As my feet begin to hurt from all this country-hopping, I look up to the hills above and see the Lithuanian flag mounted atop a castle tower and realize I must overcome the pain to see this highest peak in the city. The Gediminas Castle Tower is opposite the Three Crosses of Vilnius, on a separate hill. From Užupis it was a fairly quick climb to the crosses, though my Sancho Panza of a father significantly slowed my errant post-lunch mountaineering. At the top the sun shone and it was actually somehow warm. I basked, briefly, in the rays before plotting a course to the castle. We descended our hill, then ascended the other and were mobbed by fellow tourists who were more eager than we were to pay five Euros to climb a brick tower.
From there, we descended from the tower, and went back to the hostel for a nap. In the evening I limped to a midrange Lithuanian restaurant as my feet ached from the week of Baltic city-slicking. I had just come off a New England winter where I practically never left the house for any reason other than going to work or school, and my feet were paying the price despite my insistence that I was too young to have “foot problems.” Next, I assumed, I’d be blogging about my retirement home’s yearly trip to Tuscany, or perhaps a cruise to the Caribbean. Or, perhaps it was my sneakers, which I had bought in Malaysia for 60 bucks, and had worn through the insolent insoles to the point that my left heel was touching rubber. I was determined to look into getting new shoes when I returned home.
The restaurant where we dined on our last Baltic night served a “crispy, melt in your mouth pork,” which I could find no better words to describe than those provided by the English version of the restaurant menu, as well as the national dish “cepelinai.” These potato dumplings, which derive their name from the zeppelin airships which their resemble, can be filled with mushrooms, meat, or cheese, so we ordered the sampler platter to taste all the country had to offer. As it turns out, the country offers potatoes in ample quantities, and in strange textures. When the first cepelinai hit my tongue I realized it too was a melt-in-your-mouth type deal, but in this instance the melted meatpouch simply became thick potato soup. As with nearly all things, I am glad I tried it once. Just don’t expect cepelinas to land at your local KFC any time soon.
Victor Bernabei is just another millenial travel blogger. But here's the twist: He isn't a millenial! His goal is to see as many countries as he can, and spread the message that the world is not as scary as the news wants you to believe, and that there is beauty in all people, places and things.