Day 174 | Sunday September 5
My host Bernie has a lot of contacts throughout the city and today he arranged something special. A Dutch friend of him is about to open a ski-center in Vilnius, Slidinėjimo Akademija. Not one with snow or brushes but a rotating track. It’s about a 15 meters long and the height can be adjusted. It’s been a while since I skied for the last time, at least 18 years, so it was nice to do it again. It was a cool experience, I expected the track to be a bit stiff but it was actually pretty easy to make turns. The ‘cool’ thing is that you can do it with your t-shirt on as it’s of course not cold at all. For Bernie it was the first time but he got the hang of it pretty quickly.
In the evening I met Johan, another friend of Bernie. Johan made a road trip per bike from Lithuania to Malaysia, so from here I’m making the same route as he did and wanted to meet up with him to hear his experiences about especially the middle-east. I got a lot wiser, felt relieved about some issues I was thinking about and had some new things to think about.
Johan is a traveler pur sang himself. He had a baby a few years ago and couldn’t resist to travel again. He bought an old fireman truck from Austria and with his girlfriend and baby they traveled around the world. Great inspiration for later. You can find his stories and pictures here.
Lithuanians are very proud of their language. This is because they have been under pressure for a long time and due to circumstances over the years the country changed a lot. The language is something that never changes. Bernie and Renata told me that there even is a law that says you always need to stick to the language. They received an email from the government who saw the menu of one of their restaurants online. For a dish they used different words than the original Lithuanian language and now they risk a fine if they don’t change it!
Day 175 | Monday September 6
The day started with a meeting at the Dutch embassy in Vilnius. Via Facebook I was in touch with Bert, the ambassador, for already some days. He even offered me a place to stay at his house, a really nice gesture. He told me more about sustainability in Lithuania. How the country bought a boat to get their own gas so they can be independent from Russia and how the Dutch are helping with giving advice about our biking infrastructure.
For lunch I had a meeting with Zilvinas, journalist from 15 Mins, one of the countries biggest media channels. He took me for lunch and asked me everything about my trip. You can read the article here, it’s in Lithuanian of course but definitely worth putting through Google Translate.
Than I picked up Johan and drove to Mindaugas. This guy converted his own Honda HR to fully electric already in 2008. I made a video about it (which is very technical but interesting) which you can see here: