Welcome to my travel log documenting three weeks of wandering through baltic countries. Namely Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus.
My reasons to visit Baltics and Belarus
Baltic countries were on my bucket list for a long time. Ever since I watched Travelbum’s Riga episode on Youtube.
Travebum’s Riga episode
His video showed me an unknown country with exceptionally beautiful girls. That has unique looks thanks to the mix of Nordic and Russian genes. Video also showcased how locals scam tourists there. I got curious and had to see it for myself.
Initially, I was not even thinking about visiting Baltic countries this year. But when I got back from Ukraine, I got what they call a post-travel depression. So I searched for the cure on the internet and the most frequent advice was to plan for the next trip.
European Games 2019
Additionally, I met two Bulgarian girls in Kyiv. And both will coincidentally volunteer at the European games 2019 in Minsk.
I heard about European games for the first time last year and planned to go this year. The reason is no visa program rule for European game visitors.
Belarus is also conveniently located south of all three Baltic countries. And all are on my bucket list. I took it as a sign from above, that I should visit Belarus.
So I spent almost all my free vacation days. And booked a one-way ticket to Tallinn and a return ticket from Minsk back to Prague. The idea was to travel from the North down to the South.
I went unprepared and even started packing just four hours before the flight. It was crazy stressful, but I didn’t care.
The fewer plans you make in advance, the more freedom you enjoy during travels. You are forced to make decisions on the spot. Depending on the mood, weather, people you meet, and the vibe of the town you visit.
Total absolute freedom is one of the biggest benefits of solo traveling. I don’t need to lead and have a responsibility for the group of people. It is just myself and my desires.
All I needed to know in advance was the starting date, ending date, and the European games opening ceremonial date. Any other variables were a subject for change.
Four days in Estonia
How to get to Tallinn
I got there by connecting flight from Riga. I flew with a low-cost air company Air baltic. It is so low cost you have to pay for coffee or water. On the other hand, they have nice new airplanes.
Riga is something like a flight hub, so there are a lot of connecting flights. I was afraid that 25 minutes for transfer won’t be enough but don’t worry. Rigas airport is really small and you just run from one gate to another across the hall.
Tallinn airport is even smaller. You will be out of the airport in less than 10 minutes. What surprised me was the cleanliness. It looked like a brand new.
I booked a hostel in the old town before departure. The best way to the city center from the airport is to take a tram.
Trams are also super new and are featured with the contactless ticket counter. You can either buy a ticket from the driver for 2 euros or online for 1 euro. It’s not cheap for one ride.
Online tickets will be sent by mail with a pdf with a QR code inside. I couldn’t figure out yet how to use an online ticket. There is no QR code scanner in the tram. So I just rode without a ticket.
First impression from Tallinn
The first impression from Tallinn is that its a modern, relaxed city with a small old town. People are not super friendly, but I didn’t have a chance to talk with many Estonians.
Estonians are a mix of Russians and Fins. Russians look though and Fins are standoffish and very closed to strangers. That was my impression too.
It didn’t help that Tallinn is so crowded with tourists. I saw more tourists in Tallinn than in Kyiv. Many groups from England, Finland, and Asia.
Thanks to this fact, locals are very reserved and I didn’t have that exotic factor like in Moldova. It was hard to make the initial approach. Every time I made eye contact, girls quickly looked at another direction or were not looking at all.
Being in the north girls are taller than usual, not taller in major like in Czech but taller than me. The height factor didn’t help.
Another observation is the percentage of fat girls. Which is high and I am not sure if they were British girls or locals. I got eyes from fatties, but that is not for me.
Food in Tallinn is not special. I tried a local medieval restaurant where you get the whole menu with big ox ribs for 22 euros. And it was good, but I could not find any local restaurant where locals go. All places are built for tourists.
Even the best-recommended restaurant has mainly Italian pasta, which cost 25 euros. I was used to the cheap price in Kyiv and this was a little shock.
Fortunately, there are local supermarkets like Rimi. And they have a hot and cold buffet with food I like.
So for 6,5euro a kg you can get steamed pork or grilled chicken. And then from cold buffet mix baby tomatoes with boiled eggs and mozzarella balls.
My whole lunch was exactly 6,7 euros and I was full until evening. It was also very tasty. There is also McDonald’s but I didn’t try on days one and two.
Tallinn Day 1 – Landing and check-in
I landed at Tallinn airport, went outside, and then took a tram to the city center. Tallinn airport is compact, small, and tourist-friendly. There were directions signs everywhere, so it was easy to navigate myself around.
Getting around Tallinn is easy too. The whole city is connected with trams and bus lines. The most important bus line you should remember is A1. It goes from the city center to the nearest beach.
To use public transportation, you need to buy tickets, that can be bought from the driver or on the internet. Buying tickets online is 50% cheaper, so it is a preferable option. After purchasing, the ticket will be sent by mail with a QR code attached.
It is embarrassing, but I could not figure out, how to scan QR codes inside trams. So I was riding without a ticket all the time.
Since Tallinn is so small. I walked only for a few minutes until I found my hostel, Euphoria, that is close to Freedom Square. A place that intersects old town and new town. I noticed a lot of girls are commuting alone. Too bad they always seem busy and unapproachable.
I booked a bunk bed in a 10-bed dormitory room. Fortunately, the bed above me was unoccupied during my stay. So I didn’t have to share whatever any space I had around.
In the hostel, I was welcomed by a cute brunette. Who I think was not an Estonian, but a Spanish due to her dark features and her happy mood. It is because Estonians never smile.
Once checked in, I took a nap because I was tired of having to wake up early in the morning. Somehow I overslept and forgot I wanted to go out that night. The live concert at the hostel kept me half awake, but my body needed a rest.
Tallinn Day 2 – A free walking tour
The next day I was set to do as much as I can because I lost half a day sleeping. I woke up early, made a free coffee, and went out.
I went to independence square. Took some handstand pictures and continued further to the city center. As I went by the nearby pizzeria, I got approached by a boy offering a slice of pizza for free.
This was the first time I interacted with an Estonian. I tried to ask questions on pizza variations, but he seemed shy. Are all Estonian introverted? Anyway, I grabbed a slice and thanked him.
When I am going solo, the first thing on my checklist is to attend a free walking tour. There was one starting at 11 am in front of the local tourist center.
There was already a big group of tourists gathered around the tour guide, a tall fat Estonian guy. Contradicting to common Estonian stereotypes, he made fun of himself and Estonian culture. This was one of the best free walking tours I have ever attended.
Tallinn is a compact city with a historic city center that can be explored in a day if you are alone. With a tour guide, you will see all the sightseeing spots in less than an hour. Then it is up to your imagination what to do for the rest of the day.
I thought about joining someone from the group. There was a girl from Brazil, who seemed cool. But I was not feeling comfortable around strangers yet, so I didn’t take any action. Some Indian dude living in Germany took the opportunity and stuck with her the whole tour.
There was also a shy Chinese girl, who was far below my standards. But I exchanged a few words with her just to get warmed up and get comfortable around strangers.
After the tour, I was clueless about what to do next. It was close to 2 pm and I was hungry, so I wandered around the main square, trying to find a cheap restaurant. I noticed there are no fast-food chains and that all restaurants are quite expensive. The usual price for the meal and drink averaged around 30 EUR.
Eventually, I settled for traditional medieval Estonian cuisine. A BBQ beef ribs, a deer soup, and an unlimited amount of marinated cucumbers for 25 EUR. Portions were small, but the fat and protein boosted my energy level and helped me to survive the rest of the day.
Before ordering the meal, I saw a Chinese girl with another woman from the free walking tour. I approached them and asked if they want to join me at my table.
An older Chinese woman cock-blocked me by half-jokingly saying, “Oh, so you are following us”. I didn’t expect such hostility and was starving at the same time, so I left them alone and ordered my food.
After lunch, I walked through pretty every sightseeing spot one more time. Until I was truly clueless about what to do for the next two days. I already booked 3 nights in Tallinn and I already saw everything.
Fortunately, Tallinn has its beach. The weather was supposed to be nice until the evening and I still had half a day left. So I found the bus line that goes directly to the beach.
In the meantime, I stopped by the Rimi, a local supermarket chain, to get some snacks. There I made the greatest discovery of my whole trip. I found out they have a meat and salad bar with grilled chicken legs, pork steaks, and fresh veggies like olives, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella.
First, I don’t have to spend money at expensive restaurants or eat unprocessed foods and pastries. Second, it will be much cheaper in terms of protein intake and vitamins per gram. Thirds, it is damn tasty to eat fresh vegetables and meat. Fourth portions are weighted, so I have total control over the size and price of the meal.
At the beach, I went straight to the street workout park. I did a few handstand photos followed by a front lever workout routine. Then I walked back and forth exploring the whole beach. I saw a lot of families hanging out and swimming in the sea. The sun was burning, but the water was too cold for my taste. I guess living up North makes them all accustomed to cold water from an early age.
About three hours later I saw some dark clouds, so I returned to my hostel. I bought dinner at Rimi and spent the rest of the day browsing the internet. I didn’t feel like going solo clubbing that night.
Tallinn Day 3 – A beach day with Yumiko
The third day in Tallinn and I was already bored with the city. Luckily, I was in contact with a Japanese girl I met on the plane to Riga.
She planned to visit Helsinki first, spend there a few days, and then visit Tallinn afterward. Then she would like to go to Riga, Vilnius, and end her journey in Minsk. We had practically the same route, but with different timeframes.
Later I found out she just finished her political studies at a Czech university. And she wanted to travel around Europe for two weeks before returning to Japan.
Today was the day she was supposed to land in Tallinn, so we agreed to meet each other once she settles in. We set a date at noon near the Main square shortly after she gets her Visa from the Belarus embassy in Tallinn.
