All posts by Silvija Travel Tips

10 things to do in Vilnius

Vilnius is a city best known for its historical charm, particularly its Unesco-listed Old Town. Yet there are few European capitals modernising quite so rapidly. Today, for every preserved baroque church there’s an achingly hip café; for every old cobbled street, a modernist work of art.

This fascinating contrast of the time-honoured and the on-trend make Lithuania’s capital a refreshing and rewarding weekend break. Here are 10 of the best things to see and do during a visit.

Enjoy the view

A sea of red-tiled roofs and lush green parkland, punctuated by dozens of church spires: Vilnius looks spectacular from on high. The loveliest panorama in the city – particularly at sunset – is from the Three Crosses, a monument set atop the cheerily-named Bleak Hill, but it’s a steep walk. Gediminas’ Tower offers an almost-equally striking view, and is easily reached by funicular, or else take a lift up to the stylish rooftop Skybar (radissonblu.com) to gaze out over the city with a cocktail in 

 

Tour a breakaway republic

Užupis, which means “the other side of the river”, is a neighbourhood that sits apart from the rest of Vilnius – both physically and politically. In 1997, Užupis declared itself an independent republic, with its own flag, anthem and president, and two decades on it retains its distinctive vibe. This bohemian district has some great riverside pubs and cafes, alternative artists’ workshops and a prominent, wall-mounted constitution featuring idiosyncratic articles such as “People have the right to have no rights”.

 

Try a local delicacy

Two dishes dominate dining here: cepelinai and kibinai. The first are filling, zeppelin-shaped dumplings of grated potato, stuffed with mince or curd, slathered in sour cream and served on huge plates. The latter are traditional pastries – not dissimilar to Cornish pasties – typically filled with mutton and onion and sold in every Vilnius bakery (though the best ones are in Trakai, a great day trip from the capital).

See the city’s street art

Vilnius has many fine contemporary art galleries, but to really see how artists here express themselves, simply step outside. There are quirky al fresco works of art across Vilnius, from a bronze bust of Frank Zappa to a street lined with hundreds of tiny paintings, prints and ceramics, but it’s the colourful, often political street corner graffiti that really stands out, including a mural of Trump and Putin locking lips.

Make a wish

In August 1989, an extraordinary thing happened: two million people formed a human chain stretching 420 miles from Tallinn to Vilnius, in protest of Soviet occupation. Within seven months, Lithuania was independent. To commemorate this event, a stone tile marked stebuklas (miracle) was laid in Vilnius’ main Cathedral Square. Today, it’s a lucky charm, so stand on the tile, spin clockwise and make a wish.

Step back in time

Not just under the radar, but out of sight, there’s a concealed corner of Vilnius that belongs to another era. Situated in the up-and-coming Šnipiškės district, it’s a 19th century community of pretty, wooden homes with wood-burning stoves, outhouses and communal water pumps, all linked by unpaved streets. It is under constant threat from developers, with many houses burning down in suspicious circumstances, but you can see what remains on the Alternative Tour from Vilnius Free Tour (vilniusfreetour.lt).

Sip a craft beer

Vilnius has a proud farmhouse brewing tradition, and has fully embraced the craft beer boom. Popular brewpubs include Alaus Namai (alausnamai.lt), home of Širvenos ale – brewed using peas – and Šnekutis (facebook.com/BaraiSnekutis), known for its cloudy amber Jovaru Alus. Many pubs also serve surprisingly tasty non-alcoholic wheat beers and stouts brewed by Švyturys (svyturys.lt).

Dig into Lithuania’s history

Lithuania has a long and tumultuous history, from the wealth and prosperity of the Middle Ages to the devastating occupations of the 20th century. You can uncover it all with visits to the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (valdovurumai.lt) and the Museum of Genocide Victims (genocid.lt).

Stroll along the river

Vilnius is a great strolling city, but forego the cobbled streets and winding alleys for one day in favour of the riverbank. A walk alongside the river Vilnelė offers a mix of thriving nature and major city sights, like the atmospheric Bernardine Cemetery, the trumpeting Angel of Užupis and the leafy Kalnai Park.

