So it IS the iPad that is keeping me from posting the way I usually post. I can write paragraph after paragraph of commentary, but putting pictures up brings the process to a stop. Oh well...I guess the words go here and the pics on Facebook.
After 2 days in Tallinn we were ready to head to Vilnius. Tallinn, being a port city, is BUSY with a massive amount of alcohol consumption and the subsequent craziness that accompanies that. We took an early morning taxi to the bus station and caught our "luxury bus", which for the most part, was pretty luxurious. Wifi in the entire bus; free coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes; news on a screen up front and big windows to watch the Baltic scenery go by. It was a great ride traveling through mostly country roads with one stop in Riga, Latvia (which helped us decide to spend 2 days there on our way back to Finland). When we reached the Lithuania border, we passed an old Soviet era checkpoint. Even empty and lifeless, it seemed ominous. And then Lithuania opened up before our eyes. Small villages and farms, beautiful expanses of rich green fields, wild flowers everywhere. We saw countless stork nests, huge-some more than 3 feet across-balanced precariously on top of electric poles and in the branches of dead trees. We watched a red fox saunter across a grassy hill. We saw an old woman wearing a bubushka with a large stick in her hand guarding her sheep herd, old farmers walking behind a plow and others burning brush. It was an exciting ride to say the least...we were home!
We got off the bus in Vilnius center and stood outside the bus station, map in hand, knowing our room was 5 minutes from the station, but having no idea which direction. Two women walked out of the bus station, spied us and walked over. "Do you know where you're going?" They asked. "Stepono Apartments" I replied and she said they were going there, too so we walked together. The mother and daughter duo were from Atlanta and were looking for traces of their ancestors also.
Our apartment here is lovely, spacious with a full kitchen and a washing machine in the bathroom. It is centrally located, 5 minutes from the bus and train stations, Old Town and more thrift stores than I've ever seen in my life. We love it here so much that, after a 3 day trip to the beach (and the Curonian Spit-a UNESCO World Heritage Site) we are coming back for two days before we make our way slowly back up to Tallinn to catch the ferry back to Finland. I found some genealogy sites here in Vilnius where we can talk to actual people who will help us with our search.
I have finally opened up my empty bag which I've kept folded up and tucked into my suitcase. Linen and amber shopping warranted the need for extra luggage. Oh, and thrift store finds!
More from the beach!!