I didn’t remember much how she looked like on the airplane, but once we met again, I was sure she is a keeper. She is kinda short, cute, kind, and a little shy. There are not many girls, who are still feminine and have a positive overview of the world.
I took it slow and just talk about anything, that came to my mind. As this was her first time in Tallinn, I took the opportunity. And led her through the free walking tour route I went to yesterday. She enjoyed it.
After we walked through all the sightseeing spots, I suggested visiting the beach. At the beach, we walked and talked like long term friends. We connected on so many levels, be it life outlook, food, or health.
It was the moment I realized I like this girl for what she is. I think I gained enough comfort to make a move. But sadly I didn’t take any action, even though we sat close together on the bench watching the sunset. Next time, I will hold her hand after executing my palm reading routine.
One thing, that I questioned a lot was her carelessness. Even though is 24 years old, she has no life plans whatsoever. She just wanted to enjoy life before committing to never-ending wage slavery.
In Japan, salary is so high, no one chooses an alternative life path. Sacrifice your productive life and retire wealthy at the age of 60. But only if you forget the option of having children. Then you can travel the world.
Postponing life is the number one reason, why you see so many Chinese and Japanese pensioners in every major tourist destination.
They travel from place to place, never staying in any destination for longer than a few hours. Spend most of the time on the bus. Hop off to take a quick shot and continue to the next city. At this age, there is energy left to travel on their own.
Being dragged by a travel agency, because of the old age is my worst nightmare. This is not the life I want to live in. Traveling is the most rewarding while being young.
Even now at the age of thirty-three, I am sometimes exhausted. And have to push me to go solo clubbing or meet new people on the streets.
Anyway, after returning from the beach, we went to Rimi to buy raw salmon and some pastries. Went back to her hostel and eat dinner together. She was already half sleeping and her eyes begged me to let her rest. She slept only three hours last night and plan to leave Tallinn the next day morning, so I didn’t escalate.
The clock showed 11 pm and for the first time, I noticed there was still daylight outside. It messed with my sleep cycle a bit, but having almost 20-hour long days is a good trade-off.
Tallinn Day 4 – A Helsinki detour
The fourth day in Tallinn was full of surprises. I forgot to mention, that I shared a room with an awkward dutch girl, who didn’t even say hello the first time we met.
But I think she liked me, because, on the third day, she even started a conversation. But she ejected herself after a few words. From what she told me, she was a barely legal girl, who recently graduated from high school.
After seeing many backpackers in her village, she decided to go on the adventure herself. Starting in Sweden, passing Finland, and finally ending in Tallinn. Her ultimate goal was to reach Romania.
I think I could have a chance if I physically escalated properly. But she was not my type and her awkward way of speaking and abnormal height put me off.
Meet Japanese lady
The second girl in the room worth mentioning was a Japanese lady. She reminded me of one of my exes if she aged 10 years into the future. But had a really good body for her age though.
She gave me a blank stare we first met, so I was not sure if I somehow offended her by saying Hello. On the third day though. She hijacked into a conversation when I was telling a dutch girl, that I plan to go to Helsinki by ferry. She had the same idea in mind.
I saw this as an opportunity and invited her to join me. She said yes so I knew she is interested and is not afraid to follow another stranger.
A passport situation
The next morning, we went to the ferry terminal. At the counter, she realizes she left her passport at the hostel. It is a no brainer, that you need a passport to cross borders.
The next ferry was in one hour and a half, just enough time to go back and forth. She panicked and wanted to go back to the hostel alone.
I called it bull***t because the hostel was not that far and we could make it within half an hour. I insisted, that she should buy her ticket now as a passport is not needed yet. She tried to eject multiple times and even managed to almost run away, but I persisted. She eventually agreed and everything went smoothly as I planned.
We successfully obtained her passport at the hostel. And rushed back to the marine port with enough time left. We also made a detour to Rimi to buy some fresh food. I bought my favorite meal: chicken breasts, pork steak and a bowl of salad, olives and shrimps and eggs.
After we successfully got her password and on-boarded to the ferry, she became more relaxed and started to open herself. I saw how happy she was, that we made it. From that point onward, she listened to me closely and followed my lead.
Revealing her true age
When she submitted her passport, I glanced over and noticed her birth date. I was a bit shocked, that she was 14 years older than me. By looking at her thin legs and tight hips I thought she is at most in her late thirties.
She is from Japan and she plans to stay in Estonia for 1 month. Her main goal is to apply for an e-residency program. Foreigners can get a short-term residency when they incorporate a company in Estonia.
The reasons are more than obvious. Estonia is in Eurozone. So anyone with a residency permit can stay in Europe for unlimited time without dealing with visa issues.
In the past, she moved from Japan to Germany to learn English, which is not a usual move for Japanese. She studied there and worked for a few years, so it is understandable, that she wants to stay in Europe.
All the paperwork for incorporation has to be finished in a month. Else she has to move to another country, that does not require a visa and try the whole process again.
She didn’t mention what kind of business she wants to incorporate. Just an online business offering services for Japanese customers. Once she can allow herself to hire an employee, she will also expand to the worldwide market.
That is why she was stressed all the time. She is not rich and her future depends on so many unknown variables. Like will she gets the visa, will her business take off.
At her age, most women would settle down with some providers and get a stable office job. Not her, she decided to hustle, live in a foreign country, and fight for her future. I admired her for that.
My first time on the cruise ferry
Anyway, this was the first I traveled on a five-star cruise. It had multiple floors with cabins, restaurants, casinos, and other amenities. I cannot imagine spending more than a few days on a cruise like this.
Once on-boarded, we found a place to sit and started eating. I was so hungry, it was almost noon and I haven’t eaten anything besides coffee.
After lunch, we went to the upper deck with a helicopter pad and a bar. It is a place where all passengers hang out. People were sitting around, mingling, drinking, and watching ocean waves.
There we sat down and talk about random stuff. We connected on a deeper level. So I carefully escalated and she covertly accepted my bold moves.
Go to the jacuzzi together
It was so hot outside. Even with nordic winds blowing through, I suggested to go inside and check the sauna and jacuzzi. The entrance costs only 10 EUR. She agreed.
While I brought my swimming suit, she did not. Because she thought I was joking that if we go to the sauna in Helsinki, then we will go in naked.
The sauna was gender-segregated so I got bored very quickly. And went to a shared area with a jacuzzi and swimming pool. She was not there yet so I camped myself in one of the jacuzzi pools.
After a while, she came into her underwear and joined me. That got me excited, but she sat across me, so I took it as a signal, that there is not enough comfort yet.
I tried to get closer and closer while joking around and using every opportunity to touch her. Are they interested, when they let you be touchy-feely while being passive? Japanese cougars are a really hard nut to crack.
One hour later we got dressed and went back to the upper deck. There, I noticed she had a wet ass. I toucher her ass just to make sure, she has not peed herself. It was not the case. Instead, I realized had a tight ass for her age. In defense, she admitted, that she didn’t bring any swimming suit and was in fact in her underwear all the time.
Fins and booze
Another thing I noticed by watching the crowd on the upper deck was that Finns smuggles a lot of booze bought in Estonia. There was a guy with a beautiful Finn girl and he guarded 3 palettes of beer boxes and liquors. Now imagine how much more he could make if he smuggled cheaper booze from Russia and if he went by car.
Getting around Helsinki
After the ferry docked at the port, we took a tram to the city center, which was about 3 km far away. Public transportation Helsinki is cheap, modern, and dependable. One way ticket costs us about Euro fifty.
Helsinki Samba festival
As we got closer to the city center I was amazed to see a street parade with half-naked girls dancing to Latin beats. I expected Helsinki to be a boring city, but experiencing the Samba festival proved me wrong.
When I saw the crowd with many beautiful Finn girls around, I started to suffer from grass is greener syndrome. It always happens when I have a certain amount of comfort with any girl and I know for sure that she likes me.
She distanced herself after sensing, that I am neglecting her for much younger girls. So I quickly took a few last shots of half-naked dancers and moved on to the first point of interest.
By going further from the parade, I started to appreciate Helsinki’s unique characteristics. First, it is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever visited. Second, Helsinki has to have one of the best quality of life in Europe.
I just got that impression from the high number of cafes, grocery stores, and high-end boutiques concentrated in the city center. Finns also seemed to be happy and chill, but maybe they are that way only a few days a year during summer.
A short beer stop
We walked through all the points of interest you see on the map. At one point we were so thirsty we had stopped at a local restaurant to have a drink. Beer was crazy expensive, but it was worth it. The restaurant was located on an island and we had a nice view of the sea. Once we saw a coming thunderstorm we took it as an excuse to leave.
We then walked around the lake, which is a super nice place to chill. So far she was following my lead. But she wanted to see something by herself too. We found that place, but instead of the church itself, there was only a foundation of it. They never finished the church for some unknown reasons.
So we took a break and sit on the top of the foundations. There she revealed even more about herself, her life in Japan. That she is divorced and without children. This was the best moment to escalate further and kiss her.
Going back to Tallinn
Anyway, it was time to return to the port. We were tight on time but luckily made it before the last call. I was so happy to be on-boarded.
We found a nice spot on the upper deck and sat together in total silence while watching the sunset. This was the moment she became that little girl again. The scenery reminded her of the best memories of her childhood. For the remaining time, we rested in the lounge area until we sailed back to Tallinn.
Tartu Day 1 – Shortstop at Tartu
The next day, I quietly packed my stuff, said goodbye to her, and ran to the bus station. I saw in her puppy dog eyes the sadness like she lost something very dear, but there was no time to get emotional.
Those first five days were pretty intense. And thanks to both Japanese acquittances, I felt on the top of the world and was ready for the next adventure.
