Biking the Baltics

First, the good news. After writing that last post — the one where I found out that Air Baltic had lost the bag containing all of my non-diabetic belongings for a second time, I fell into a restless sleep, full of dreams of luggage and frustration. I really thought the bag was gone. But then, surprise of surprises, I awoke in the morning to find an email from the Vilnius airport saying that my baggage had arrived. No mention of what might have happened to it in the 24 hours since last it was seen — but whatever. By lunch time, I had new pants.

I also had my biking clothes, which meant that we were finally free to set off on the next stage of our adventure: biking to Estonia. I should probably point out here that this is not the first long-distance bike ride I’ve done — after college, I biked from Connecticut to San Francisco with a bunch of college friends. But there are several important differences between that trip and this one. First, it was ten years ago. Second, we had a support van — which meant not only that we didn’t have to carry our own luggage, but that on the days when I didn’t want to bike, I could get a ride. Third, we knew where we were going. And fourth, we had a place to sleep at night.

This trip? Well, it’s a little different.

Hello, panniers! You weigh a lot!

We’re hauling our own luggage, to begin with, and aside from a stack of maps and (thankfully) a small GPS device, we have no idea where the hell we’re going. Oh, and also, everyone here speaks Lithuanian.

Nonetheless, we somehow managed to make our way to the lakeside town of Trakai, 25 or so kilometers from Vilnius (or 35 kilometers, if you take our route). There’s water everywhere you look, a beautiful castle, and lots of Lithuanian men in small bathing suits. We celebrated our arrival by going out for kibinas, crescent-shaped dough pockets that are similar in theory to a calzone, but come stuffed with ground meat and cabbage. This, combined with a national love of the potato, is not making Lithuania the most diabetically friendly country to visit.

Three of these were mine.

After dinner, we strolled along the river bank to check out the castle and, perhaps more importantly, to see what was going on with the two stretch-stretch-stretch-stretch white SUVs that had passed us as we ate. Turns out it was a wedding — as evidenced by a group of flouncily dressed young women who responded to Peter’s request that “Everyone, get together!” not by shooing away the creepy foreign guy, but by posing for a photo.

My outfit didn't quite match.

So here we are, at the edge of a Lithuanian lake, with tired thighs, sore butts, and a hell of a long way to go. Stay tuned.

The Trakai castle

"Catherine! Make a shadow puppet!"

Not bad.

Totally unrelated shot of a woman in Vilnius who makes handmade wedding sashes.

Very cool.

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