I thought Art Nouveau was a much more narrow movement (I’ve only really been acquainted with Mucha’s work) but it seems even in the small window of its popularity that there were at leasts 5 sections. In Vilnius it also seems to have been a movement powered almost solely by the Masonic crew.
SOTDay: Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations.
We had breakfast, checked out and Jin drove us at breakneck speed to Tallinn so we could return our hire car and have lunch at Farm Restaurant again. SO FREAKING GOOD! We cannot recommend a visit enough. Try and do lunch, it’s far less busy and you get more attention. EAT THE BREAD.
On the train from Tallinn to St Petersburg. We are in a four sleeper room, yes it’s 2nd class. We had the room to ourselves till the very last stop before St Petersburg where a young man joined us and quietly went straight to sleep.
When you get on they give you lunch. Really delicious. Happy surprise. Even though we were stuffed from our lunch we still ate it up.
Arrival at St Petersburg International Train Station at midnight. Still a bustling metropolis. Our hotel is the Radisson Park Inn. It’s crap.
SOTDay: Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations. Again, yes. It fits the Eastern European feeling so freaking well.
After sleeping through very noisy street cacophony, no AC, showering with a screen that kept closing on me and grumpiness from both Jin and I we woke up and had a stellar breakfast. Everything seems better with a full stomach.
Our guide in St Petersburg is Nicolay. He was recommended by our mate Graham who used him a couple of years ago. While not being the cheapest option he is a brilliant co-ordinator. We had everything, he knows so much about art, history, architecture and St Petersburg. Like a walking encyclopaedia he is full of information and has an excellent sense of humour and adventure. If you ever decide to come to St Petersburg tell me and I’ll pass on his details. Even to the point that he has purchased our onward tickets for buses and trains because Russia gets first pick of the best seats. SO COOL!
Nicolay has a car and we are chauffeured between attractions with a running commentary on the buildings, squares and stores that we pass. Also, he is unafraid to admit a lack of knowledge and looks stuff up if we ask outside his knowledge realms. Can’t tell you how much we love him.
We saw both the St Issacs Cathedral and the Saviour on Spilled Blood Cathedral. We were so overwhelmed the pictures are spotty at best. You MUST climb to the roof of St Isaacs, the view is breathtaking and gives a really good persecutive of St Petersburg and how it’s laid out.
The Hermitage!! You have no idea.
A little coffee break to clear our heads after the enormity of the Hermitage. Over 2000 rooms and we saw about 50 before my head started to explode. Jin and Nicloay ate this citrus cheesecake tart in Anna Maria’s honour. She would have LOVED this trip but is busy hobnobbing in NYC.
The General Staff Quarters have lent half their selves to modern art. We saw Van Goghs and Matisses that I never knew existed, seriously adding to my knowledge of their oeuvres. We were on a time budget but I could have spent at least a day just in the Sergei rooms.
At 5pm we caught the River Cruise and saw everything from a different perspective. I only captured the Hermitage and the house of some Russian Countess who spent her life and money helping and educating the poor and left behind in the industrial fringes. She has more to do with Russia’s greatness than peole give her credit for.
SOTDay: Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations. Might as well stick with the program.
Today the morning is completely given over to updating the blog, breakfasting and writing postcards.
This afternoon we are going to the Department store.
This evening Nicolay has a whole evening of bars and clubs organised for us. SO EXCITED!
It’s YOUR turn. What’s happening in your world?
Did you do anything Fragrant, Fun, Friends, Family or even had some less than Fabulous news you want to share? Now’s the time, in the comments below.
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