My next stop was Tartu, a college town and the second-largest city in Estonia. Tartu was just a 2-hour drive by bus. Initially, I was not sure if I wanted to stay overnight there, soo I didn’t book any accommodation.
Once I arrived at the bus station, I had trouble finding a luggage room. I went back and forth for quite a while until I noticed a small sign on the doors saying, that today is a holiday. Being tired and fed up from dragging my bag around, I bought an evening ticket to Riga.
Going to an upside-down house
The plan was to put my bag at Tartu City hall and then visit the main attraction there, the Upsidedown house. I was obsessed with the idea of taking a one arm handstand picture. I knew it would be so cool and easy to do thanks to optical illusion and gravity.
At the City Hall, I was welcomed by a very beautiful Estonian girl behind the counter, who showed crazy indicators of interests. We joked a bit and had a great interaction together. She even mentioned I would have to stay overnight if I don’t manage to come for my bag in time. She was so pretty, I almost regretted buying a ticket to Riga already.
Freed from any baggage, I went to find a means of public transport to an upside-down house. That is located 3 km away from the city center. I lost half an hour asking around and waiting at the wrong bus stops. Because google maps gave me the wrong suggestions.
Even locals didn’t know, how to get there by public transport. One girl, that I asked direction, was so embarrassed, she said sorry 100 times for not being able to help me.
As a last resort, I had to find free wifi and called an Uber. The driver was really friendly and recommended me to stay for longer. And explore the city with an electric bike, that can be rented for free. Well, too late.
The ticket to the upside-down house cost about 10 Euros, which is on the more expensive side, but it was worth it. It is called upside down because the whole house is by definition built upside down. The illusion is achieved by gluing the furniture to the ceiling.
House alone had two floors and multiple distinctively themed rooms. Like a common room, bedroom, children’s room, etc. Most of the items and the furniture were not real, but a replica. It makes sense from a safety and practical perspective to glue a replica, instead of a real object like a 500Kg heavy sofa on the ceiling.
Shooting one arm handstand
I was worried about taking photos of myself alone, but I managed to do it with tripod and patience. I had great fun doing one arm handstand pictures. It took probably 25 tries to nail the right angle and timing.
There was one Russian family, who were amused by my one arm handstand attempts. They even lend me their VR glasses, which usually costs 5 EUR to borrow. Those glasses have lenses, that inverts everything you see by 90 degrees.
It is almost impossible to walk straight because you see a wall in front of you, but in reality, it is a floor. Some people might get nauseous and disoriented, but it was fun.
Anyway, I left the upside-down house and hurried back to the City hall to get my luggage. This time, I couldn’t call an Uber, because I didn’t any mobile connection. Luckily, City Hall was only 2,5 km far away, so I could just speed walk back.
Meet Lisa from St. Petersburg
Outside the house, I saw a cute girl rushing down the street. Since I had so much fun and was in a good mood, I took an action and caught up with her.
I shouted, “Hey wait”. She stopped, looked at me, and calmly replied “Yea?”. I asked her what is the fastest way to reach the city center with public transportation. She said she had no idea because she is new in town.
Since we went in the same direction, I offered to join her on her journey. After adrenaline from the hasty approach wore off, I noticed she was exceptionally beautiful. She was a shorter brunette with a slim figure and a soft calm voice. Her name was Lisa. a Russian anthropology student, who is visiting Tartu to make a presentation at the local University.
I was shocked by her English prowess and beauty and started mumbling. She was cool about it and we had an overall nice conversation. Her calmness made the whole interaction very formal though.
After half an hour, I invited her to an instant date, but she needed to find ATM first. Since I had to go to the bus station, we said goodbye to each other.
There was an awkward moment when she was looking at me in total silence. That was the cue to exchange contacts, but I blew it by ejected myself. I think she would be a perfect tour guide if I ever visited St. Petersburg.
A vegan protest
After leaving City hall with my bag, I saw a group of young activists wearing Guy Fawkes Anonymous masks. And standing in the middle of the square. One of them was holding a laptop, that showed an infinitely looping obscure video.
So I asked what is it all about and they pointed me to a mask-less group lead, who was standing by. She told me they are fighting against meat-eating. And they do that by showing a raw, uncut video from a pig farm to the public. It was really interesting to hear about their motives and life beliefs.
They are all vegans, skinny, and determined to change the world. Kudos to them, but I think they should not underestimate proper nutrition. Or they will hinder their growth potential.
I left the group speechless. They will have a tough life and will, later on, realize the big mistake they made, especially girls.
I still had a few minutes left, so I sat on the bench and watched local life. I immediately felt the ever-present calmness. Tartu would be a great retreat for writers, who seek solitude. And who wants to sit all day long in hipster cafes and work on their best sellers.
Also, the number of beautiful girls passing by was extraordinary. Too bad they were all too tall for me. As I later found out, they all want to date basketball players.
Before going to the bus station, I visited the grocery store to buy cheese. At the check-out counter, I noticed a sign that prohibits selling alcohol after 9 pm.
I was curious, so I started a convo with a random girl in the queue, a student from Kazakhstan studying in Tartu. She told me this is normal. Maybe that’s why the city is so calm. Drinking outside is not something locals normally do.
Finally, I reached the bus station and was, in the end, glad, that I am going to Latvia.
One week in Latvia
Riga Day 1 – Check-in
After arriving in Riga, I went directly to my hostel, Naughty Squirrel. The hostel is presented as a party hostel and is designed with PG-18 decorations. Don’t be surprised to see a sketch on a toilet door displaying a raw dogging couple.
Also during check-in, you will be welcomed with a warm welcome drink. You might choose either a Riga Black Balsam with original herbal flavor or Riga Blue Balsam with sweeter blackberry flavor. I chose the latter. I cannot imagine a better way to kickstart your Riga adventure.
Since it was already evening, I went out to find Rimi Supermarket to get my dinner. Luckily, there was one in a close walking distance. After the meal, I rested in my room to be fresh for the next day.
Riga Day 2 – A free walking tour
For the second day in Riga, I set a very simple plan. Go to a free walking tour in the morning and then visit the nearest beach town, Jurmala.
Annoyed tour guide
A free walking tour was guided by a young Latvian redhead. Whose English was not on par with her Estonian colleague. She talked in very simple terms, but since the walking tour is free, I cannot complain.
We went through all the major sightseeing places in Riga. Nothing spectacular stood out. Maybe the only place worth mentioning was the local marketplace. Placed in a huge hangar, that was used as repair shops for combat airships like Zeppelin.
During the tour, I asked her about housing prices in Riga. And she got annoyed and told me to lookup on the internet.
That made me think, that I stroked a chord. Latvia is the poorest country among the Baltic states. And there is a huge discrepancy between living costs and average wages. While common employees get paid 400 USD a month, it is not enough for a single person to cover rent and food.
Most people, therefore, have to live together. This girl particularly was lucky to have a boyfriend (bummer), that owns his apartment. Latvian girls similarly to Russian girls have to be extremely resourceful to lock down a reliable provider.
One reason might be, that Latvia is an FSU country. And typically for socialistic societies in the past, apartments were built by the central government. And given to citizens for free depending on their social value.
But after the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of capitalism and free economy, there was a shortage of new apartments. And people who were born into a new era had to hustle hard to get their apartment, like me.
After the tour, I explored local parks, which are btw. quite nice places to hang out. I made my handstand shots at freedom square and returned to Rimi near the hostel to get lunch.
Chinese guy working in private equity
At the hostel, I met a Chinese guy in the kitchen, who was working hard on his laptop. I started a convo and found out, that this guy lives in London. And works for a Private Equity fund, that invests in rental apartments.
What an interesting encounter! I would never expect to see a private equity professional working from a hostel’s kitchen. He told me, that he is not on a vacation. Due to the lack of any ongoing project in the UK, he decided to make a trip to Riga and work from here. After all, crunching reporting numbers can be done remotely from any place in the world.
Then he willingly explained how the private equity business in the UK works. All the money comes from the Chinese capital fund, which focuses on the UK market. Because investments are generally restricted in China.
Their core business is to look for undervalued properties located near universities. Buy them, rehab them and in the end lease them to students. The profit lies in government-subsidized tax incentives. If the property is leased to students.
Student apartments also have a higher yield on a square meter. Rents in the UK are so high, most students have no other option than to share a bedroom with someone else.
There is also a lower credit risk because the living expenses are usually funded by rich parents. Payments come in time and no one will risk the eviction.
Finally, foreign students have many needs, that are not fulfilled by publicly available services. Therefore they can fill the gap, make a cross-sell, and bank additional profits.
One example is the need to send a foreign payment from Chinese currency to GBP. Bank fees are so high someone had to create a black market with currency exchanges. Mind-blowing!
I was quite surprised, he was spilling his secret sauce on his own and I am very thankful for that. This encounter inspired me to look for my rental property myself.
A detour to Jurmala beach
After lunch, It was time to visit beach town Jurmala, which can be reached from Riga by a half an hour train ride. Every tour guide praises Jurmala as a prominent place, where rich Latvians go and spend their time in summer.
In reality, Jurmala was more or less empty. Maybe because June is still out of season, it was Tuesday and the weather was cloudy?
There is one 3 km long promenade surrounded by residential houses, souvenir shops, and forests. To my surprise, I could not find any fast food restaurant anywhere.
Anyway, unimpressed with the village, I decided to go to the beach and find a workout place. Jurmala beach is 25 km long, so it is not possible to go walk end to end in one day.
I strategically went south first. After 30 min of walking in the void, seeing nothing interesting, I made a u-turn and went up north.
The good thing about Jurmala beach is its smooth descent. It is possible to walk 1 km away from the shore and your upper body would still be above the water.
The bad thing is the water purity. Riga is placed inside the bay so all the dirt from the sea is gathered and kept inside. Imagine a lake, that is partially connected to the sea.
