18 Sept. - It was already getting late when we crossed the border to Lithuania. We ended up staying in a somewhat strange motel. Take a good look at this double bed:
The sheets are barely wide enough for a single bed. We were to discover a similar thing in another hotel, where the sheets were too short. Material must still be in short supply here. The decor was also interesting, with lots of pinups - framed paintings, not out of magazines. In the evening we made an interesting acquaintance. A couple were sitting at a table not far from us. After w while the woman left in a taxi. The man later talked to us and said that his wife had left him then and there and so he had to stay the night in this motel. I guess she must have had a reason... He tried all evening to make a move on a very young waitress, which she seemed to find embarassing. He also insisted on paying dinner for us and that we had to drink vodka with him. He couldn't understand when I refused, citing illness.
Looking at some of the buildings and farms I got the impression that Lithuania is somewhat poorer than the other two Baltic countries. We quickly moved on to Vilnius where we picked a hotel in a sports complex, a little way from the centre. We stopped at a monastery (closed) and when this horse cart went by the horse didn't like the looks of us and shied. The driver applied the brakes, but the horse pulled the cart on anyway, with locked-up wheels.
Here is a panorama Jenny took:
One of the suburbs seems to have started its own republic:
We made a small detour to visit an interesting looking water castle. In the village nearby we had another strange encounter. For a moment I thought I was in the wrong movie: some men in black escorted a young man to his (very ordinary) car, looked around, just like they do in your average low-quality Hollywood movie, the guy got in and drove off. Then men rushed to their car and sped after him.
We met these guys again on the castle bridge and here you can see them again. They looked as hard at us as we looked curiously at them.
We had a peek into the castle yard, but didn't go in any further, seeing what they did to some visitors.
Instead, we had a walk around part of the lake and the village nearby.
This is what these wooden houses look like underneath the cladding. They still build them like that, this is a new one:
For many farmers nothing much seems to have changed over the centuries.
On a dirt road somewhere near the Polish border we hit a patch of sand and Jenny hit the deck. The only damage was a bent pannier frame, so no further problems.