laupäev, 19. oktoober 2019

Cyprus. Vacation.

By the end of August it was clear that I need vacation. One that doesn't include running from one sightseeing object to the next or cleaning the home. Somewhere with hot weather, beach and direct flight form Tallinn. I bought tickets to Cyprus and booked a hotel as near to the beach as I could afford. An hour before leaving to the airport, the hotel called me and asked, if it's alright, if they accommodate me instead of the booked 3-star hotel in their 5-star hotel. Quick consultation with Google Maps assured that the new hotel is right on the beach, so I graciously agreed with the change.

On the plane I was sitting next to a lady and her daughter, where the lady kept twisting and turning on her seat to talk to the row behind us, where she had the rest of the family and to take pics of her daughter, while constantly leaning onto my seat to get better angles. Approximately every 10 minutes I had to push her away from my seat. And it was a 4+ hours flight... Soon also the people in front of us started to look back with wry faces, because the kid kept kicking the seat in front of her and hammered the tray table up and down.

In the hotel room there were fresh fruits, balcony, view of the pool, sea and breakfast area and since it was far over midnight, most importantly the bed waiting for me.

Next four days were pretty much all the same: bed - breakfast - pool - beach - Starbucks - pool - walk (I once went to town too, but it wasn't anything spectacular) - dinner - sunset. There were more pools in that hotel than most water parks in Estonia, also an infinity pool, waterfall and pool bar.

Apparently I'm an extremely dirty person, because my room was cleaned and bed made twice a day...

All four days it was 86+ degrees, sun and clear sky. And 10 minutes before I started towards airport, there was a storm totally out of nowhere, pouring rain and the wind took the awnings from the Chinese restaurant across the street.

In the airport I heard the announcement that the boarding to Tallinn had started. I looked at the screen and made my way to the gate. As the last one boarding I showed my passport and boarding pass and the pretty unfriendly employee asked me, where I was flying. Turned out that this gate wasn't for Tallinn, but for Moscow. It also turned out that although the boarding to Tallinn had started, the screen I looked at, didn't even have the Tallinn gate yet. Make your best guess, huh.

pühapäev, 11. august 2019

Vilnius. Holy Donut.

Yesterday we noticed that the best donut bar in capital, Holy Donut is just around the corner from our apartment and today, already before they opened the doors, we were waiting. Within the next 15 minutes we were able to choose our donuts from the tens and tens of them and create a fairly remarkable lane behind us. I added some eggs Benedict for me and we sat down. Scott's choice was the bacon and maple syrup donut and lime one, mine was with cherries.

After the breakfast we walked to Frank Zappa's monument, where they had a very fair warning on the wall as well: Don't eat yellow snow. We walked some more in old town, visited the library street and watched the flag change by the parliament, where two tourists (yep, us) were told that they are sitting in the not prohibited area and one soldier notified about his not correct pose. We also saw some artificial flowers on one house, nicely put in water... On the main street there was "Dinner in Sky" happening this weekend and we walked past just as they lifted the next set of dinner guests up... and right away down again, because apparently it was too much for one guy. We made our way to Užupis to have a light lunch. Scott had the gazpacho and me the cold beetroot soup and some ricotta pancakes. Muy good.

Since our plan for the day was the alternative Vilnius, we set our route based on street art. Near the railway station there's a bar that has the satirical take of Brežnev's and Honecker's Kiss from Berlin Wall, where now Trump and Putin are the ones kissing. There's also a huge "Let's make Empathy great again" with the boy-Trump figure in front of it. We also paid a visit to the railway station and had a coffee in the beach bar in old town.

Right before going to airport, we stopped in IKEA to get an office chair for Scott and some silicon spatulas for me. And in no time we were again in the ever the gray airport. We checked the two parts of the chair in and went to the security, where it turned even more gray. I had bought a little sword-shaped fridge magnet for Robyn and put it between my notebook, so it wouldn't get broken between all the other stuff in my bag. The extremely competent security guard considered it "sharp object" with the BLADE longer than allowed 5cm and took it away. The same magnet, that would have just broken, if I would have hit anyone with it. Right through security, few steps further, there was already the first restaurant, where just like that we could take actual metal forks and knives. The ones that won't brake, should you hit someone with those. Go figure, right.

laupäev, 10. august 2019

Vilnius. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.