After 2 hours of walking north, I was so exhausted, I gave up the idea of walking to the end and went back. I was low on drinkable water and had only one pack of peanuts. Continuing would not be a wise decision.
On my way back, I finally found a beach workout park. Then I manage to do my push-pull routine just in time before it started to rain.
I quickly ran to the train station and was happy to leave Jurmala. There, I noticed a group of British tourists, who probably were on a bachelor trip.
They were dressed in bathrobes and carried a boombox, that played the most classic 80’s and 90’s songs. They had so much fun even the locals felt the vibe and danced with them. If I ever had a bachelor party. Then I would also travel to some remote beach town and spent a weekend partying like an animal.
Back in Riga, I bought dinner at Rimi and went to sleep. It was a long long day.
Riga Day 3 – A shooting range
The next day was much more interesting. I decided to cross another item from my bucket list and that is to visit a shooting range.
I planned to go there when we were in Ukraine, but we went to Chernobyl instead. Luckily, Naughty Squirrel hostel directly offered multiple shooting packages. Each having different guns for different prices.
I chose the most expensive one, called Rambo. It included multiple small ranged pistols, 2 shotguns, and 2 machine guns. For 60 EUR, you will get 6 bullets for each gun.
The business model is simple. Buy expensive guns, make money on cheap bullets. And because guns are highly regulated, there is a high barrier of entry. Therefore it is a nice stable business that you can run your whole life.
Negotiating shooting package
The receptionist told me I will be joining two guys from the hostel who also want to go. Coincidentally, one is a Chinese guy, who shares a room with me, but we didn’t talk to each other yet.
Since 60 EUR is a lot of money, I asked the guys if anyone wants to split the package with me. The receptionist girl refused to accept that idea, but I was persistent.
I understood she would get less commission on this sale. But I managed to get a Chinese guy on board, so she had to reluctantly
agree to ask the shooting range owner.
The place was a bit far from the hostel. We had to take a tram, that goes deep into Riga suburbs. At the shooting range, it took almost 25 minutes to get all the paperwork done. The longer I waited, the more I was excited.
Trying small range pistols
The excitement went quickly away after I tried to hold a real pistol for the first time in my life. I have to admit, It was a humbling experience and now I have big respect for the guns.
Even small range pistol kicks hardly. And it was almost impossible for me to hit the target, which was only 25 meters far.
The other guy in the group, a 19 years old student from the Netherlands, who served in the army for one year and a half as a medical assistant, hit the target every damn time. It was really impressive.
While small pistols are difficult to hold, shotguns and AK machine guns are different kinds of the beast. It was impossible not to miss the target.
Trying machine guns and shotguns
To hold machine guns, you use both hands for stabilization and aiming. By holding arm rifle against your right shoulders, you reduce recoil a lot.
Shotguns on other hand have such huge recoil, it is not possible to hold it still after firing. So you have to aim 15 degrees lower than your target, fire, and then do the best to control recoil.
If there would be a zombie apocalypse one day, shotguns would be my best bet. It is better to be prepared in advance than to be sorry. So, once I return to the Czech, I will get my gun license for sure.
After the shooting range, the receptionist took us to the pub. Because the package had one beer for free included. There, we had a chance to meet her Latvian friends. And for the first time, I met Latvians, who are not looking depressed. And was open to talking with foreigners.
But I still had the feeling, that they joined us for one beer out of obligation than curiosity. After the beer, we went back to the hostel.
Met another Chinese high honcho
There, I made plans with the Chinese guy for the evening. He seemed to be very well-traveled. He visited more than 180 countries so far and is a high honcho in some Chinese corporations.
Even lived a few years in Latin America and knows well both Spanish and salsa dancing. And according to him tonight, there should be a salsa party at a local Riga club.
As we were talking, a beautiful Estonian chick joined our room together with another girl from the Netherlands. She was very keen on going out tonight. So we told her to join us.
She joked that she will come late because she wants to visit her friend first. Later I found out, that she is a classic attention seeker, who likes to get as many orbiters as she can. Everywhere she goes.
In the evening, I was not feeling like socializing. So when I came to a common room with a mixed group of other hostel guests, I could not come out of my comfort zone.
The Chinese guy was talking to some German Dude. Girls were glued to some British jerks. This was not the right setting.
A salsa party
Anyway, I followed this Chinese guy and we went to the Cubana cafe in advance. The Club was pretty much empty, except for one couple sitting together in the corner of a dance floor. It was Estonian chick Anna from our room with her “friend”, a tall Latvian musician.
It was obvious they had a history together and therefore it was not worth pursuing her tonight. And I was right. She came back to the hostel sometime after 6 am.
As the club got more crowded a really beautiful Latvian chick sat next to us, smiling ear to ear. She even approaches me asking why I am not dancing. I replied, that I forgot my steps and she laughed.
She was a classic salsa chick. Very positive, but impossible to pick up. See she is here to dance. And if you don’t dance better than 99% of other professional salsa dancers in the club, she will be bored.
For the rest of the evening, I watched salsa dancers doing fancy moves and having a time of their lives. I remember too, how I enjoyed salsa dancing, but it is more than 7 years since I was deep into it.
I finished 3 dance courses. Beginner LA salsa, intermediate LA salsa, and beginner Cabana. I tried one course of bachata and twice west coast swing, but I never got good at it.
Salsa is fun, fast and there is a bigger room for errors. Salsa chicks are also more forgiving. You are totally fine with let’s say 6 moves, that you mix. Then it is just about smiling and having fun.
Those times are gone. Going to clubs just to practice salsa is a waste of time and I cannot improve myself solo without a dance partner. Going to courses is again a waste of money because a three-month course costs about 50USD.
I will think about the ways to be a salsa master because I like music. And I like the movement, even though I don’t have a natural talent for rhythm and coordination. It is something that makes me feel good.
I was jealous of them having fun. The Chinese guy didn’t lie, he was good at dancing. He danced with every chick, beautiful, old, fat, he didn’t make any exception.
According to him, the best was the fat one. Because she followed his lead to the point and had such light movements. It almost seemed like she was dancing in the air.
Anyway, after two Cuba liters, I was bored and could not push myself to mingle with strangers. Estonian chick was sitting outside with her boyfriend orbited by 10 thirsty dudes from the hostel. The Chinese guy was dancing all the time, so I went back to the hostel.
It was the last night in Riga and I planned to go to Lithuania afternoon. Lithuania is supposed to be a promised land for Asian guys. They say girls there are more receptive. We will see.
Riga Day 4 – Departure
Latvia was fun and I met interesting people at the hostel, but I could not connect with local girls. They were more interested in British dudes than anything else.
The culture clash between Russians and Latvians
They also get easily insulted, because half of them are native Latvians. The second half are Russians and both groups hate each other. If I approach a Latvian or Russian girl in English, she will put her b**ch shield up. Because Latvia has been ruined by British stag parties for years.
If I start a conversation in Russian talking to a Latvian chick, I will offend her just by existing.
There is no middle ground. Take for instance my experience from Riga’s bookstore. There were many Russian books on the shelves. So I asked the shop clerk, who was standing by if she sells Latvian books too. She told me “Of course we do, this is f**king rude”. And she stormed off.
It might be my ignorance and lack of empathy, that causes such conflicts. But to be honest. I get annoyed when someone asks me over and over again. If Vietnamese still hate Americans after the war and if there is still communism in Vietnam.
I guess everyone should at least learn some basic historic facts before engaging with locals.
All in all. Latvia might be a great place to have a bachelor party, considering cheap flights, party-friendly hostels. But other than that, Riga does not offer anything special to solo travelers or couples.
Met an anarchist hiker
Anyway, at the bus station, I was glad I am leaving Riga and was looking forward to seeing Lithuania. While waiting there, I asked a guy sitting on the bench, if he is traveling to Klaipeda too. He nodded.
Since I was in a talkative mood, I started a conversation. I found out he is from Kaunas, Lithuania, and he is traveling alone, spending days or weeks in the wild nature.
He avoids civilization on purpose and seeks the most remote places. Because he hates people and crowds. Silence and loneliness are what makes him happy. I can relate to that, except I get bored in the wild nature after a day.
He was on a return trip from Sweden, where he was camping near some local lake. To survive in wild nature, he always packs nutrient-dense food packages used in the military, also known as MRE (meal, ready to eat).
A box of MRE provides enough calories necessary to survive the next 24 hours. The meal can heat itself thanks to the flameless heater based on a chemical reaction. Interestingly, there was no comment on its taste.
He also travels across Europe to watch hooligans fight in person. It is like being inside a war zone. The tension and blood in the air are what make it attractive.
Another interesting thing is the admiration for train surfing. He showed me a YouTube channel with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Owned by a guy, who video record himself jumping on a cargo train and traveling across Europe. While sleeping inside a freight wagon.
It looks very dangerous and uncomfortable, but I understand what they get from it. A total sense of freedom.
Then we talked about the personality of Lithuanian girls. They seem to be very dominant, but sweet at the same time. His girlfriend, that he met on Tinder, can be described that way. She respects his need for solitude and let him wander alone for weeks, which is incredible.
By the end of the bus trip, he shared he plans to go to Klaipeda. And then walk to Nida, a natural resort with endless forests and beaches. He warned me to avoid Kaunas, but I didn’t listen. I will explain why later. Once we arrived at Klaipeda we parted ways.
One week in Lithuania
Klaipeda Day 1 – The beach
I wanted to see a legit Lithuanian beach town with all its cons and pros and Klaipeda was a perfect choice. Klaipeda is a beach town located not that far from Latvian borders. I heard only positive references for its never-ending nude beaches.
When I arrived at the bus station, It was already 6 pm. But since the sunset was not earlier than at 11 pm, I had plenty of time to enjoy the daylight.
