Labas! (Hello in Lithuanian) It was my first trip outside India & I chose to backpack Lithuania – the hidden gem! It’s a beautiful tiny northern European country in the lap of nature with very rich history. Lithuanian language, by the way, is one of the oldest existing languages in the world.
Since I was backpacking, I wanted to get the real feel of the local culture, local cuisine & not just visit the touristy places. I was lucky to meet Tomas, a Lithuanian national in my flight to Lithuania. We had some nice discussions on various topics & he then invited me to his birthday party which I attended & met his friends & family. He baked some delicious local cuisine which we all enjoyed.
I was staying in a flat booked through Airbnb & my host, Jelena, was more like a friend than a host. She made sure I have no problems while staying at her home & also baked pancakes for me.
I mostly visited Vilnius (the capital), made a one-day trip to Trakai & one nearby village. In Lithuania, you won’t have too much issues even if you are a vegetarian, though a non-vegetarian will have an ample of choices & Lithuanian local cuisines are not one you would like to miss out.
I met so many people, made some good friends & am still in touch with them. People are warm, helpful & friendly. Though most young people do speak English, it’s always good to know some basic local phrases. It also brings a smile onto the faces of Lithuanians when they hear a foreigner speaking their language & it’s a good way to show respect to the country you are visiting.
I met Justina, a girl I got to know through Couchsurfing website & we spent some quality times together, and another Lithuanian girl showed me places when we were riding in her car. She took me to Trakai & to a village where I met her friend, his family & picked some fresh strawberries from the garden.
I wanted to visit other parts of the country as well, but didn’t have enough time. I did not want to rush through the places I was spending time at. It’s always good to spend good quality time to get the feel of the place.
Lithuania is a tiny nation with a lot to offer, so much that I still have a lot to cover & will do it when I am there next time! Great memories! Aciu Lietuva!!! (Thank you, Lithuania!)