A Travellerspoint blog

Vilnius

Old Haunts

sunny 21 °C

More plans afoot...

In 2015 I spent a week in Vilnius after an absence of almost 15 years. I spent a lot of time working there in the 90s.

Aušros Vartụ, Vilnius

Aušros Vartụ, Vilnius

I’d like to go back in 2017. That visit in 2015 was all about re-visiting old haunts. I’d like to do that again and this time I’d also like to explore some new places.

Pilies g, Vilnius

Pilies g, Vilnius

The big gap in my knowledge is the Baltic coast - Klaipėda, Palanga and Nida. They’re a 3 hour drive from Vilnius, so fitting in a visit as part of a business trip was never feasible - short of staying away for the weekend after being away all week already.
Ironically, one of the big work projects back then was advising the government on the privatisation of LISCO - the state shipping company. It was based in Klaipėda, but for language reasons it was always one of my Lithuanian colleagues who went there.

Trakai

Trakai

Timing of another visit is tricky. Last time I got it completely right - lovely weather in late May. Spring is short there (as is autumn) and like most places in northern Europe the weather can be unpredictable. In late summer it can be wet. Late spring and early summer are best.

Kaunas

Kaunas

I’d probably go for an Airbnb place again - it’s so nice to have that privacy and flexibility. Breakfast is after the first coffee and I’ve gone around the corner to buy croissants.

Home from Home, Vilnius

Home from Home, Vilnius

Posted by IainT 12:45 Archived in Lithuania Tagged vilnius lithuania trakai kaunas Comments (0)

Ah, January...

Planning Mode

sunny 1 °C
View Eigg on IainT's travel map.

Not much to get excited about on the travel front in January. Time to make plans for the rest of the year, mind you.

I have one trip booked already. At the end of March I’m off to Eigg for a couple of nights. Eigg is one of the Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides, just south of Skye. Population 87.

Eigg

Eigg

Yes, it’s almost 6 hours away from my home in Fife. Stage 1 is a 3.5 hour drive to Mallaig, Stage 2 is 1 hour 20 minutes on the Calmac ferry.

Gigha Ferry

Gigha Ferry

Unfortunately that ferry leaves at 10:20 and it’s the only one. In fact it only operates 3 times per week in the winter. So my solution - faced with the alternative of leaving home about 6am and hoping for a problem free drive - is to stay the night before at Roy Bridge, close to Fort William. Then I can take the 8.30 train from Fort William to Mallaig (which connects with the ferry) and enjoy the scenery along the way.

I hope it’s all worth it!

I’ll have 2 nights in self catering on Eigg.

It’s all part of my recent urge to explore the west coast islands.

Mull at Dusk

Mull at Dusk

I had first time visits to Mull, Iona, Staffa, Ulva, Gigha, Seil, Luing and Easdale in 2016.

Staffa

Staffa

Tiree was the start of the quest in 2015. I loved it.

Tiree

Tiree

My other possible project for 2017 is the Outer Hebrides. I can get the ferry from Oban to Barra, and then island hop north to Lewis. The way home could be Tarbert to Uig (on Skye) by ferry. Calmac does special deals for adventures like that, to cover all four of the ferries involved.
We’ll see - it will take a bit of planning and organisation, and it won’t be cheap. I reckon I’d need a minimum of 4 nights accommodation on top of about £150 for the ferries and £100 for a couple of tanks of diesel.

Queuing

Queuing

Posted by IainT 06:39 Archived in Scotland Tagged ferries island life eigg calmac Comments (0)

The Last Trip

Nürnberg

sunny -2 °C

The last trip of 2016. A day out in Nürnberg on 30 December.

The starting point was Gaimersheim near Ingolstadt, about 55 miles (90km) to the south, so it was a train journey and not a flight!

DB does a Bayern ticket which gives unlimited train travel within Bavaria (after 9am). Prices went up in December, but I think it’s €25 for one person now and about €30 for the two of us. An excellent deal. A brand new train too - still smelling just like a new car.

The main reason for choosing Nürnberg was to visit the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. It’s very close to the main train station, and that was another reason for letting the train take the strain.

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It has a whole host of interesting sections, with contents ranging from old masters to antique musical instruments.

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I’d guess we saw about 30% of it in 3 hours, although part of that was spent in a special exhibition about Emperor Charles IV.

The coffee shop was very enjoyable too - a smoked salmon bagel at lunchtime and apple cake mid afternoon.

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About 5pm we set off to find a place for a drink and dinner, with no plan except wishful thinking.

It worked a treat and we found Bratwurst Röslein. It dates back to the 1400s, so it is “in with the bricks’. An excellent dinner, with several highlights.

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First, the Bratwurst with Sauerkraut. Next, the white Franconian wine (Weisser Burgunder). Then, the service. Last but not least, the atmosphere.

It looks like a tourist trap, but don’t let that put you off. It’s genuine.

For those who don’t know, the city has its own style of Bratwurst. Smaller than usual. To be tried... with Sauerkraut.

€70 for two. That was for 2.5 courses (a shared starter) and wine (€19 for the bottle).

Then back to the station to catch the 19:38.

My only previous visit to the city had been to visit the famous Christmas market. It was worth seeing, but the market and the whole of the old city centre was swarming with tourists. You could hardly move in the market by late afternoon. This time was more “normal” and more fun.

Hopefully I’ll be back - there’s plenty more to see.

Posted by IainT 14:48 Archived in Germany Tagged trains germany bavaria gaimersheim nürnberg Comments (0)

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