Getting to the beach
Thankfully I booked the best-reviewed hostel right next to the bus station. I put my stuff there and went to explore the nearest beach.
Unfortunately, the beach was 5 km far. And google maps could not find any public transportation routes. So I decided to walk there on foot no matter what.
I went my first 2 km through a local abandoned park, that was full of sport areas. There were multiple basketballs and tennis courts, one skatepark, all were empty.
Then I had to walk 1 km along the highway, which was uncomfortable. Because it was hot, humid and the smogs from cars made feel sick.
Eventually, I arrived at the beach and was surprised to see how crowded it was. Youngs, olds, families, all were chilling in the sand. Mingling and enjoying their time after a hard day at work.
I went straight to the workout park and started doing my pull workout. The good thing about being an intermediate calisthenics athlete is that you get the attention very easily. Just simple exercises like pullover or tuck front lever hold can get you kudos from strangers.
One dude was very curious and asked me where I was from. I found out he was originally from a small Lithuanian town. But moved to Klaipeda with his family to open a shop, selling gardening tools.
He explained, that he was a bodybuilder in the past. But he injured his back by doing some dangerous explosive calisthenics moves. So he had to take a break and gained a lot of fat in two years.
Currently, he tries to get back his form by doing light pull-ups. He was keen on going for a beer, but I planned to stay only for one night and could not fit it into my tight schedule.
After the workout, I walked 2 km north until I saw a nice beach cafeteria. There, I bought a drink, sat on the patio, and watched the sunset. The whole experience was quite surreal.
It was ten pm. There was still daylight. And I was laying on the beach. Watching the sun transitioning from a dark yellow spot on the sky to a bright orange dot above the horizon.
Sometime before midnight, it was time to go back. I was not thrilled about it. I was low on water and I had to go back through the dark forest. But after 2 km of walking, I arrived at the bus stop and was lucky to catch the last one, that went back to Klaipeda.
Met another Russian girl
At the hostel, I joined other hostel guests in the kitchen. There was one guy from Albania and a girl from Russia.
The guy was studying in Klaipeda and at the same time living in a hostel. I saw him the next day sitting in the bus station lobby watching the crowds. He looked so bored I felt sorry for him. Studying in such a sleepy place like Klaipeda, I would go insane.
The Russian girl was throwing some intense eye contact at me, but I ignored it. She was not my type and was too unfit for my taste. This was the first time I saw an obese Russian girl.
Later I realized, she sleeps in the same room. I think I could have some action If I wanted to. When I entered the room, she was still awake, busy with her phone, but smiling when she saw me coming. Honestly, I was exhausted and would rather sleep than doing anything else.
Klaipeda Day 2 – Trip to Nida
The next day was packed to the last second. I did a checkout, left luggage at the hostel, and made a trip to Nida.
Before leaving Klaipeda, I finally went to explore Klaipeda City center. The whole city was pretty much deserted. And besides the petite main square with a big fountain, there was not much to see. So I went straight to the Klaipeda port.
Getting to Nida
There, I bought a ferry ticket. And took a boat to Nida island, which is Long Island in parallel with the Klaipeda coast.
Then I had to take the bus, which goes from Nida port to Nida beach town. A resort with famous sandpits and natural forests.
Knowing I will be all day far from civilization, I bought some food supplies from the local grocery store. A bottle of coke and a pack of peanuts. That didn’t last very long.
Nida is a relatively big natural resort, so expect to spend the whole day hiking. Fortunately, there are tourist signs everywhere. So you won’t get lost if you stick to the recommended route and never leave the path.
I went south through the forest to sandpits. And when I climbed up to the top of a dune, I felt like being in the middle of the desert. Sun was shining, sand was burning and I was there completely alone.
Bored with sandpits, I went to the beach, which spans coast to coast. This was the second nude beach in Lithuania I have visited. I think Lithuanians have a thing for nude beaches.
I looked at the map and realized, that if I go to the South. I will come to the Russian border that separates Lithuania and Kaliningrad. It is pretty weird, that Russia occupies a small piece of remote land in the middle of nowhere. I was curious to see, how the border is guarded so I headed South.
After 1 hour of walking, I came up to the sign, that warns everyone from trespassing on the mother’s Russian land. The message was clear.
Right before the sign, there are tons of footsteps in the sand. Behind the sign, there was none. As you might have guessed, I didn’t dare to cross the sign. At least I made some pictures of a metal fence that goes deep into the sea and a military base with anti-missile radar behind it.
I was joking with one of the hikers. That there is a minefield buried in the sand and a rocket launcher on top of a military base, that exterminates everyone who might cross the border.
Anyway, I saw some dark clouds on the horizon, so it was time to go back to Klaipeda. At the bus station, I started a convo with a random girl at a coffee stand about the weather. But I got a response typical for Lithuanian girls.
She smiled and replied with one-word answers. Either Lithuanian girls speak English badly, which is hard to believe. Or they are just not into Asians.
Kaunas Day 1 – Check-in
Kaunas is a 2 hours drive far away from Klaipeda. And it is supposed to be the second-largest Lithuanian city with an active student nightlife.
When I arrived, I knew, that the city was under reconstruction. But I didn’t expect, that the whole city center will be closed off to pedestrians.
The main street was surrounded by fences and the sidewalk was broken down to the dust. Unlucky for me, I booked a hostel right in the city center in the middle of the construction zone.
At the hostel, I mingled a little with this German chick, who shared the same room with me. She studied in Kaunas and was expected to graduate in a week. Because she mentioned having a boyfriend multiple times, I didn’t pursue her further. As I arrived late and was exhausted from hiking, I went to sleep.
Kaunas Day 2 – exploration
The next day I repeated the same routine. Check out, leave stuff at the hostel, and finally properly explore Kaunas.
It took me 3 hours to see the whole city including that big church on the hill and a 20 min. short workout at Kaunas calisthenics park.
Kaunas was pretty empty and I didn’t see many people in the streets. I think everyone left and will return in 2022 when the city will be officially announced as a culture city of Europe in 2022.
Vilnius Day 1 – The culture night
So far, my adventure across Lithuania was not as fruitful as I wished it to be. Therefore I didn’t expect anything from Vilnius.
I booked 5 nights at hostel Jamaica. A party hostel, that has its bar and a chill zone. I paid a premium for a 4 bed shared room with more privacy.
The hostel is situated inside a remote historic building with 3 meters tall ceilings and a very ancient shower system. At least, all the rooms were spacious and clean. But to my surprise, beds were no beds, but just a mattress laying on the top of beer boxes.
I arrived at 6 pm and was bored to death. I asked the Hostel owner about events happening that day. He suggested staying at the hostel because he will throw a party with a live DJ. Or go out because of its culture night tonight.
I didn’t know what he meant by that. But since I was not in the social mood to party alone at the hostel, I went out.
Initially, I was surprised to see bars crowded with young people, mingling and having fun. As I went deeper and deeper into the city center, there were more and more people roaming the streets. I was telling myself something big is happening.
A salsa party at Bernardine
I googled for cultural events in Vilnius. And found a brief article about the Culture night mentioned by the hostel owner. There was no official program posted online. But the article mentioned there will be a salsa party at the Bernardine park.
Having nothing better to do, I went there. The salsa party was already in full swing when I arrived. Dance-floor was packed and I felt great energy coming from the crowd.
Every time I visit the salsa club solo, I need a beer to get comfortable in this high energy environment. After a few sips, I saw a cute Lithuanian girl standing with her friends and watching dance-floor. I asked her for a dance and she complied.
I was nervous because the last time I danced salsa was at all bank party 6 months ago. It didn’t look pretty as I repeated 2 to 3 moves over and over again. Luckily, she was a beginner and understood the situation.
After a while, the dance floor got so crowded and there was no place to sit, so I decided to leave the party.
An epic Tchaikovsky theatre play
I followed a big crowd, that was going in the same direction until I arrived at the Cathedral square.
The place was crowded with people waiting for something big. I asked some random girls, what is going on, but they were clueless.
Then I caught some volunteers in yellow vests. And she told me it is gonna be a theatre play based on Tchaikovsky music, staged by polish actors.
In one sentence, it was spectacular. The costumes, the theatre props, the music, the performance. I will never forget the feeling of sitting in the middle of a big square, together with thousands of Lithuanians. Listening to Tchaikovsky’s epic sonatas and watching the story about the war and love.
After the show, the crowd seemed to split into multiple directions. And since there was no official program available, I just wandered around the city center.
A dance performance on LSD
On my way back, I saw some dancers surrounded by a huge crowd. So I stopped by to see what’s going on. There was a tattooed girl, who was dancing to the rhythm with her eyes closed. Her moves were shaped by other dance performers, who directed her movement by playing with her body.
So far nothing spectacular, except she was obviously on LSD and there was a time constraint on the dance performance. There was a huge 2 hours timer showing a countdown, so I guess she had to dance for two hours straight. Not that difficult, if you take some performance-enhancing drugs.
I got bored after a while and moved on. Only a few blocks further, I heard electro beats coming out of a dark passage. Curious about the music, I went in.
An electro party at Summer Terrace
The passage led me to a back yard with a big stage and about a hundred of young Lithuanians listening to a DJ. I didn’t like the music. But I loved the atmosphere, that reminds me of open-air techno parties, I attended when I was younger.
After midnight, the music stopped and everyone headed home including me. This evening was full of surprises and emotions. And I am more and more convinced to return for summer celebrations. Exactly these kinds of events make life so enjoyable.
Vilnius Day 2 – A free walking tour
The next day was less intense. It was time to finally attend the Vilnius free walking tour.
Our group was guided by a tall ginger Lithuanian chick, who was very funny. Not in a comedian way, but in a self-humorous way. She cranked jokes about Lithuanians all the time.
