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Old July 25th, 2013, 04:49 AM   #1
Vecais Sakarnis
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VILNIUS - Lithuania's capital perspectives

I am drinking tea and eating "Šakotis" (tasty Lithuanian pastry) at this late night hour, ready to start presenting my impressions from my recent, last week's trip to the beautiful capital of Lithuania - Vilnius (as well as summer paradise island Malta).

This was not my first trip to Vilnius, so this time I prepared very well and explored previously what I want to visit. Mostly it was view points from hills and some nature places inside the city, but, of course, we couldn't miss the charming Old Town too.

I traveled by car together with my girlfriend, and we saw almost every viewpoint we planned except Karoliniškes outcrop - left it for another time.

Road network in Vilnius is good - there are many highways which interconnects the city's parts (scattered between the chunks of nature) well. However, it can't be said about the road quality - I was unpleasantly surprised about the bad condition of the asphalt on most of the streets. If roads in Lithuania to Vilnius (especially the superb Paņevežys-Vilnius highway, where one can easily go with 130-140 km/h) provides a relaxed pleasure, then driving in Vilnius asks cautious concentration - not only because of the road quality which is much worse than in Riga (one forumer here said it some months ago but then I couldn't believe it), but also because of... Lithuanian drivers. Some of them really behaves shamelessly. For example, one idiot beeped at me just because I didn't started immediately to move when the signal lights switched from red to orange (not even green yet)... And some of them makes just stupid moves - for example, drives out from minor to major road and wonders why others are not giving them way. In overall, drivers culture in Riga seems to be at better level - although 2,5 days may be too less to judge, probably had just bad luck.

OK, enough complaining, now we can start with photos of the city....

1. Gediminas street - a model street in Vilnius, looks as perfect as 5 years ago. I guess, this street is the same for Vilnius like Champs De Elyssees for Paris.



2. One of the easiest reachable view points on the city's skyline lies next to Subačiaus and Maironio street crossing, right besides Old Town. There is also one of few places in center where you can park a car for free - and surprisingly, there is always some free place. A good point to locate your car and then go to explore Old Town.



3. Even from here, the city's new skyline manages to stay in reverential distance from most of it's Old Town spires - and so it does from most of other view points



4. OK, it mixes up a little bit here



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8. Much better view opens up from nearby hill on the other side of Subačiaus street. Empty beer bottles and other trash there proves - the place is used by locals to enjoy a view on their city (tourists would probably not imagine to climb up there):



9. Here you see how the main advantage of Vilnius is it's enviable layout - the historical centre in the valley encircled by hills with living districts on them. It's a perfect formula of cosiness, imho.



10.



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12. From here is seen Hill of Three Crosses - another great view point, will visit it later.



13. Looks autumnish, but Vilnius charmes also in rainy weather



14. As in any larger city, there is a dark side of it. However, a bit unusal is that you encounter this by entering Old Town on one of tourist landmarks in the city - Gates of Dawn (Aušros Vartai)!



15. Vilnius has opened a rental bike places now. In Riga, similar project "Baltic Bikes" flunked - after some two years, the bikes has gone from the streets this year, apparently it wasn't repaying. Municipality announced a new procurement and noone applied... Interesting, how this business is succeeding in Vilnius?



16. In Vilnius, you can also stumble upon many weird, artistic places - artistic, young, alternative (in a positive manner) atmosphere is one of the things Vilnius is proud for.



To be continued...
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Last edited by Vecais Sakarnis; July 25th, 2013 at 05:05 AM.
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Old July 25th, 2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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When in Vilnius you should drive Marseille style too.

Love those skyline shots, the Baroque churches and hills create a pretty composition!
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Old July 25th, 2013, 05:44 PM   #3
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17. Few more from Subačiau point



18.



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23. Such "garden of Eden" appeared while coming back from the hill through less slope pathway



24. Nearby neighbourhood. "Audejas" is similar to Latvian, it apparently means some factory related to textile industry, right? Does it work still?



25. Vilnius with it's hillish topography is maybe not the most grateful city for cycling, however, there is quite many bicyclists. When you go down the hill, of course, it's a pure pleasure, but when you have to cycle up...



26.



27.

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Old July 25th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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28.



29.



30. Rotušes square - the central square of Vilnius. Nice place to enjoy the evening. Just... whenever I am in Vilnius, they are reconstructing cobblestone around that fountain...



31. Another tourists. Vilnius seemed mostly German tourist-occupied, also Polish language is heard.



32. Old Town itself is cosy hideout with low-floor historical houses, winding streets



33. Next to Old Town (Senamiestis) there is a New town or Naujamiestis. It's offering a bit of typical perimetrical historical city of 19th/20th Century as well + of course, hills!



34. Tauro hill (in Naujamiestis) is another great place to enjoy city's panorama, many locals hang out here. More photos from this spot will follow.

