Wednesday 12th July
First up, I cannot believe we’ve been on the road for over 40 days. That’s pretty much 40 days of camping, cooking on a portable stove and living in a car. It’s not even our car. And there’s a large, unidentifiable skeleton in the bushes behind us. I don’t understand how we became this feral.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey. The weather has been steadily improving since we left Scandinavia, but today broke the pattern and we woke up to pouring rain. Around 3am, the rain started coming into the car through our midge shields. We tend to leave the back windows open under nets, for ventilation. We also have a complex duct tape system which allows us to slightly open the front windows if it’s hot and raining, but this doesn’t guard against midges. So if it’s hot and raining and midgey, we’re screwed. We have nothing for that scenario.
When we properly woke up around 9am, it was still chucking it down, which meant we couldn’t do anything. Every normal human activity would result in us getting soaked, including:
- Going to the toilet
- Making breakfast
- Having a cup a tea
- Getting dressed
- Walking the dog
- Rearranging the car into the “day” rather than the “night” position. Oh wait, that’s not a thing normal humans need to do every day.
We decided the essentials were taking Lex for a pee, and rearranging the car. We needed to take the blinds off so we could see out of the windows, put the front seats up from their “business class bed” position, replace the stuff that usually lives behind the front seats and pile our crap back onto the boot.
Then one of us needed to move into the back of the car. Because (did we mention?) very soon into this trip, Lex developed a complex where he won’t sit down in the car unless one of us is sitting next to him. If we’re both in the front seats like adults, he stares out the windows, paces, whines, and refuses to sit down the entire time, like he’s required to patrol the back-seat with constant vigilance.
This means he falls over whenever we brake or go around a sharp corner, then whines even more. Lex literally never did this until we went on this road trip, happily sleeping in the back of the car for hours. But long hours of standing and falling over probably isn’t good for an old man (and he refuses to wear the clip-in harness of course), so we started taking it in turns to sit in the back seat with him as he cuddles up against us as close as physically possible. It’s pretty adorable how much safer he feels next to us, so we don’t mind really.
Anyway, in order to avoid going outside in the rain, I climbed awkwardly through into the back of the car, and Lex happily climbed off his dog bed and lay down in the middle seat pressed against my leg, convinced I would save him from the perils of “the box.” (We’re pretty sure Lex thinks of the car as “the box”, so now we call it that too. We’ve been on the road for over 40 days, we’re feral.)
We stopped at a supermarket to buy some food we could eat without cooking on the camping stove and I dashed inside, unwashed, wearing the clothes I’d slept in. I felt unfit to interact with civilised humans. BUT I did find some English tea bags, and manage to make a quick cup of tea in-between rain showers. I’d used my last proper tea bag at a campsite in Latvia, only to have Lex knock the entire cup of boiling liquid over with his lead, right over my bare foot. It was my fault, really. Lex will make a bee line for any drink on the ground and knock it over, usually by tangling his lead around the drink until it flips over. I know this, yet still I tried to briefly put a drink on the ground, like a fool.
Revitalised by the pleasant discovery of tea, we arrived in Vilnius and checked into our lovely Airbnb:
After revelling in the luxury of indoor plumbing, electricity, wifi and a sofa, we determinately walked into town, despite the pouring rain. We tried to appreciate the scenery from under our bizarrely huge umbrella that takes up an entire pavement in the narrow streets of an old town.
We took this chance to ponder between us who are the “James Bond Golf Society”? Why do we have their umbrella? Why, as English people representing all other English people, do we travel with such a monstrosity? It’s certainly a mystery. All we know is it’s a very good umbrella, and it was free.
We went to an Italian restaurant, to get our traditional “welcome back to civilisation” pizza. But, after sitting down we were horrified to realise we had picked such a traditionally Italian place, it didn’t even sell pizza! This was clearly a disaster, so we just drunk some wine and walked on until we found a less authentic Italian restaurant.
Exactly like when we arrived in Tallinn, we asked the waiters at the new restaurant if we could sit at one of the miserable looking outside tables.
“Well, you could…” replied the staff. “But I don’t think you should, it’s very wet outside…”
“We have a dog,” we informed them by way of response.
“Ah, okay.” The waiter looked a bit sorry for us now. “You can use an outside table.”
The staff then had a fast and furious conversation in Lithuanian, presumably deciding which unfortunate soul had to brave the outside to serve us.
Since city-stops are our rare luxury days, we splashed out on a cocktail, and probably the strangest one on the menu – It was named after the restaurant and described as just “Prosecco with jam”. They arrive as two separate layers. I immediately stirred mine, while Morgan immediately took a photo.
After a couple of delicious pizzas, we found a bar called “Cozy” for dessert, which actually allowed dogs inside! (and had wifi too!) Sheltering from the cold rain with chocolate brownies and amaretto, we were pretty sure we had found our new favourite place in all of Europe. If you ever visit Vilnius with a dog, go there!
If you want to keep up with our travels as we continue on our 3-month adventure, hit the Follow button to get updated on new posts!