I departed Vilnius and headed for Trakai just 50 kms from Vilnius. I was feeling prtetty good as the Matron at the Monastry where I had stayed in Vilnius has given me a box of Chocolates as a good wish preso. There were plenty of things that I would not have taken with me as I had been busily chucking things out to reduce the weight on the Mule. Trakai was pretty touristy and I didn't actually wander through the castle because there were too many people walking over the jetty to get there at the same time as me. Instead I headed north to Kernave the ancient capital of Lithuania. if there was something special then I missed it! However I did stumble upon a truly amazing art gallery. In trying to take a photo of the woman relaxing by the water (see pics), I was invited into the house by the wife of the artist. At this stage I didn't know what I was being invited in for.
I camped that night by a deserted house. Peaceful and warm. This was the first time I had used my new multi-fuel stove. My stove that I have carted through 20 years of travel was rejected by the airlines in Aus as being dangerous goods. So i had to buy a new one (on Ebay) and it didn't arrive prior to my departure from the UK. Couriering my palmtop and stove to Vilnius cost more than the stove was worth. So it was big night for me with my NEW stove.
The Hill of Crosses was truly inspiring. Dedicated to all those Lithuanians who have lost their lives it began in the 1850's. The Soviets during their occupation in the 1940-1980's became so agitated with the ever increasing number of crosses especially as many had been killed or deported to Siberia by them that they bulldozed and burnt the lot in 1963. Lithuanians continued to bring crosses to the Hill despite Soviets guards being placed there. It is now recognised as World heritage listed site because of it cultural significance to Lithuanians and their dedication to their past generations who have died giving their lives for their country.
I rocked into Riga at 6:00pm right on the doorstep to the Hotel I was hoping to find. It was total luck. I booked in then sat down at the street bar next door and caught up with a spot of working out how many beautiful people could walk past in one hour. Some Norwegians I was siting with said that Scandanavians thought Riga had the best looking people in the world. I think they were right. I was siting in the middle of the nightlife of Riga and I was too old for it. But not too old to look. WOW!