Sometimes making friends while backpacking is a very forced task, and sometimes it’s a magical instant connection. When I met Sandy it was an instant friendship. We looked at each other, and it was, “Shit I guess we have to be besties now.” He was sharing the same room as me, which is always a great sign. You don’t have to go searching for them when you’re ready to go out in the morning. You can just sit up, and tell them to get ready.
That day after our magical moment we went to a restaurant to get traditional food. I was excited to be in Lithuania because this is where my family and my last name come from. Everywhere else I traveled hostel workers were always asking me where my last name came from because it is so strange. Finally I’m home. My first taste of Lithuanian food was exciting, but not in the good way. I ordered pig’s ear. It was a giant pig’s ear, and it felt like you were biting through thick wet skin. That is not an appetizing texture. I honestly preferred the gooey inner ear, which in most circumstances would be considered disgusting as well. I’ve heard if done right pig’s ear can be delicious and crispy, but after my experience I don’t know if I believe that.
That night we played drinking Jenga at the hostel. Jenga’s the one where you have to pull out the bricks without knocking over the tower. Drinking Jenga is much more fun. Each brick has a command written on it like “person to your left gets naked”. Throughout this game and the many nights we played it while I was there I saw Sandy kiss another boy, A LOT of penis, Sandy’s penis out while singing the Canadian anthem, and I kissed a girl who kissed me back way more and very sloppily. I also learned what cock puppetry was, and I never need to see a guy wrap his penis around his wrist again (that’s called the wristwatch).
The next day I went on a walking tour. I learned that Vilnius is one of the quirkiest cities. Here’s a tidbit of Lithuanian history. The Mayor of Vilnius (who is known for wearing bow ties) was sick of everyone parking cars in bike lanes. One day he finds a fancy car parked in the bike lane and he gets a tank and runs over it. Yes, it was probably a publicity stunt, and to this day you can see it on youtube. Now there are stickers everywhere with a picture of a car in a bike lane getting crushed by a tank. Let that be a lesson to you.
My other favorite thing about the quirky history of Vilnius is the district called Uzupis. It is a little artist district that tried to break away from Lithuania and form its own country. Obviously it was unsuccessful, but they still have their national day every April 1st. On this day you need a passport to enter and you will get a passport stamp, and the main fountain used to flow with beer (it’s now broken). Everywhere you turn in Uzupis there is interesting artwork. It is the most interesting place I have ever been. Sadly everywhere near the riverbank is covered with gigantic spiders, which also makes it the most terrifying place.
That night I went on a pub crawl that ended at a club. I was hanging out with a big bearded man named George, and a gorgeous Australian blonde girl named Masha. We all danced. I danced on a pole. The bartenders juggled and breathed fire. We were having a great time. Masha and I are discussing leaving, and about to pose it to George when all of a sudden he storms out. We are like, “What the fuck?” We searched the bathroom and the rest of the club in case he was getting sick, but finally we decide to head home. We would have appreciated having a guy to walk with us through the empty streets.
The next day I headed to the town of Trakai with a man named Adam who I met on the walking tour. We met an old man on the bus ride there and we invited him to join us for lunch. We ate delicious food next to the beautiful lake. I had chicken stuffed with cheese and pineapple covered in spinach sauce. It shouldn’t work, but it does! My only complaint was again the presence of so many spiders (what’s with it Lithuania?). Next we headed to Trakai castle where we got the chance to pose in funny cages, and whatnot.
After the castle we said goodbye to the old man and set out to find a paddle boat. None of the paddle boats for rent seemed to have anyone renting them though. We finally found one just as we were about to give up. We began paddling around this picturesque lake, and very quickly remembered that paddle boating is really exhausting. It is never as fun as it looks. We soon returned the boat, and I paid to get in one of those giant inflatable balls that floats upon the water. Again not as fun as it looks. You just fall a bunch and get wet and scratched up.
We headed back to Vilnius where I got a fancy dinner with Sandy, and we worked on our plan to get people to go on exciting adventure with us….