special places 7…

…Vilnius.

Well off the beaten track for most people, probably because the Ryanairs of this world haven’t gone there (yet). They do fly to Kaunas – or is that Vilnius (West) in Ryanair-speak.

Definitely a special place for me. I went there 40 times in 5 years in the late 1990s. Seems a bit excessive, but my business had an office there. An office which was my idea, and which I played a major part in establishing.

Mabre - a favourite hotel

I enjoyed going there.

It was cold in winter and hot in summer. Spring and autumn were brief.

The country had just escaped from Soviet rule, and was changing so fast it made you catch your breath. Refreshing compared with the stagnation in Scotland.

The people were fun. The city had the potential to be lovely once the Soviet decay had been fixed. The food was great – no bland, intensively farmed meat & veg. It had flavour!

Praskovila Piatnickaya Orthodox Church

Moldovan wine. Georgian brandy. Russian vodka and caviar. Lithuanian champagne (don’t ask).

The work was fun. New. Vibrant. Challenging. The office was a brave and imaginative project. And it was successful.

an office function

It was an adventure.

My family (the then wife, and my toddler son) had two trips out there as tourists, just to see for themselves.

My son and I had a mid-winter trip ourselves after it had all changed (my new job, and my renewed single status). Ice skating in the rink at Elektrenai. Messing around on the frozen lake at Trakai.

Trakai - lake, castle & small boy

Mark has been there 3 times. Most people never even think of going once.

© iain taylor 2012

 

 

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