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The ultimate Euro trip
The ultimate Euro trip
I decided it was time to visit my home land. I have lived in USA since I was 11, and before that lived in Lithuania. I have visited Lithuania before, but the last time was four years ago, so it was a good time to visit. Also it was the year before my senior year of high school, so last summer before the college movement.
I bought tickets that had two different stops, and long connection times. I and my boyfriend decided to work all summer and buy our tickets that are cheapest and for the last month of the summer. So we did.
Our tickets were from Chicago to Manchester, England then to Helsinki, Finland and then finally to Vilnius, Lithuania. But the great thing was that we had connection times of about 12 hours in both countries. It sounded like a great idea. We didn’t sleep at all on the long plane ride over the Atlantic Ocean, partly because we were way too excited, and because there were three English student travelers who had a rubber duck that would make a loud quack noise every time we closed our eyes. We landed in Manchester and were very ecstatic about the accents that everyone carried and the atmosphere. It was a euro trip! Without any hesitation we exchanged our dollars into pounds and walked out the airport. We figured that the airport will be in the middle of Manchester, but we were wrong. It was placed at the corner of the town, and that didn’t really matter because the "downtown" was 30minutes bus ride, and we didn’t have a map. We had 20 pounds, and thought it would quite do it for us. But unfortunately we spent 5 on the bus ticket, and 12 on the food. Because we just had to taste the English chips, and sodas. We visited the University of Manchester, and admired the architecture that makes up the city. We loved it there, but then we decided we should head back to the airport because we wanted good cushion time to not miss the plane. We wanted to take the bus back, but we didn’t have enough pounds. Ahh whatever we said, and decided to walk. Little did we know we had 3 hours of walking time to the airport. And no map! So we started hitting the bus stops and fallowed them one to the next, because there was a huge map that showed the bus route, and there were old English ladies who were very nice and told us the general direction to the airport. Most of them laughed, because we told them how we are going to walk there. But then we met people who were very nice to us, and even one man gave us 2 pounds. We promised ourselves if we ever see someone who is lost in a foreign country; we will surely give them enough money for a bus ticket. I got blisters, and the backpack that I carried seemed to be getting more and more heavier as we went on. It took us around 3 hours, and a bit more to get back to the airport, we took paths in forests near a highway, cut through unknown neighborhoods and had a lot of strangers laugh at us. Also the weather kept switching from very cloudy, to drizzling rain, and then back to very cloudy. It was along way back, but on the way we enjoyed our surroundings, the niceness of the English people, and even walked by a giant crab, that was bigger than me! When we saw the signs for the airport, I swear I started getting chills running down my spine, I was very tired and haven’t slept for at least 24 hours. We found our gate and decided to sit there until we can board the plane and eat that tasty small meal.
Ahh it was very nice sitting in those airplane seats, but yet again we had another day to spend at now Helsinki before we can actually relax for sure. We decided to not take a bus this time; we took a couple of walks around the airport and needed some Euros to buy food. Unfortunately the currency exchange was closed because we were there during the night. We found a nice airport shuttle to a nearby hotel where they changed our dollars into Euros. We got back to the airport and ate some cold sandwiches, because we really had no other choice of food since there was only one restaurant open. We took a bunch of pictures; I loved how Helsinki airport had sculptured bears as the weight holding signs like a stop sign, or a pedestrian path. In general we took turns sleeping, and then time passed quickly until our plane to our ultimate destination arrived.
We sat in the small jet and received yet another meal, which were small, but it was the best thing in the last 40 hours. We didn’t sleep much which was a bad mistake because when we finally did get to Lithuania, we were dying of sleep, and tried to keep cool and not pass out until it was actually dark. I met my family and introduced my boyfriend. It was great, my aunt made us a huge meal, and we shared our experiences and passed around stories about how each other’s lives have altered since we last seen each other.
The month that we spent in Lithuania was great, I experienced my past but altered, there were many different changes like new stores, buildings, parks that haven’t been there when I lived there. I met up with my grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, other relatives, my father, and old friends. It was quite strange, but our connections were still there, here was my family.
The time has passed too fast, and we were already back at the airport, getting ready to go back to USA. We had crazy long connection times yet again. But this time we learned. We stayed inside the airport at our first stop back in Helsinki. Then our next stop was Paris, France. I swear I saw the Eiffel tower through the airplane window, but it wasn’t clear because it was very cloudy. Our connection time wasn’t long in Paris, it was two hours. But we got lost. No one and I really mean no one of the workers knew English. We thought we were going the right way by taking a train to a different terminal. Yet again we were lost, but this time we really had no time for this. We ran, and I was not working out whatsoever during that summer, so that running was killing me. When we got to the wrong terminal a worker finally told us we were at the wrong terminal. So we ran back to the train, and then ran back to the right terminal. We found our gate, but it was a crazy heart beat raising experience that I do not recommend for anyone to experience. We made it into the plane and had some chills when we actually sat down in our seats.
Over all it was a great experience, with of course many challenges. I felt like I was on the show survivor but with a twist. I know now that next time I travel, I will have longer connection times, have maps, and comfortable clothes with a light backpack. The next time I travel I hope I will be more prepared, but honestly I really hope it will bring along more challenges because it felt great to overcome them.