19 July 2006: Before beginning my journey from Warsaw in the morning, I thought it would be wiser to go on with a slower pace to Lithuania. Road conditions were from mediocre to bad, full of patches and holes from the truck tires. As I was traveling northerly, I noticed that the landscape had started to change, from bare and naked one, as outside of Warsaw, to a much greener one.
Arriving finally at the Lithuanian borders around 2 o’clock in the noon and while I was waiting in the row, two German motorcyclists appeared behind me. One had a Harley and the other one had an Africa Twin, full of luggage, both of them. The guy with the Harley, once noticing my license plates, got himself surprised and came to me to greet me. I returned the greeting and we started talking until our turn was up in the customs. While talking, he told me that they started from Berlin and they would go all the way up, from the seaside road, up to Estonia for a 3 weeks vacation. They had already spent the first week from Berlin till the borders of Lithuania. After the customs we decided to stop for some gas and salute each other, since we were going to follow different routes. I started for my first destination, the city of Alytus.
I reached Alytus around 5:45 in the evening. While looking for the tourist office, I did make some circles through this small and rather quiet city. For my bad luck, time was already past 6pm and the office was already closing by the time I parked my bike outside. So I didn’t have the time to ask the girl, while she left in a hurry.
I was looking in vain for hotels or motels, but nothing came up. I felt so desperate, so I thought I should go to Kaunas, the country’s second largest city, they should have something there! While driving away from Alytus, at a gas station, near the end of the city, I saw two cops looking through their radar-guns for “victims” of high speed. I thought it was a good idea to ask them, so I did a u-turn and parked behind them.
They were 2, one was older than the other one. I reached the older one first and asked him if he knew of any hotels in the town. He couldn’t understand any words in English, so he pointed towards the younger one, which, if I understood correctly, understood what I was saying, but couldn’t speak. Friendly enough, he got a piece of paper and a pen and tried to draw me the way to the hotel. Since he saw that it was useless for him to talk to me in English, he nodded to the other one and obviously told him to get in the car. Then he insisted on following his car, driving me up to the hotel. Thanking him, I started to follow him (ala Verona 2005!). So, there we were: In the front the Lithuanian police car, in the back the Greek motorcycle. He took me to the Senas Namas hotel, where he left me. I thanked him once again and they left. The price on that really small but beautiful and warm hotel was 160 Litas (around 45€). The room was spacious enough to fit two or three persons inside. I made a relaxing shower and dressed-up and after around 40 minutes from my time of arrival, I was in the centre of that little town.
And then? What? Then an idea struck me: To send an sms to the Lithuanian friend from the internet forum (motomanai.lt) that once I was back in Greece gave me his mobile. Interesting idea, I had nothing to loose. So I did it. I wanted to see what will happen.
After 5-6 messages, I managed to make a coffee appointment with Suzis and his wife, Nida (nicknames from the same forum), the newlyweds. They were married just 2 weeks prior to my arrival and now they were living and working in that town. The newlyweds came and we went for a coffee. Very good friends and well studied too! We discussed about various issues, some concerning my trip, some other irrelevant. They were both talking very good English. As I’ve learnt, they studied both in Denmark, this was the place they also met. After our conversation and drinks were over, they asked me if I wanted to see the city sightseeing. In Lithuania it gets dark very late, after 10pm. It was a fantastic opportunity, since there was still time to see the sightseeing. We drove with their car around the few sightseeing that peaceful and quiet town offered. Around 11 I saluted them, amazed by the warmth and really terrific hospitality and went back to my hotel, where I discovered that the kitchen was already closed and that I would stay hungry. The couple’s company made me forget that I didn’t ate anything! Oh well … at least it was worth it!