Coat and Bag: Vintage, Dress: Kain, Shoes: M&S, Sun Glasses: H&M, Neckpiece: ASOS
Images by Agata Bosak
This coat represents both the glamour and the horror of an era long past. Coats like these were a must-have for all who didn’t want to freeze. Size and weight didn’t matter at the time. And, lemme-tell-ya, this thing weighs more than I do. Yes sir, make it two seats on that Ryanair flight.
If you happen to pop to Vilnius in winter, you will still see the older generation rocking similar coats like there’s no tomorrow. That’s mainly because they last a lifetime. And longer. I love my grandma’s one and I wear it everytime I go back to Vilnius in winter.
Speaking of popping over to Vilnius, I have decided to take part in GiffGaff’s international campaign – the top things to know when visiting my hometown. There are two reasons for this. One – GiffGaff promised to woo me with a goodie bag of stuff from Lithuania, and I am so damn curious about what they will put in there; two – I have read so many negative things about my country being full of rude bullies, boring places, skinheads, poverty and ugliness. That’s just not true. Every country has its demons but let’s not forget about the elements that make those who visit and those who live there alike feel closer to God. Be it architecture, traditions, festivals, food, people – every country has that one thing that makes it an exclusive experience. So, here are some things you need to tick off your list not only when in Vilnius but generally in Lithuania:
1. Lithuanian black rye bread. It has a special place in my heart and in the hearts of the majority of expats. I swear it has a soul. And just wait until you have it fried with garlic as a sider to beer. Crisps, buh-bye. Also, that sexy summer dress you’ll try to fit into after having a ton of that fried bread, buh-bye. Another plate of this stuff? Come to mama.
2. Beer. Have a pint and find yourself booking another flight to Lithuania, just for the beer.
3. St Ana’s Church. If Napoleon wanted to place it on the palm of his hand and take it away (historical fact, mind you), you will be impressed too.
4. Trakai Castle. Take a 25 minute train down to Trakai town and visit the castle. After some serious touristing make sure you go to a local place and taste some national Karaim cuisine – I am talking about some crazy tasty kibinai, ya’ll!
5. Medieval Festival. Also held in Trakai Castle, you can experience how life went in medieval times. An excuse to dress up as a knight or a maiden. I’d sooo dress up as a knight. This year it will take place in June.
6. Pilies Street Market. A mecca for hagglers. Amazing amber jewellery and linen clothes for reasonable prices if you are good at haggling, that is. See awesome traditional clay or wooden décor pieces and even kitschy soviet era accessories – a Lenin matryoshka anyone? – up and coming designers hang out there too.
7. Sakotis (sometimes known as bankuchin). Traditional Lithuanian cake made of egg that looks like a Christmas tree, but is delicious all year round, baby!
8. Zeppelins (cepelinai). Meat-lovers, start drooling, the combo of meat, fat and potatoes has never tasted THIS good.
9. Gedimino Tower. Go to the roof top and see Vilnius from above. A peaceful and touching experience.
10. Palanga. If you feel like taking a 4 hour-ish bus ride from Vilnius, go to Palanga. A super cute seaside resort with sandy beaches by the Baltic Sea. Wave jumping in Palanga used to be my personal summer hobby.
Actually, this is me just glancing over all the awesomeness, there’s so much more to experience in a country that is just under 3 million people. If you time your stay with a festival or event, be ready to get those DSLRs out – celebrations such as Uzgavenes (Pagan fest, a bit like Mardi Gras), Jonines (Midsummer) or Kaziuko Muge (spring crafts fair) are truly golden photo ops.