For example, did you know that to get a Lithuanian girl, you have to like three Bs? Beer, basketball, and beet?
Or why Lithuanian consider themselves as Baltic Spaniards? Because unlike Latvians, they like to have fun.
Also, Lithuanians seem to natural trolls. That’s why they have the Uzupis Republic. A self-proclaimed artistic territory in the middle of Vilnius, where anyone can claim his artistic citizenship.
In general, Lithuania is a very interesting nation with a colorful history and unique characteristics. If the free walking tour wouldn’t be so fun, I would not get the same impression. And for the first time, I even gave the top rating on Tripadvisor.
Met a St. Petersburg milf
After the tour, I came back to the hostel to get Lunch. I noticed new luggage and various girly items laying around. We have new guests in the room. A very friendly Russian lady from St. Petersburg and her probably an 18-year-old daughter.
By now, I know when the girl is interested in me and she was. She proactively asked a lot of questions, but I didn’t pursue her, because she was not very fit for a Russian lady.
But she encouraged me to visit St. Petersburg. Because people from St. Petersburg are all about fun, unlike those business drones living in Moscow. And because there are cultural events everywhere every day.
Her daughter was shy and avoided any contact with hostel guests. So I guess this trip was not her idea and she was bored as any child would be when traveling with the parents. A great opportunity to rock her world and have fun with her. Unfortunately, she was unfit in the same way as her mother.
Another new guest came to my room today. A dude from Brazil, who was traveling for three weeks across Eastern Europe. I saw so many Brazilians during my trip and they always travel the same route, I had to ask why. Well, the answers are simple. There is no Visa requirement and it is very easy to visit many countries in a short amount of time.
The rest of the day was pretty much uneventful because I started to feel sick. It might be caused by lack of sleep or because I left the window next to my bed wide open overnight.
Vilnius Day 3 – Got sick
I woke up the next morning with a sore throat, nausea, and a hot forehead. It sucked hard to be sick when traveling.
First, you are not alone in the room, so you cannot just freely show the symptoms, like sneezing or coughing. Second, you don’t have any medicine to lower the temperature and to ease your condition. Third, it is a total waste of precious time to stay in a hostel, while you could be outside having fun and meet new people.
I pretty much slept the whole day, but in the meantime, I had a chance to talk with many interesting guests in the hostel.
There was a guy from Kazakhstan, who came to Vilnius to do business, who was on the phone all the time. He revealed to me it might not work out in the end, because of the way Lithuanians do business. He didn’t follow up with details, so I didn’t ask why.
Met a Japan chef slash writer
Another interesting guest was a sixty-year-old chef from Japan. He was not an ordinary chef you would expect him to be. No, for the major part of his life, he cooked in a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo. Take a moment to process that thought. You might not see the difference, but for Japanese, it is not a very prestigious job.
Now, he travels around the world and writes a book about his travels. He told me, that there is a hard way to live life and there is an easy way.
The hard way is to work 9-5 jobs, or in Japan 9-22 job every day and grind hard. Then you don’t have to worry about making a living and you will reap the benefits after you get old.
The easy way seems to be easy at first but is harder to sustain in the long term. It means to work as an artist, musician, writer. Or be a hustler, who has to work hard for years without getting any immediate benefits.
And only after a certain amount of time, they can live the life they want, as he does. Now he travels the world as a writer.
Met a long life Chinese traveler
The last interesting guest was a Chinese lady in her sixties from Hong Kong. Another professional traveler slash writer, who started to travel since she was fifteen.
First, she visited all the nearby cities in China. But while most people travel to take the time off, maybe make a few photos. She wrote about her travels right from the beginning and posted her stories online.
Then she got lucky and some local newspaper noticed her travel logs and offered her a travel column. It became her profession to visit new places around the world and write about it.
She was very inspirational and exuded such positive energy. Take for example her attitude toward visiting new and unusual places.
She went to a remote village with a single church and across the garden. It is a one hour drive by bus and I would not find the place interesting enough.
But for her, it was a challenge. To get courage, to go there, to see it and to experience it. Otherwise, she would be just like any other traveler, staying in a hostel room and never go out of Vilnius.
I also liked her analogy of traveling and visiting churches. For her, its like collecting stamps. She likes churches and feels some kind of emotion when she visits them. And so she travels the world, visits churches, collects the emotions and compares them in her mind.
I realized I am doing the same with my handstand photos and beach workouts. It serves as a comparison of my travel experiences.
Vilnius Day 4 – A yoga class
The next day I felt much better. The fever went away and I could think straight without having to sleep all day. Even the weather got better. Sun was shining and it was hot outside.
I already knew Vilnius inside out and was bored to death, so I spent all day in the city center doing nothing. There were only two major events I planned to attend. An open yoga class in Bernardino park at 6 pm and a techno music contest.
A fit yoga chick
I didn’t have any yoga equipment so I was not expecting much from yoga class. The main purpose was to see yoga chicks and to stretch a little bit.
When I came to the park, there were already about 30 people laying on the yoga mats. I didn’t have one, so I just sit on the grass next really hot Lithuanian chick.
I asked her if this class will be in English. She smiled and froze for a few seconds. Her girlfriend, also a beautiful fit Lithuanian girl sitting in front of me saved her. She turns herself toward me and replied, that it will be in Lithuanian.
I played along and made a sad face. Then the class started and the yoga teacher began to do stretching routines. I followed along, but it was hard. I didn’t understand a word and I was stiff after two weeks of traveling.
Fortunately, she helps me through the routine by showing me the correct poses and telling me what’s going on. By the end of the class, she and her more model girlfriend had to go. And there was a moment when they were standing, waiting for me to follow up. But I was still doing breathing exercises.
I wanted to get up and exchange contacts. But I chicken out. As everyone was still sitting and this would bring unnecessary attention. Pretty stupid assumption and another opportunity wasted.
A techno music contest
After the yoga class, I went to a techno contest event. It was held in a pretty remote former industrial area. It took me 25 minutes to walk there.
The whole area was covered by really cool graffiti arts. Inside the place, there was a basketball playground, a bar, and a U ramp. Another proof, that Lithuanians are obsessed with basketball. Meanwhile, the contest was happening outside on the big stage.
I arrived just in time to see the last contestant. A duo who played techno set live. One dude controlled the rhythm and beats by playing with drums. The other dude took care of the synths, melodies, and voiceover. It was not a bad techno set, but it took me some time to get into the groove.
What I liked most was the family atmosphere. Everyone knew everyone and the cheering crowd made the whole experience fun.
I also noticed that musicians, whatever below average in terms of look, got the hottest girlfriends there. It has to be true, that the fame effect has a greater impact on your dating life than money and looks.
I stayed until the end but then went back to the hotel. I was pretty exhausted after being sick.
Vilnius Day 5 – Departure
It is the last day and I am relieved, that I am finally leaving Lithuania. My mind was fully focused on European Games 2019 in Minsk.
Crossing Belarus borders
The games were one of the reasons, I wanted to visit Belarus for a long time. Thanks to this event, there were no Visa requirements when crossing the border between Lithuania and Belarus. Therefore, this was a great opportunity to see all Baltic states and Belarus at the same time.
Otherwise, it would not be possible to cross northern borders by bus or train. The only possible way is to go through border control checkpoints on the Polish side.
Having experienced an abuse of power when crossing Moldova borders, I was worried. That something similar will happen again.
I even asked the driver and a random passenger on the bus to help me, if any problems arise. Even though they didn’t speak English, they were willing to help me. And actively communicated with officers, when we stopped at the borders.
To my surprise, they were well prepared for European Games 2019 visitors. There were many volunteers dressed in games uniforms. Ready to facilitate any questions or issues regarding European Games. But they didn’t speak English.
In the end, the passport check went smoothly. The police girl looked at me very thoroughly. And was eyeballing Axa insurance papers for good three minutes. But eventually, they let me go. So, kudos to the whole organization crew.
My first impression from Belarus after crossing borders and driving through the countryside was quite positive. I expected Belarus to be an underdeveloped country like Moldova, but this was not the case. Belarus has Modern roads and an exceptionally clean environment, that is on par with Germany and Austria.
One week in Belarus
Minsk Day 1 – Exploration
Immediately after the arrival, I got the same wow effect as I experienced in Kyiv. The streets were exceptionally clean. There was no trash, no graffiti or anything, that would remind me of Prague. Also, the size and the scale of the buildings was so impressive, I had to look at the Twin towers for two minutes with breathless admiration.
As always, I went directly from the bus station to the hostel. Luckily, my hostel was only 5 minutes far.
For the first time in my life, I booked a hostel, that is completely self-service. What does it mean is there is no reception and check-in is done digitally.
A self-service hostel
On the arrival, I got a welcome message on Whatsapp with a comprehensive guide on how to enter the building. And how to get into the apartment. Buildings in Minsk has two security layers.
First, there is a keypad lock on the entrance door. You simply type in the secret code. Then a pre-recorded voice message in Russian tells you to go in.
When I entered the building, I was disappointed, that the nice classical exteriors don’t match the interiors. The building interiors were very vintage in a haunting way and could use some repairs.
Imagine dimmed light, dark corridors covered with dirt and spiderwebs, and stale smell. The hostel was on the 4th floor and I secretly hoped, that the place will be less creepy than the hallway.
Entering the hostel apartment turned out to be a challenging task. I don’t know who made the door security, but sometimes it didn’t work on the first try.
The process is supposed to be simple. Type in a security password, wait for the green light, a sound clicks, and then use the door handle. Even then, I had to ask a virtual assistant for help several times.
The hostel was very clean, modern looking. And it was apparent, that the owner invested a lot into the renovation. But the shock came after I entered my dorm room.
