Loving Lithuania

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m writing to you from the balmy climes of Nebraska, where I’m helping a friend film a documentary about Native American veterans. But I digress. I’ve got one last post for you guys about Lithuania before moving on to other trips.

We had an action packed few days during our little weekend trip, and the crowning moment (in my humble opinion) was arranging a home cooked meal with some local Lithuanian folks in Vilnius.

Now, you’ll likely recall that Harrison and I have done this before, in Georgia, over New Year’s. We had an amazing time and I swear I didn’t drink all the alcohol.

Ok I lied.

Still, we had such a good time during our first adventure that I decided we had to do it again. This time I booked via eatwith, and we were neither shoved in a trunk nor drugged and sold into slavery, a possibility I never even considered until my family brought it up.

This time around we had a luxurious Lithuanian meal, and we weren’t alone!

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From left to right: yours truly, Harrison, our lovely hosts, and the two French folks who joined us during dinner.

We had a wonderful time enjoying a three course meal inside their insanely fancy home.

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Just my living room, nbd.

Now, dinner was at the end of our day, which we had spent wandering throughout the city. One of the coolest locations we ended up going? Užupis, a commune-esque neighborhood just outside of city central with its own laws, edicts, and constitution.

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Please comment on my fantastic photography skills.

The neighborhood itself is very cool, with tons of unique features, including some awesome graffiti and picturesque sites.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m not even sorry.

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All told, Lithuania was an unexpectedly awesome trip. We packed it full and enjoyed every minute of it- from the good food to the pleasant people to the cheap as hell cost.

10/10 recommend.

-Carissa “Not Quite a Victoria’s Secret Angel” and Harrison “He Totally Deserves It!” Diamond

I Now Pronounce You Hot Air Ballooners

Hello Dear Readers!

You may remember that time last year when Joni and I took a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, watching the sun rise spectacularly over the Nile as we drifted above.

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Wheeeee

I had such a great time then that when planning Harrison’s birthday trip I thought ‘Hey, I wonder if they do hot air balloons in Lithuania?’

The answer to that is yes, yes they do.

So it was that we rose at the crack of dawn to blearily drag on every item of clothing we owned (kidding, I was also wearing half of Harrison’s clothes) and hop into a van with several strangers, bound for Trakai, the neighboring city and site of our launch.

It was approximately 1 degree outside despite being April, which meant I looked like this:

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Send help.

I did, however, manage to thaw a little as Harrison helped to inflate the balloon:

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Look how badass he is.

The ride itself was very peaceful, with just three of us (and the pilot) flying over the city.

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Now, I don’t know if this is a real thing, but after landing the pilots, um, said a prayer and poured champagne on the ground. They then wiped it on our head and pronounced us official hot air ballooners. No, really.

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What just happened?

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Regardless, I enjoyed the free champagne and loved being able to take Harrison (who by the way was terrified) up over the skies.

-Carissa “Officially Qualified to Fly the Balloon” Rawson

Vilnius- Boar and Beaver Stew

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m writing to you from the desolate depths of an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, courtesy of my extremely generous parents and American Express points.

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“Desolate”

We last left off with my description of Kaunas, which was essentially ‘here’s some food let’s eat it- wait here’s some more let’s eat that too- wait hold on I didn’t have enough give me that donut.’

You may laugh, but that’s basically what happened. And why would it be any different in Vilnius? The capital of Lithuania was a mere two hours away via train so after spending a single night in Kaunas, we hopped aboard and made our way to Vilnius.

By the way, planning all this without spilling the beans to Harrison was extremely difficult. I am a notoriously poor liar, so it was to my benefit that he never actually guessed the location of our trip.

Case in point, the night before we were due to leave, he announced that he had figured out where we were going.

“Estonia!” he declared happily, at which point I replied “Oooh not bad, you’re very close.”

Why, guys, why in the world did I tell him that? I spent the entire rest of the night praying he didn’t mention any of Estonia’s neighbors and silently kicking myself for basically giving the game away.

Since we only had two nights in Vilnius, I made sure to action pack them with as much awesome stuff as possible. This started with a dinner at Lokys, an awesome old-time restaurant that had rave reviews. Think medieval times, only way cooler and better.

Once we were comfortably seated in our authentic Lithuanian basement, I made short work of ordering mead, which I thumped down enthusiastically on the table much like a Lord of old.

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More mead!

I’m kidding, kinda.

The menu at Lokys is dedicated to serving food as it would have been some four hundred years ago, which is how I ended up devouring boar and Harrison enjoyed beaver stew. No, really.

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Mmm beaver.

Afterwards we walked around Old Town Vilnius, one of the largest and best preserved examples of medieval architecture in Europe.

I’m not even gonna lie here, I had quite a lot to drink at dinner (that damn mead!) and I thoroughly enjoyed my tipsy, careless stumble throughout the town. Whether or not the locals appreciated it remains to be seen.

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Such photography. Such appreciation of local architecture. 
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Still not sorry!

-Carissa “Sobery Soberpants” Rawson

Surprise! Lithuania

Hello Dear Readers!

I’m still writing to you from the depths of my transcontinental Alaska Airlines flight, where Brit is snuggled securely under my feet and I’ve just braggily finished my first-class steak. It was a little overdone, to be honest.

But I digress.

It was Harrison’s birthday this last April, and amongst the gifts I showered about him (I have a problem), I also decided this was the ideal time to surprise him with a secret vacation. Well, ok, he knew we were going on a trip, but he didn’t know where.

I’ll start by saying that my choice of destination was entirely dependent on the cheap-ass fare that I found, courtesy of Ryanair and its yellow plastic seats.

So it was that on the morning of our journey, he packed his bags, having attempted to guess our trip location for the past several months and having failed miserably. His only hints included, “Yes, you’ll need a passport. Yes, bring your swimsuit. Yes, bring your jacket too.”

I have to admit, I was super stoked to be surprising him with this. It’s been a long time since I’ve planned all the activities on our trips (he’s usually the doer-planner), and I had packed our itinerary with things I knew he loved.

We arrived at the airport with him as clueless as can be, knowing only that we were flying on Ryanair (never again, by the way).

He squinted up at the flight information board, staring at all the departures.

“Are we going to…Rome?” he asked, his brow furrowing at the thought of a repeat visit to a country.

Nope!

“We’re going to…Paphos?” he frowned as he considered what a common destination Greece was. 

Nope!

With only one destination left up on the board, he read it out slowly, “Are we heading to…Ki-wan-us?”

Kaunas! Yes! I grinned triumphantly up at him, excited for his reaction.

“Uhm…where’s that?”

And so our journey to Lithuania started, with bags of bikinis and rain jackets and multitudes of places to explore.

-Carissa “Help I’m on a Ryanair Flight” Rawson and Harrison “It’s Pronounced K-oh-nus” Diamond