Every Autumn we are lucky enough to have a trip away for a few days with a small group of friends.
How we decide where we go is dictated by a number of things, as ideally we like to fly from a local airport, on cheap flights (hello Irish airline we hate where you have a bunfight to find a seat and a cold sweat of anxiety as you wonder if the cage for your luggage will be too small for your cabin only case) that fly at times which allow us the maximum number of full days.........classy? us? oh yes.
Over the years we have covered many of the major European cities, spending 2 or 3 days exploring somewhere as tourists, walking and walking and walking and eating and drinking and sharing good times. Some places I liked better than others, some I would consider returning to, while some are interesting to see but not places that could take a second visit. This year we have visited Lithuania.
'Why?' is what a girl at work said, when I answered her query about where we were going this year.
Well it ticks a lot of the 'pre-requisites for one of our trips' boxes and we hoped that perhaps it would be like the Prague we visited many, many years ago. It wasn't ....but we had a good time.
We flew to, and stayed in, Kaunas and also spent a full day in Vilnius which is the Capital.
Our trip included crochet covered trees, funiculars, soup served in an edible bread bowl, a miracle tile, clean and comfortable trains, cheap and tasty food (beautiful creamy hot beetroot soup), and polite english speaking locals. There was also an awful lot of sculpture (which I love, but those pics include friends and I don't feel able to post those here) and many many beautiful Churches, Cathedrals, and evidence of people being enterprising by using very little to make something which would make them money, for instance an old lady collecting lots of the best and large fallen leaves, of which at this time of year there were many, and shaping them into little bouquets to sell.
Lithuania was an experience, and we had a lovely time, but I cannot say that I would visit again. The Country has had a troubled past and was occupied frequently, so there is a strong flavour of greyness....the utilitarian concrete buildings and visual overall reminders of hard times does not make it as appealing as some other places we have been to, although in truth we don't look for chocolate box beauty, and the beauty we did find there was stunning.... particularly, as the men in our group pointed out, the young girls.........well actually they were right, all the young women seemed to be stick thin and long of limb and hair with pretty features.......but as we were four old married couples, the chaps were a bit silly to point that out to us at the beginning of the trip do you not think? will they never learn?........
Now back home and unpacked I am reminded of how much I love my home....big or small where we live cradles us and makes us feel safe..it is familiar and although it could do with some tweaking and tidying up and I will miss that big hotel bathroom, being back is great..........have to start thinking about next years trip now......any ideas?