Shop for traditional food

Foodies shouldn’t miss the covered Hales Market (halesturgaviete.lt). This beautiful historic building, opened in 1906, has stallholders selling everything you could possibly desire, from smoked meat, fresh fish and organic vegetables to clothes, flowers and gifts. There’s also a lovely bakery-café.

Source: Independent.co.uk

Seattle Is Closer Than Ever! – Direct Flights From Dublin

This summer, Aer Lingus launches four flights a week to and from the super cool city, gateway to the Pacific Northwest.

The city which swept coffee into the 21st century is an addiction like no other. From the iconic Space Needle to the glittering angles of the new Mark Tower, Seattle’s skyline is encircled by snow-capped volcanoes, verdant forests, lakes and sensational seascapes. World-renowned for Hendrix, then grunge 30 years ago, Seattle remains cutting-edge with riveting scenes of Americana, indie rock, hip-hop and electronic music today.

Wilderness adventures are close at hand – see whale watching, salmon leaps, bald eagles, sea otters, or head out on adventures in Washington state’s three national parks: Olympic National Park, Mt Rainier National Park and the North Cascades National Park.

Source: Visit USA

The best places to visit on an Epic American Road Trip

America is famously a country of multitudes, a melting pot of cultures, and incredible geographic and human diversity. And one of the best, and most classic, ways to experience America as a whole is through a road trip. We’ve put together a bucket list itinerary of where you should stop on the ultimate American road trip.

New York City

New York City is one of the most international and culturally significant cities in the world. From learning about the city’s immigrant history at the Tenement Museum, to walking the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge, to checking out world-class art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the city that never sleeps has a little something for everyone.

Washington, D.C.

Just a four hour drive from New York is the seat of American political power: Washington, D.C. Politics isn’t all D.C. has to offer, though; once you’ve seen the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, walk the beautiful streets of Georgetown and check out one of D.C.’s best restaurants. World-renowned chef José Andres’ restaurant Oyamel is a favorite.

Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. The party capital of the United States offers ample opportunities to let loose, whether that’s in one of the city’s many famous clubs, at a top-notch restaurant, or by trying your hand at the slot machines.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley’s landscape is dotted with massive sandstone structures, giving the entire area an otherworldly feel. The Valley is home to around 200,000 Navajo Indians and has been the backdrop to countless Westerns. Don’t forget to take your camera here!

Grand Canyon

Another incredible natural landscape, and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a must on any travel buff or nature lover’s bucket list. The incredible 1.5-kilometer gorge is the result of six million years of erosion from the Colorado River. The area is great for hiking and you can even opt to take a helicopter ride over the Canyon to get a true sense of its immensity.

New Orleans

Head south from Memphis and you’ll find yourself in (arguably) America’s funnest city, New Orleans. A unique mix of European, Cajun, and Creole cultures, NoLA offers a seemingly endless array of activities. Visit the famous Café du Monde, have a drink on rowdy Bourbon Street, and take a stroll through the beautiful antebellum architecture of the Garden District.

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains offer stunningly beautiful nature, and have a rich cultural history and tradition for any visitor to explore. A drive around the crests of the region’s mountains is an unforgettable experience, as is pitching a tent in one of the area’s gorgeous forests.

                           

Nashville

Nashville may be the country music capital of the world, but that’s not all it is. This bustling city has become a foodie destination with standout restaurants like The Catbird Seat and Husk, and a has a spate of excellent boutiques, like Emerson Grace. Don’t miss the chance to line dance downtown.

Memphis

Another musical city, Memphis was the home of American icon Elvis Presley. Graceland, where he resided, is a must-visit. Afterwards, make sure you try legendary Memphis barbecue before heading to Beale Street’s bars to listen to some of the best blues musicians in the world.