Usually, hostels use double bunk beds in dorm rooms. But here bunk beds were welded together into one monolith object, that took 80% of the free space in the room.
Each bed had a special drawer, a place to put stuff, and a power socket. That has some benefits, but the major downside is that you won’t get much sleep.
The beds are so narrow, you will have trouble changing your body position. Even when you manage to turn yourself to the side, the whole bed construction starts to shake. And everyone else is going to have a bad time.
Also as this monstrosity takes up 80% of the space, there is no natural airflow in the room. So you might get suffocated from exhaled air.
My first impression from Minsk
Anyway, I already paid for 6 days so I accepted the situation and went out to explore the city. As I walked on the streets, I was fascinated by the Minsk’s architecture and sterile cleanness.
I experienced the same wow effect 10 years ago when I visited Vienna and Paris for the first time. Now, Vienna is in much worse condition, but you get the point.
Minsk city center is a combination of wide streets with cafeterias like you see in Paris. And a cleanness together with safety, which is typical for Vienna.
The whole city was in preparation for the European Games. So the streets were empty. There were no cars, only taxis and it was a delight to be able to walk in the middle of the street.
A dinner at Kamyanitsa
I was following a tourist route and walked from the Twin towers to the amusement park. Next to it, there was a highly recommended restaurant with a traditional local dish.
Since I was hungry and there was no Rimi in Belarus, I went in. I ordered borsch, vodka, and one traditional local dish, a mix of meat, mushrooms, and pancakes.
The food was really good, but the price higher than I expected. I paid like 20 euros for the whole meal, which is less than you would pay in the Baltic’s but still far above Ukraine.
Met Kamyanitsa waitress
When I was on the way out, I noticed, that the waitress was throwing curious eyes at me. I approached her and asked her for directions.
Her English was really bad, but she tried hard to help me out. We exchanged contacts, but never managed to meet each other during my stay. She probably had a boyfriend and a tiring work schedule. I can’t blame her for that.
It was getting dark, so I decided to visit one of the fan zones. There was a concert of a popular Belarus boy band, that existed since the 90s. They played pop music typical for the 90’s era. For those, who don’t know. That means overuse of vocoder effects, weird haircuts, and cheesy guitar riffs. But the audience, mostly people in their 50’s, loved it.
At this moment I noticed, that fashion is not a prominent factor in Belarus. Guys wore comfortable sweatpants and girls were showing off in their conservative dresses. I liked that style.
Minsk Day 2 – A free walking tour
The second day in Minsk started with food hunting. I went to a nearby supermarket and bought my usual meal (chicken breasts and tomatoes).
Then I went out to the free walking tour meeting point at the St. Joseph church. There, I saw a girl with big sunglasses and a cute smile, who was curiously looking at me.
Met Belarus chick
So I approached her asking if she was a tour guide. She replied with: “Nooooo, do I look like one?”, and touched my arm. It turns out she also wants to attend a free walking tour, but not as a tourist. She is local and came from a smaller Belarus town up north to Minsk to volunteer on European games.
I was very surprised by her English proficiency, so I asked more about her background. She revealed that she is working as a receptionist in a hotel. So she is in frequent contact with English speaking foreigners.
The moment she mentioned she is a former primary school teacher, I was hooked. Teachers have a naturally caring and kind personality. But then she says it was a boring job and being in tourism is much more fun.
Walking and talking
After a while, the tour guide came to the meeting point and the free walking tour started. Tour was led by a cute blond Belarusian girl, who was in past her thirties but was still good looking.
We have visited all the major sightseeing points around the city center. From a historic perspective, Belarus was a cosmopolitan country with open borders. And that is why Belarus girls are so beautiful. They just inherited the best genetics from diverse cultures.
But then the Soviet Union happened, and all went to hell. On the bright side, the most impressive buildings were built in that era, but the cost was devastating.
During the tour, I met two people from Slovakia. A dude with his mother, who was there to see European games. I didn’t know about them until I heard them speaking. It turns out he recently moved to Prague for a job. It was nice to speak in Czech after three weeks of thinking and speaking in English.
When the tour ended, I gave that blonde a big tip, because no one seemed to do it. She deserved it, but not because the tour was fun like in Vilnius, but because she seemed stressed all the time. She explained to me, that she started a month ago. And has no job besides doing free walking tours and volunteering on European games.
When I talked to her, she seemed eager to meet foreigners and even offered to take a selfie with her. If I was not focused on the teacher girl, I would spend more time with her.
A lunch at Lido
After the tour, I got hungry, so I offered the teacher girl to have lunch with me. We then went to a traditional canteen, that offered local cheap meals.
To be honest, the food was not delicious, but it was an interesting experience. During lunch, I had a chance to get to know her better. She is, in fact, a really fun person, who is quite wild natured. And because of her traits, she feels trapped in her current situation.
At one moment, she mentions her husband. So I was pretty disappointed and didn’t escalate further. I liked her as a person and we would be wonderful friends, but the more time spent with the more bad traits she reveals. Like the fact, that she is a smoker.
After lunch, I was pretty exhausted from talking. And she had to attend an opening ceremony for volunteers. So we parted ways. We stayed in contact, but I didn’t manage to meet her again due to her strict schedule.
Looking for a street workout park
I decided to finish the sightseeing path I was following yesterday, so I went a few km to the West. But because nothing was interesting to see. I changed the direction toward the street workout park located somewhere in the suburbs.
The place was far, but I made it after a few hours of walking. At the park, there was already some dude working out. I said hello, and started my warm-up.
But suddenly it started to rain. What a bummer, I walked all the way here and could not even start my workout. So I asked him about similar workout parks around. And he was quite surprised, that there were none near the city center.
He was thinking hard and came up with an idea to check nearby high school playground. So we went there, but unfortunately, it was still raining and there was no pull-up bar.
As a last resort, he recommended me to visit his friend’s gym, which was quite far, but I was like: “Why not? Right?”. We waited at least 15 minutes for a bus and it took about 4 stops to get there.
In the meantime, we had a chance to talk. It turns out he was a former pro basketball player, who injured his knee half a year ago. And he does calisthenics from time to time to keep himself in shape.
We arrived at the gym, that looked like a classic underground lair, where weight lifters go for their dose of injection. There was one cable machine and a lot of barbell stations. Not what I am used to, but sufficient enough to do my push-pull routine.
There were also few local lifters, who looked like mafia bosses. And two girls who came just to chat and to show off their butts. As an Asian, I was pretty much a center of attention.
One hour later, I was pretty exhausted and could not do any more reps. I called Yandex taxi and went back to the hostel. I got some food from the supermarket, rested a bit, and went out again to the fan zone to check what’s going on there. After the concert, I went home.
Minsk Day 3 – European games opening ceremony
Today is finally the day when the whole craziness starts. I felt the excitement in the air as the whole Minsk was anticipating European games.
I don’t remember exactly, what I was doing, but I spent most of the day exploring the western part of the Minsk. I was so absorbed with communist architecture, I forgot about the time. And had to rush back to prepare me for the European games opening ceremony.
Getting a haircut
On the way back, I stopped by a random barbershop. The price was quite high for Belarus, but I gave it a shot. I came in an inappropriate moment because there was no one inside.
I had to wait for Barber, to come from home. And because he was a teenager, I was suspicious about the quality.
Luckily I can say, that I got the best haircut in my life and it cost only 20 Euro. Barber was very careful and paid attention to every detail. He used the straight razor instead of a hair clipper and therefore it took long, but the result was worth it.
Going to Dinamo Stadium
With the new haircut, I was ready for the evening. I hurried to the front gates of the Dinamo Stadium and joined the long queue at the entrance. Once inside, I found my spot, which was a mid-priced seat closer to the field in the right corner of the stadium.
It took me a while to find my seat. The stadium is pretty big divided into many intersections and sectors. I guess it would take me at least 15-20 minutes to do one circle.
I asked some volunteers to guide me through and he put me into the wrong seat. Fortunately, I quickly understood the numbering system. And when someone claimed his seat I was sitting on, I found mine two rows above.
For the mid-range price, I expected to have a better view without any visual obstacles. My seat was pretty close to the running track. But the angle was a bit off and there was a high glass wall, that stood in the view.
Anyway, this was the first time, I visited such a big athletic stadium, that can accommodate 30k plus visitors. I felt the energy, the hype, and the anticipation of something big in the crowd. I looked around for more foreigners and tourists, but I heard only the Russian language.
When it comes to the food and drinks, there were food kiosks every few meters offering hot dogs and a beer. But even that amount could not supply so many people. I had to wait for the beer for 20 minutes.
A start of the ceremony
With a beer in my hand, I was ready to watch the Ceremony. It started with a welcome speech from the European games officials. The president of Belarus and some high ranked Russian officers.
The most interesting part of the ceremony was the presentation of the participating countries. It is the moment when each team enters the field. And walk around the stadium while carrying their national flag. You could see how each athlete enjoyed this moment, that happens to only the best of the best.
I would feel proud of the ability to represent my country. I would feel the adrenaline to be on the field in front of the crowd, waving at everyone. And at the same time, 30000k people wave you back. That is an astonishing life-changing experience. And I wish I could experience it myself one day.
Of course, the largest groups came from former Soviet Union countries. Mainly Russia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. The crowd went crazy when they saw their heroes on the field.
But not all athletes enjoyed fame. Most of them exited the stadium halfway. So I appreciated those who kept walking till the end and walked the whole circle.
The opening ceremony show
Then the main program started. I can hardly describe what was going on. But in a nutshell. There were 5 performances. Each one of them trying to convey a story or a fairy tale about a distinct Belarus characteristic. It was all done by a combination of singing, dancing, video mapping, and juggling with stage props.
The show was epic and breathtaking, but there were so many things to see at the same. And the narrative was so abstract, I had a hard time reading between the lines and understanding the meaning. The core message I got was that Belarus has a beautiful nature and a rich medieval history.
