Road Trip: Riga and Kaunas

May 8, 2015

Hi Family and Friends,

Happy Friday! Today I drove from Klaipeda to Riga (Latvia), then to Kaunas (2nd largest city in Lithuania), and then back to Klaipeda. It was a very full day. I was on the road from 9 am – 10:15 pm and and drove around 500 mi. (800 km) in a big triangular loop. WP_20150508_11_09_27_ProI used one and a half tanks of gas. I managed to arrive back at the hotel just as it was becoming super dark. This was good because I prefer not to drive on unfamiliar roads in the dark. Fortunately It gets dark very late here. It was an ambitious day and while I would have liked to spend more time in Riga and in Kaunas, I’m happy I made it all around.

The first leg of the trip was the longest, it took almost four hours to get to Riga. There was a lot of construction on the road around the Latvian border that took a while to get through. WP_20150508_12_41_38_ProThe drive, not just on this leg but on the next one too, had long stretches of road with only two lanes, one lane for each way, and a lot of trucks. There was a lot of truck dodging and passing. There was also a lot of traffic on the road leading into Riga. But when I finally got to the city, I got an amazing parking space in the old city and walked around and then ate local fish. WP_20150508_13_55_54_ProIt was very pleasant! At 2 pm sharp, it was time to head to Vilnius, another three ish drive.

But by the time I got back into Lithuania, I realized that Vilnius might be a little far, especially after hitting more construction and delays, so I decided to revise my plan and instead headed to Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania. Vilnius is three hours away from Klaipeda, while Kaunas is only two hours away. WP_20150508_17_55_15_ProI figured, correctly, that I wouldn’t want to drive another three hours in the evening. I arrived in Kaunas at 5:30 pm, and had a coffee near my parking space. You don’t need to pay for parking after 6 pm in Kaunas, so I decided to risk not paying. I didn’t get any ticket!

Kaunas doesn’t get too many foreign tourists so the women in the coffee shop were interested in what I was doing there. WP_20150508_18_59_59_ProI was told to walk down to the old city and that’s where I could get the best drink and snacks and view. I was told it would take 20 minutes. I’ve heard this before in Lithuania a few times. It’s funny, when you talk to a Lithuanian person, and they tell you “it will take 20 minutes” it really takes 10 minutes, maybe 15. This was true today also. It’s the opposite of what happens with one of my friends who tells me all the time “oh it will take me just 20 minutes to get there” but I know I shouldn’t expect him until at least 45.

WP_20150508_19_44_57_ProIn Old Town Kaunas I enjoyed two (not very strong, and also small, but still delicious) beers, some snacks (dinner), and sat in the sun and enjoyed the late afternoon. I really liked Kaunas.

Then I walked around the regular city center and down few other streets, and then back to my car and drove back to Klaipeda, where I am now. I left for Klaipeda at 8:15 pm, and arrived at 10:15.

Have a nice weekend! Love, Annie

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