 

San Francisco

Your final road trip stop, and a must-visit on any trip to the States, is San Francisco. Although the Golden City has become synonymous with the technology industry, there is much more to the city than Twitter and Facebook. Walk the famous Golden Gate Bridge, take in the buzz at the Marina, and check out the residual hippie culture of the Haight-Ashbury district.

East Texas

East Texas is a remarkable stretch of desert and swamp. Seeing this entirely unique ecosystem is a must for understanding the full scope of the United States. Embrace the open road and keep an eye out for swamps to explore.

San Antonio

The Mexican influence is strong in San Antonio, not least because of the Alamo, the famous last battle between the United States and Mexico that resulted in Texas becoming a part of the former. After you’ve visited, stroll along the famous River Walk and have what’s sure to be an excellent meal at one of the city’s many Mexican eateries.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Explore the enormous Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which is one of the largest caverns in the world, and is still only partially explored. The Caverns are best explored right before sunset, when thousands of bats take flight from the roofs of the caves.

Source: theculturetrip.com

Photos: 1-10 / Silvija Travel Tips

Toy Story Land To Open At Walt Disney World Resort – Silvija Travel Tips

It’s a joy-filled, toy-filled world as only Disney can create, and it opens June 30, 2018. The all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort is inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films.

Guests in Toy Story Land – located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – will feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other fun-loving Toy Story characters come to life in the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard.

And what a backyard! In a rich and colorful landscape straight from his vivid imagination, Andy has set up his toys for the best playtime ever.  Guests will be surrounded by giant building blocks, game board pieces and more.

Across eleven fun-filled acres, Toy Story Land will include two all-new attractions and one expanded favorite. Guests will whoosh along on a family-friendly roller coaster behind Slinky Dog, take a spin with flying saucers in toy spaceships and score high on the midway.

Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation. Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men and other toys and games will pour on the nostalgia for park-goers. Even the lampposts will be shaped like Tinkertoys.

“With set pieces, staging, attractions and experiences Toy Story Land represents the best of Walt Disney Imagineering’s collaboration with our storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals – and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy.”

Here’s the rundown:

  • Slinky Dog Dash. Andy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue are put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. And to complete his creation, Andy picked up everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a strrrrretch-ing slinky coil belly and dropped it on to the coaster track.  Get ready to ride inside Slinky Dog’s coils! Slinky Dog Dash is inspired by the delightful pooch spinoff of Slinky, the 1950s American toy classic. Riders of all ages will delight as Slinky Dog bends and twists his coils around curves, hills, bridges and drops in the Slinky-est coaster ever. Riders will zip around and above Toy Story Land, serving up panoramic views of all that the new land has to offer. Andy’s colorful creation will stretch Slinky Dog and his coils to the max – from his head to his upturned tail – and be fun for the entire family.
  • Alien Swirling Saucers. Brace yourself for out-of-this-world thrills because the aliens have powered up their flying saucers! Alien Swirling Saucers will immerse guests in the playful world of Andy’s toys. This galactic space toy is designed as a play set that Andy won at the Pizza Planet restaurant. Adorable little Toy Story green Aliens swirl about in their flying saucers with guests in tow in their rocket-ship toys, while “The Claw” hangs overhead.  This space adventure is bathed in music reimagined for intergalactic fun, dappled with multi-color lighting and sound effects from throughout galaxies.
  • Toy Story Mania! While Andy’s away, the toys will play. One of the most beloved attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!, gets an all-new colorful toy carnival game box entrance when the new land opens. In fact, this is the box that the Toy Story Mania! game came in. Recently updated with a third track, the popular attraction will put even more guests in the carnival playset action taking aim at 3D objects – using everything from baseballs to cream pies – in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games. To the high-scorer go bragging rights.

When it’s time for on-the-go refreshments, Woody’s Lunch Box will serve up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats from a walk-up window in a setting surrounded by Andy’s favorite toys and a giant vintage thermos. Woody’s Lunch Box will also feature Mini Babybel – the Official Snack Cheese of Walt Disney World Resort.