Then three hours later, the ceremony ended and everyone went home. But the night was not over for me.
Party hard at OK16
I had a meeting scheduled with two Belarus girls, I met in Ukraine. One of them was volunteering at the opening ceremony and they wanted to see me afterward.
To my delight, they suggested meeting at OK16 club, the best rave club in Minsk. I thought they were talking about the techno party. Because the term rave is associated with 90’s outdoor techno parties. But luckily OK16 was a cozy club playing tech-house.
OK16 is located at the end of 1km long party street full of cafés and clubs. But unlike Zybitskaya street. This underground place was occupied by a true local young hipster generation. And I liked it a lot.
The price was a bit high compared to the Czech Republic. For example, beer costs about 15 rubles and an alcoholic drink about 30? I don’t remember exactly.
Anyway, the only thing I can say is that I met my girls and we had fun all night.
Minsk Day 4 – Video shooting for Belarus TV
The fourth day in Minsk was busy. My contact from Belarus TV was chasing me to help him shoot a few scenes in the past few days.
Get cast for Belarus TV clip
How the hell did I end up making a video for Belarus TV? It all started when I booked the hostel in Minsk.
After the reservation, they sent me an offer from Belarus TV. That targets international tourists, who came to Minsk for European Games. To shoot a short clip about themselves.
Since I stepped out of my comfort zone so many times during the trip, I said yes to this opportunity. Then nothing happened for a few days after the initial message until a few hours before the ceremony.
But because I didn’t have the internet. And it is quite difficult to arrange a meeting in a stadium with 30000+ people. I passed a chance to make a video during the opening ceremony.
So instead, I agreed to meet the day after. In retrospect, this was not the best idea. I had a crazy night with girls. And because of that, I slept only three hours and as a result, was exhausted and sleep-deprived.
In the end, we met in front of The Dinamo stadium. I expected a fully-fledged film making crew waiting for me. But I saw only one guy equipped with a gimbal and a professional photo camera.
I was relieved, there won’t be any pressure on my acting performance. The cameraman also didn’t have an exact plan on what to shoot.
Improvising without storyboard
The core idea was to show a foreigner and his experience with European Games. So we went to fan zones and to the party zone to get some inspiration and usable footage.
We started with an intro that shows me holding a ticket from the Opening ceremony. And saying that it was an intense experience.
Then the video recorded me walking through the city center. And talking about my first impressions from visiting Belarus. While passing the crowds, people were smiling and waving like I was some kind of celebrity. It felt great, to be honest.
It was also funny to watch how people react when they see a professional camera approaching them. For example, girls always smile and waves to the camera. While men get anxious and avoid direct contact.
After we got a free pass to the official Party zone, we spent an hour there trying all kinds of activities. That could show the viewers how fun the Party zone is.
We did archery and mini football contests. To show the people the importance of sportsmanship. It was not fun pretending to have fun, but at least we got some useful footage.
Then we parted ways. I stayed in the party zone for a while, but I was pretty exhausted and decided to go home to get some food and sleep.
Booking an apartment
Later in the evening, I decided to book a room in an apartment just for myself. The place was located on the same street near the twin towers and it was not cheap.
When I saw the apartment in real life, I was not impressed at all. To my surprise, the apartment was not occupied by other tourists. Which I would prefer, but by his relatives. I don’t mind sharing an apartment with his Babushka, but not for that price.
The owner sensed my concerns and told me: “Come on, I will show you a much better apartment, more suitable for you”. So I followed him to another building in some block to check the apartment.
The room was equipped with a more comfortable king-size bed and sofa. But I didn’t like other occupants there. Two older dudes, who didn’t look much friendly.
So we went back to the previous flat and I was about to pay, but I decided to check the internet connection first.
To my surprise, the internet was not working. So I complained about it and the owner started fiddling with his phone. Nervously dialing some number, probably to pay for internet connection.
He had to do it twice before I could connect to my favorite forum. Then it came to my mind, that the government is intentionally blocking some websites. And it turned out to be true.
I was still hesitating because I didn’t want to pay that much for extra accommodation. Luckily, the owner offered me a 15% discount. It was a good deal so I agreed. But first I had to cancel the booking and pay him in cash.
Finally, I had my apartment and a king-size bed just for myself. So I took a two hours nap and then went out to the fan zone to watch the concert.
Minsk Day 5 – Gymnastics finals
On the last day, I decided to finally visit one of the disciplines. There were many interesting sports events. But one that attracted me the most was the gymnastics.
Rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics
The finals in gymnastics were held in the Minsk arena, which is not that far from the city center by bus. And since it was finals, I will see the best of the best in gymnastics. For someone, who is doing calisthenics. It was very motivating to see pros effortlessly showing off moves, that are close to impossible to learn.
The ticket to the finals was also relatively cheap. I paid 20 Euros for the seat located near the ceiling. Not the best place to record a video, but still I was sitting at a good angle and saw everything.
After lunch, I dragged myself to the Minsk arena, which is a half size smaller than the Dinamo stadium. There was also a fan zone in front of the Arena, crowded with gymnastics enthusiasts.
I saw some amateur girls trying handstand to l-sit on staircase railings. And that is what I love about attending big events like this. You meet people with the same excitement and enthusiasm as you.
Inside Arena, It took me a while to find my spot, because of the weird system of floors and seat blocks. In the end, my seat was not so bad. I sit pretty close to the contest field and I was able to video record performers with decent quality.
The finals were divided into rhythmic gymnastics and acrobatic gymnastics. During the rhythmic gymnastics, you watch a group of 6 gymnasts dancing to the music and throwing props in the air. Every movement was synced like a puppet play.
While acrobatic gymnastics, you watch a group of three girls doing crazy unworldly poses and aerial jumps. The most impressive static pose was the human tower with a little girl on the top doing straddle Planche.
Some countries did better than others. For example, the difference between FSU and western countries was in light-years. There are some prerequisites, that either disadvantage or help the team with the performance.
For example. French gymnasts were bigger, taller, and heavier. Hence they had trouble with static moves, that requires strength and balance.
Meanwhile, Russian girls were lighter and probably trained harder. So their performance was close to perfect.
After the finals, I went back to the city center to the biggest shopping mall to chill and get some food. There was a food court on the top floor with a balcony and a nice view of the fan zone.
Yet another Tinder date
So I grabbed a drink, sit on the balcony, and opened tinder out of boredom. Then somehow, I managed to arrange a Tinder date with this cute Belarusian girl. She seemed like a nice girl, well-spoken and well educated.
We met at the statue and it was clear from the beginning, that she is in a hurry and I won’t get laid tonight. She warned she has only half an hour for the meeting.
So we took a walk across the fan zone and just talked about random stuff. It came up she was well-traveled and therefore spoke English fluently. Probably thanks to being sponsored, when she was younger
In-person, she looked older than on the pictures. That means she, was far beyond her prime and is now fishing for potential providers.
One thing I liked about her was her decision to start learning breakdance at the age of 27. I have the same attitude toward life. Always move forward and learn new things.
She fired a lot of probing questions. Like how I spend my free time and if I like to party a lot. There was a lot of touching going on and I felt we had some kind of attraction. If she was 4 years younger, she might be the one. But today, it was not meant to be.
I had another date arranged the next day before I leave Minsk. According to the pictures, she was an upper-class girl. Who likes to visit fancy restaurants.
The moment she suggested one of the poshest cafes in Minsk as a meeting point, I let her go. I think she just was looking for a free breakfast.
Eating in the dark
After the date, it was close to 10 pm so I went back to the mall to get dinner at Burger King. Shortly after I got my food, they turned the lights off.
I asked someone what is going on and it turns out it was closing time. It was strange because the mall was still crowded and no one was about to leave the mall. People were still sitting and mingling with each other with the lights off.
So I finish my dinner in the dark. Then I went to the fan zone to see the last concert.
A romantic dance at a blues concert
As I walked closer and closer towards the stage, I became more and more excited. There was some kind of abstract melancholy and upbeat energy in the air.
What I didn’t expect was to hear a Macedonian singer with soulful voice singing blues. One of my most favorite music genre.
She was just great and her voice could compete with the best black vocalists. This concert was the best ending of my trip I could wish for.
Then I saw a cute girl standing next to me. She was also enjoying the concert and was swaying to the melody.
I was so hyped, I asked her what was the name of the band. She answered like a five-year-old girl. By judging her eye contact, I knew she was shy.
We exchanged a few words and after I got the feeling she was into me, I asked her for a dance. She was a bit clumsy but was following my lead pretty well.
It was awesome. To dance in a foreign country at the blues concert with a random girl.
As I hold her tightly, I asked her more about herself. She revealed with really bad English, that she is a 26-year-old art student, who plays on the violoncello.
Her submissiveness made me melt. When It was close to 11 pm, she had to leave and catch the last metro.
Too bad I didn’t take her contact. I was so in the moment, I didn’t think much forward. Another opportunity was lost.
After the concert, I returned to my apartment and went to sleep.
Minsk Day 6 – Departure
The last day in Minsk was pretty hasty. I had to pack and go to the airport. Luckily, there was a cheap, direct bus right near the Twin towers. The ticket cost me only 3 EUR.
To be honest, I was glad I am going home. But at the same time, I felt, that 5 days in Minsk was not enough considering the ongoing European Games. It would be better would be to stay for the full program plus one week more to explore more remote cities.
Visiting Minsk was one of the most positive surprises I experienced in the last 5 years. I will come back in the summer if I had a chance in the future. The beauty of the local girls, the cleanliness, the safety, and the friendliness of the locals. Those are some of the top reasons, why Belarus is an attractive country to visit regularly.
Thanks for reading the report and see ya next time.