It’s been almost three months since I went to Lithuania for my friend Nate’s wedding. I’m not sure how that’s possible, yet here we are in October, my favorite month. I swear it feels like just last week that I was subsisting on all things pickled with the ever-curious bright pink beat soup the only respite. Here’s how three weeks in Eastern Europe went down.
A Bit of Background
Nate is a friend of mine from home. (Fun fact: we were born on the same day.) His little sister, Amy, is my little sister’s best friend. Nate, who’s a History professor complete with requisite glasses and beard, fell in love with Lina, a Lithuanian researcher at his University. The two of them held a traditional Lithuanian wedding on July 31st and a handful of us flew over there to cheer him on. (Woot!)
From the minute I arrived in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, it was clear that this country was gonna make me work for it. With no one speaking a lick of English at the airport (um, shit?) and zero signs to point me toward a downtown bus, I was lucky an Irish business traveler took pity on me. He must have noticed me pacing back and forth in a jetlagged daze, saddled with my 5-ton backpack.
“This country will drive ya mad with disorganization, you know,” he explained in his darling accent. “But if you’re looking for rich history and breathtaking countryside, you’ve come to the right place.” And with that, he pretty much threw me on the bus, paying for my ticket since buying one would have been a multi-step process requiring small bills, native language skills and at least 10mg of Valium.
Eventually I made it to the hotel and found Nate alone in his room, cursing in a pool of sweat. “It’s so effing hot in this hotel, I’m gonna kill someone. Why don’t you get yourself together and we’ll grab some food and beers? Lina’s at her dad’s house for the night, but Amy and Ryan are here…and starving. Let’s get the hell outa here.”