Toy Story Land is part of a multi-year reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the largest expansion in the theme park’s history.  Next year will see the premiere of the all-new, 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This new land will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action.  Also coming in 2019 is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The first ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction will feature new technology, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that put guests in the whacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short.

In Brief: Toy Story Land

Newest addition to Walt Disney World Resort, Toy Story Land is all-new at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Project announced: Aug. 15, 2015
Size of land: 11 acres
Opening: June 30, 2018
Featured attractions: Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, and an updated Toy Story Mania!
Toy Story Land First Look: Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests can get a preview of Toy Story Land. A detailed model of the new land is on display at the theme park’s Walt Disney Presents attraction.
Other Toy Story-Themed Lands Around the World:

  • Toy Story Playland, Walt Disney Studios Paris – August 17, 2010
  • Toy Story Land, Hong Kong Disneyland – November 17, 2011
  • Toy Story Land, Shanghai Disneyland – opens April 26, 2018

SOURCE Walt Disney World

100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania-“Light Festival”in Klaipeda

On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania, Klaipėda was inspired by the colors of the fourth “Light Festival”. Watching the thousands, the “Century Gates” created by Italian artists “Marianolight”, and the couple of dozens of other festival projects, dazzled on the Theater Square. Colorful, emotional, and Lithuania festival with the return of independence to the centenary, visitors will be waiting for two more days 💛💚❤

https://www.facebook.com/klaipedossventes/videos/1658236737602621/

The Latest from Vegas!

EE Hotels…Tuscany Suites & Casino unveils $5 million renovation of guest rooms… Tuscany Suites & Casino recently unveiled an interior refresh to its guest rooms across its 716 suites as part of a property-wide renovation. The project, which kicked off in 2015, is now complete, featuring new furniture, carpeting and bathroom vanity. The newly designed rooms feature thoughtful touches that reflect a modern take on the Tuscany region of central Italy, meticulously and personally selected by the property’s owner, Brett Heers. Standout implementations of the refreshed guest rooms include an updated colour palette and design, environmentally friendly lighting fixtures, new artwork, functional desk space for business travellers, additional power outlets, and faster in-room WiFi. www.tuscanylv.com

Dining… CATCH restaurant to splash into Las Vegas at ARIA Resort & Casino in 2018… The go-to dining destination for celebrities from Hollywood to New York City, will officially make its mark on the Las Vegas Strip as ARIA Resort & Casino debuts CATCH LAS VEGAS in autumn 2018. Known for attracting A-listers from around the world, the restaurant’s debut on The Strip will bring epic renditions of opulent seafood, sushi & steak and a something for everyone dining experience with seamless transitions and an elevated, interactive atmosphere from early evening to prime-time dinner, late night and special events. www.aria.com

Entertainment… New 2018 dates announced for “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life” at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino… The Backstreet Boys are back by popular demand with their record-breaking headlining residency at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Tickets to performances from July through November for “Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life” residency will go on sale to the public Friday 9th February at 10 a.m. PT. General ticket prices begin at $55 (£39.21), plus applicable tax and fees, and VIP packages and Meet & Greets will also be available.
www.planethollywoodresort.com

Only in Vegas… World’s finest epicurean talent returns to the Las Vegas Strip for 12th annual Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit… The country’s leading food, wine and spirits festival, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit returns 10th – 13th May 2018 with an extraordinary line-up of world-renowned chefs, master sommeliers and cutting-edge mixologists from Caesars Palace, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Cromwell, MGM Resorts International, The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas. The 12th annual epicurean affair will feature fan favourites, such as Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Gordon Ramsay, Guy Savoy, Julian Serrano, Lorena Garcia, Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Mina, Nobu Matsuhisa, Stephen Hopcraft and more. Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nevada will return as the official distributor for the festivities.  www.vegasuncorked.com

For more information, please visit: www.visitlasvegas.com

Vilnius is the most dynamically developing city in the Central and Eastern Europe

Vilnius was elected the most dynamically developing city of service centres in the region in the Central and Eastern European Service Centres Awards held in Warsaw on Thursday evening, and representatives of Lithuania won another five prizes.