Since our landlords had a little bar next door, first thing in the morning we made our way there to start the day with some waffles. As a financially concious Eastern European I opted for the combo offer, where for 6 euros I got coffee, smoothie and a waffle with salmon and poached egg. Scott, who didn't care about saving money, had a waffle with tomato and mozzarella for 4.50.

After breakfast we had a sightseeing tour planned. We walked in the old town and from there to the Republic of Užupis. On April 1st 1998, the residents of the area declared the Republic of Užupis, along with its own flag, unofficial currency, president, cabinet of ministers, a constitution, an anthem, and an army of approximately 11 men. The army has since been retired, but everything else still exists. Among other things also the constitution that's available in a variety of languages on the wall in Užupis. From the English version you can read:
1. Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone.
2. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof.
3. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation.
4. Everyone has the right to make mistakes.
5. Everyone has the right to be unique.
6. Everyone has the right to love.
7. Everyone has the right not to be loved, but not necessarily.
8. Everyone has the right to be undistinguished and unknown.
9. Everyone has the right to idle.
10. Everyone has the right to love and take care of the cat.
11. Everyone has the right to look after the dog until one of them dies.
12. A dog has the right to be a dog.
13. A cat is not obliged to love its owner, but must help in time of nee[d].
14. Sometimes everyone has the right to be unaware of their duties.
15. Everyone has the right to be in doubt, but this is not an obligation.
16. Everyone has the right to be happy.
17. Everyone has the right to be unhappy.
18. Everyone has the right to be silent.
19. Everyone has the right to have faith.
20. No one has the right to violence.
21. Everyone has the right to appreciate their unimportance.
22. No one has the right to have a design on eternity.
23. Everyone has the right to understand.
24. Everyone has the right to understand nothing.
25. Everyone has the right to be of any nationality.
26. Everyone has the right to celebrate or not celebrate their birthday.
27. Everyone shall remember their name.
28. Everyone may share what they possess.
29. No one can share what they do not possess.
30. Everyone has the right to have brothers, sisters and parents.
31. Everyone may be independent.
32. Everyone is responsible for their freedom.
33. Everyone has the right to cry.
34. Everyone has the right to be misunderstood.
35. No one has the right to make another person guilty.
36. Everyone has the right to be individual.
37. Everyone has the right to have no rights.
38. Everyone has the right to not to be afraid.
39. Do not defeat.
40. Do not fight back.
41. Do not surrender.

We walked to the cathedral and climbed up to the Gediminas tower, where finding the entrance turned out to be the challenge of the day. The views however were definitely worth the few thousand additional steps we took. The lunch following our tower adventure offered the most surprising food experience of the day. We went to a fairly nondescript pub, where the service was so remarkabless bad that it's worth mentioning. We placed our order  and in the last second Scott added the garlick breads. It was so quick that I didn't even manage to warn him about the concept of the garlick bread in Baltics, where you are most likely getting soaking oily fried bread (if you're lucky, they are cut in bars, usually it's just slices) with some garlick on side that you have to spread on the bread yourself. What we got, were a plate full of nice bread bars with good amount of garlick and melted cheese. They are absolutely the almost the best garlick breads I've ever had. They are sharing the first place with the ones from Põrgu.

We walked at the river, visited a sovjet era abandoned colossus, had a little afternoon nap in the apartment and went for dinner. We had gazpacho, grilled goat cheese, shrimps, carpaccio, absolutely delicious creamy chantarelle and chicken pasta and one of us (not me) the chocolate lava cake.

reede, 9. august 2019

Vilnius. The most gray airport

Friday after work we packed the bags and flew to Vilnius. I ensured that 5+ years hadn't made any improvements in this airport and it could still be the main character in the song "In a depressive Lithuanian small airport". We took taxi to our booked apartment, which for 55 EUR per night turned out to be around twice the size of our Tallinn condo and is nicely situated right in the old town. After bringing the bags in, we went out to see the old town and have something to eat. First place, where we sat down and already after 10 minutes waiting time received the menus, let us know that waiting time for the food is one hour. We didn't want to wait that long, so after the drinks we made our way to something more suitable to our current needs. Finally we stepped in Bistro18, that we had looked at already in the beginning of the walk. Long way to dinner :)

We ordered the soup selection, scallops, goat cheese salad, white wine, strawberry cheesecake and chocolate lava cake. While waiting we had the privilege to see a diaper change next table, because "there was no changing table in the restroom". But the food was great as was the wine and company and before leaving we booked the table also for the next night.