It’s almost the end of a long and cloudy January and, despite there still being about five weeks until spring, I’m firmly looking forward to a new season. However, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom this January. In fact, we kicked off the year in a spectacular fashion by heading off to snowy Lithuania.
I’d never been to Lithuania before, and I’ll shamefully admit it had never crossed my mind to even think of going there, but now having been for a long weekend I definitely want to go back. We braved ice, snow and -20 degree weather, but with such pretty architecture and historic castles, this meant the wintery setting seemed somewhat fitting.
We were there to celebrate the engagement of Jasmine and Karolis – a truly lovely couple who my boyfriend has known since school. I had only met them once before, at the wedding of Alexis & Romin, but they’re the kind of people you instantly warm to. Funny, welcoming and just so completely right for each other; both J & I didn’t hesitate when they invited us to join a group of friends and family out in Karolis’ home country of Lithuania for a party to celebrate their engagement.
We flew out on a painfully early flight to Vilnius on Friday morning for a long weekend, returning Monday afternoon. What followed was three and a half days of laughter, dancing and a LOT of vodka. Since the main event was a fabulous party in the town of Trakai on Saturday night that’s what I’ll focus on, however there’s a short guide to our stay in my new travel writing style (Stay, See, Eat) below for those interested.
After a whirlwind of a Friday, involving a lot of hugs, late night drinks and snowball fights, Saturday morning was spent lazing around the Margis hotel’s pool & spa area. I indulged in a massage (highly recommended) but wasn’t quite brave enough to try the outdoor sauna in -20…
When the afternoon rolled around, we all retired to our rooms to prettify ahead of the evening’s big event in Trakai (only a 10 minute taxi ride away).
[Quick outfit note – Oxblood red dress of dreams is from ASOS. Smile is courtesy of a large vodka.]
[The gorgeous venue!]
The party was held at the gorgeous BONA Lounge in Trakai, with a stunning view across the frozen lake towards Trakai castle. Jas & Karolis and their noble team of decorators had done an incredible job of dressing the venue.
[The happy couple!]
As the champagne poured, the night went by in a flurry of hugs, toasts and dancing. Heels were kicked off, bodies were dragged to the dance floor and dance-offs ensued.
Whilst my memories of the night as it progressed got ever so slightly more blurry (I *think* there were shots), it was plain to see the love for the happy couple radiating from everyone. Both J & I are in agreement that it was definitely one of the best nights we’ve ever experienced – Jasmine & Karolis, you guys are a fantastic couple and you certainly know how to throw a party. Bring on the wedding!
We stayed at the Margis Hotel, some 35 minutes outside Vilnius, in the region of Trakai. Rooms are comfortable and spacious, despite being almost unbelievably cheap, and the food there is genuinely delicious. One of the best hotel restaurants I’ve ever experienced… There’s also a lovely spa, pool and outdoor sauna experience for those of you brave enough…
We didn’t get much of a chance to check out Vilnius (any excuse for a return trip) but can highly recommend Trakai castle which was close to our hotel. With an almost fairytale style, it’s the perfect place to stomp around through the snow and pretend to live up to your secret princess-y aspirations.
We also hit up the slopes in Liepkalnis much to my delight. You can hire pretty much all the gear you’d need – ski boots, skis and poles, plus the equivalent for those rebel snowboarders out there. Pricing is decent so if you’re looking for something unusual and fun to do in winter I’d certainly recommend it. There’s also a nice chalet style bar for those of you who are too stubborn reluctant to try skiing…
You need to try Cepelinai (a dumpling style dish) which is apparently the national dish of Lithuania and available pretty much everywhere. Also, Lithuanians are pretty hot on their beer snacks, and we tried delicious fried rye bread with cheese which made an excellent pre-booze snack. On the whole, the food was just amazing which really surprised me – if in doubt, ask the restaurant what they’d recommend and you won’t regret it. Don’t forget, in -20 degree weather it’s practically health and safety to eat (and drink!) as much as you can. Promise!