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Old July 25th, 2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Great, very nice photos from Vilnius
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Old July 25th, 2013, 11:24 PM   #6
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Great photos Vecais.

You are right about driving culture. I had a pleasure after few years to try it myself. I was driving just a bit over 50km/h on a 2x1 lane street when some bloke started beeping and overtaking showing his fist. The speed limit was 50km/h.

I am not surprised about poor road quality either, knowing that Vilnius city municipality is in huge debt. Actually they have already exceeded their debt limit. Vilnius budget is about twice smaller as those of Tallinn or Riga and it's because 60% of potential income goes to country's budged and being spread around the provinces. Situation will change in the upcoming years gradually increasing income from current 40% to 60%. Hopefully that enable city not to payout some dept but also upgrade roads and pavements which are in terrible condition even in some places in oldtown.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 08:12 PM   #7
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35. Views from Tauro hill



36.



37.



38. Are they going to finish or demolish that eyesore?



39.



40. That's how many Vilnians lives - enjoying the setting sun rays over the city from their highrise apartment windows. But do they appreciate this blessing themselves?



41.



42. Lithuania Philharmonia - place where to attend symphonic concerts. Hard to find a good angle of the building, an underground car parking should be built here



43.

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Last edited by Vecais Sakarnis; July 26th, 2013 at 08:21 PM.
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Old July 26th, 2013, 10:02 PM   #8
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great shots!
one question, which is the best Baltic's city?
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Old July 26th, 2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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There is no best of.... I've found Tallin is the most beautiful, Riga the most kosmopolitan and Vilnius the most relaxed capital. Other cities: Klaipeda has got a great natural setting. Tartu is nice but too small, Narva too gritty but it has a unique castle.

Lovely high quality shots here!
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Old July 26th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmix96 View Post
great shots!
one question, which is the best Baltic's city?
I haven't been in Vilnius. Of Tallinn and Riga, I think the latter is the best. Tallinn is pretty boring with the exception of its old town.
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Old July 28th, 2013, 01:46 PM   #11
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Great pics, I really like the skyline pictures with a mixture of old and new buildings making a cool looking cityscape
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Old July 28th, 2013, 02:38 PM   #12
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Wow, Vilnius is the least known of the Baltic capitals, but it certainly is very beautiful. The hilly setting is amazing! It's also very green in summer.
The city might have some financial problems, but I can't see it in the pictures. Everything looks very clean and well-maintained. The reality might be different of course.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 04:29 PM   #13
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44. Some inner yards in Old Town



45.



46.



47.



48. Some views from another view point we accidentaly stumbled upon. It was next to some modern appartment project in Naujamiestis - lovely place to live with such views over Senamiestis.



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52. Old Town's streets again



53.



54. Family on bicycles in Naujamiestis



55.

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Old July 30th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #14
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Picutre number 51- Illuminati sign instead of cross
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Old July 31st, 2013, 08:06 PM   #15
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Incredible pictures and city...
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Old August 15th, 2013, 02:55 AM   #16
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Time to continue as there are many more photos from Vilnius

57. Night skylines



58.



59. New Town



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62. Notice dog!



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69. And Old Town



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Old September 27th, 2013, 12:02 AM   #17
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76. The already mentioned Pūčkoriu outcrop - a beautiful nature scenery just 10 km from Vilnius centre, inside the city proper! This place is comparable with Sigulda and Gauja river valley, but to reach that place, you have to go 50 km from Riga centre.



77.



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83. Those lucky bastards who lives there...



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Old September 29th, 2013, 02:14 AM   #18
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91.



92. Highway next to Pūčkoriu outcrop, leading towards outside Vilnius



93. Here you see how Lithuanians "respect" traffic regulations But here I'm with them - if the municipality has been dumb enough to not to establish U-turn place at so notorious tourism place, then the people have to make it themselves. Of course, I used it too, in order to go back to central areas of the city...



94. Next sightseeing place. This one offers even wider sceneries overlooking all Vilnius. It's the highest hill in the city, Laimis hill - some 238 metres, if I remember right



95. Laimis hill is completely deserted in the summer - seems it's much more popular in winter when there is a skiing track



96. Only this guy came to rest at the top of the hill...



97. OK, OK - the views themselves!



98.



99. Outskirts of the city, just down below the hill



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105.



106. Commieblock ocean!

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Old September 30th, 2013, 12:27 AM   #19
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127. From Pūčkoriu outcrop, forgot to add this lovely couple... There was a wedding processy, taking photo session there



128.

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Old September 30th, 2013, 12:29 AM   #20
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107. Power plant in far western outskirts



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116. Forest massives in eastern part. The "lungs" of the city



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121. Some other outskirts, or rather nearby villages, in Eastern/South-Eastern part



122. The hill of dump. Apparently the city's main waste disposal site there



123. Industrial & warehouse areas



124. Airport runway at the background



125. Vilnius airport itself



126. Airplanes happen to fly not too high above Laimis hill, as they are approaching Vilnius airport

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