A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

The Provinces

semi-overcast 5 °C
View Vilnius 2 on IainT's travel map.

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A wet October Saturday afternoon in Vilnius. What could we do?

Ikea? A museum?

We ended up driving to Kėdainiai (population 24,000), 80 miles (130 km) to the northwest. The reason - a Scottish heritage.

Grėjaus Namas Hotel

Grėjaus Namas Hotel

The Scots arrived in Kėdainiai in the late 16th and 17th centuries, serving in the army and personal guard of Prince Radziwill. Encouraged by the conversion of his wife Anna to protestantism, the community exerted considerable influence in the city and persisted until the mid-19th century.

The historian Kaminskas wrote: 'The Scots are still arriving, and settle near the big market, They settle for a long time, as walls of a house, are thick, strong and smell of stability'. Eleven of the main market square's nineteen grand properties were once owned by Scots merchants.

At their most dominant in the 17th century, Scots reached exalted positions, including mayor, court members, clergymen and academics. At the Academy of Vilnius, John Hay was the master of rhetoric and Scots contributed to collections of published poetry. By the 18th century the ascendancy of catholics in the Counter-Reformation in the area led many Scots back to their traditional strongholds in ports such as Prussia's Königsberg (now Kaliningrad).

The names of Scottish settlers often naturalised, and it is possible to find names such as Andersonas (Anderson), Benetas (Bennett), Diksonas (Dickson) and Gordonas (Gordon).

It was interesting - although I could see no signs of Scottish architectural style in the main square - and I got a flavour of town life "off the beaten track".

Town Square

Town Square

Oh, and an excellent coffee and cake.

Posted by IainT 20:59 Archived in Lithuania Tagged lithuania kedainiai Comments (0)

Toulouse - Travel tips

sunny 28 °C
View Toulouse on IainT's travel map.

Apartment - Early Morning

Apartment - Early Morning

My week in Toulouse was wonderful.

The weather was fantastic, the apartment was perfect, and I loved having R’s company for a good part of the week.

Perfect Petit Déjeuner

Perfect Petit Déjeuner

Here are the tips I would pass on…

My flights were with KLM from Edinburgh via Amsterdam, and cost £225 return. This price included a checked in bag of up to 23kg and a normal size cabin bag. I booked about a month in advance.

I have blogged already about the three nightmare parts of my KLM experience. It really is a shame about those because the in-flight part of the travel was excellent.

My apartment was arranged through Airbnb. It cost £607 for the 7 nights. The owner did not charge for cleaning, so I had to spend 30 minutes cleaning it myself before checking out.

Apartment - Front

Apartment - Front

The location is ideal. It is 150m from a Tramway stop (Fer à Cheval) and the Tramway now has a branch to the airport, so getting there and back is quick (30 minutes) and cheap - €1.70 single.

We took a taxi when we arrived at the airport because we were tired and had suitcases. It cost about €20 and took about 20 minutes in early rush hour traffic.

The Metro (St Cyprien-Republique) is about 10 minutes walk from the apartment, so you can be at the railway station in less than 30 minutes - again for €1.70 single.

Metro/Tram

Metro/Tram

You can walk to the city centre in 20 minutes. The St Cyprien covered market is 10 minutes walk away. Butcher, fruit/veg and bakery shops are within 200m, as is a Casino mini market.

Boulangerie

Boulangerie

The St Cyprien area has a good number of places to eat well if you don’t want to walk into the city centre.

L'Apéro

L'Apéro

The building is in a quiet street and on the 5th floor, so traffic noise is almost zero - car horns in the distance during rush hour. The other occupants of the building were mostly very quiet too.

Apartment - Front Views

Apartment - Front Views

It is a 2 bedroom apartment and it is both spacious and well furnished. The communication with the owner’s concierge service was good (she speaks fluent English) and the check in/out arrangements were completely smooth.

Apartment - Living Room

Apartment - Living Room

My excursion by train to Albi cost €14.40 each way, plus the cost of the Metro journeys.

Posted by IainT 12:36 Archived in France Tagged france transport flights klm toulouse airlines albi Comments (0)

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