April 28, 2006
I was a bit disappointed in Vilnius itself because it was undergoing a massive poshing-up programme with the aid of EU funding.
Around the outskirts of the Old City were several brand new 30storey glass towers of the kind you will see in Hong Kong, Bahrain, Shanghai etc - not very 'Baltic'
Parts of the Old City were quite pretty, but many of these were being 'renovated' which involved blowing up the middle of the buildings and just keeping the external walls on the outside of new structures. The original buildings had contained dwellings for ordinary people, or little family-run shops and businesses, the newly renovated contain offices for foreign companies, hotel space for foreign businessmen, or outlets for Gucci, Armani, Chanel. Nothing very Baltic here.
Juris wanted to visit a Russian period Power station on the banks of the river, and we found this but it was closed and being renovated.
Better, in my view, was the older capital of Lithuania, Kaunas. Lots of interest here, a lovely Old Town, a fabulous 1930s Cathedral and not much sign of EU poshing up. Also visited the even older capital of Trakai - a castle on a lake. We didnt have time to visit the Bronze Age capital.
Yes Lithuania is worth a visit - especially before the EU funds get spread too thickly.