Vilnius was awarded as the most dynamically developing city of service centres in the region for the fourth consecutive year.

According to the data of “Go Vilnius”, the decision of companies to invest in Vilnius is most affected by the supply of skilled workers, which 50% of investors named as a motive, convenient urban infrastructure and logistics (20%), favourable business climate (18%), proximity of markets, i.e. adjacent and conveniently reachable 3 large markets: the Nordic market, the Central and Eastern European market and the Western European market (15%).

“Investors and international service centres find Vilnius attractive, because of it being one of the most open, fastest and most dynamically developing cities not only in the region, but in Europe as well. Companies choose Vilnius primarily for its talented, skilled and multi-lingual professionals. Vilnius is the most radical implementer of the open data policy; moreover, we have the fastest Internet connection, the city is convenient for living and working. By creating attractive conditions for business, Vilnius has confidently and rapidly advanced being the investment attraction centre in the region for 4 years in a row”, – said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius.

International companies established in Vilnius also received awards for their work in the awards ceremony held in Warsaw. “Cognizant Technology Solutions” won in the BPO Firm of the Year category, “Danske Bank (GSL)” was elected the Shared Services Firm of the Year in the Baltic States for the second consecutive time, and “Western Union Processing Lithuania” received the award for the application of robotized solutions (Top RPA Implementation of the Year). Šarūnas Šuipis, General Manager of Western Union Lithuanian Division, was awarded as the Best CEO.

This year, Lithuania and companies operating in the country were nominated in 15 categories. Vilnius and Kaunas were nominated in the city categories, Telia, Danske Bank (GSL), Western Union, Nasdaq, Adform, Bentley Systems, Wix.com, NFQ Technologies and Skandia competed in various service centre categories, and Rosita Vasilkevičiūtė (Danske Bank (GSL)), Šarūnas Šuipis (Western Union) and Arminta Saladžienė (Nasdaq) were nominated candidates in the Best CEO category.

According to the data of “Go Vilnius”, out of more than 60 international service centres operating in the country in 2017 and employing about 15 thousand specialists, 44 centres were established in Vilnius. This number will continue to grow, because this year, Booking.com, the largest hotel reservation platform in the world, will settle in Vilnius. Its service centre is planned to hire as many as 900 people in the next few years.

The Central and Eastern European Service Centres Awards have been held for six consecutive years. Independent jury of business professionals evaluate cities of the region, service centres and their managers for the development of the service centre sector. More than 50 companies from Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Latvia and Lithuania were nominated for this year’s awards. The event held in the Warsaw Intercontinental Hotel on January 31 – February 1 brought together more than 300 guests, who listened to presentations and took part in discussions before the award ceremony.

Source: Vilnius.lt

Lithuanian born Viktoras Breneris designed Lincoln penny

Ar žinojote, kad žymioji JAV vieno cento moneta su Prezidento A.Linkolno atvaizdu buvo sukurta Šiauliuose gimusio žydų kilmės lietuvio Viktoro Brenerio?

“I wanted A.Lincoln to be more intimate, deeper, more kindly. I read everything I could find describing the man’s personal side. I studied his portraits and the death mask until I believed I knew him. My mind was full of Lincoln,” said Lithuanian born Litvak Viktoras Breneris, who designed Lincoln penny, as well as 125 other medals, sculptures, badges, etc.

The first Lincoln Cents were officially released on August 2, 1909 and are still being produced today. To have a President’s portrait on a coin was almost a “revolutionary” act: up to 1909 the only figures on everyday American coins were allegorical figures, like Liberty. It was President Theodore Roosevelt who authorized the creation of the Lincoln penny in 1909 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

Source: Lietuvos Respublikos ambasadaJAV

DYK that there is “Little Lithuania” in the USA

Ar žinojote, kad Pensilvanijoje yra ir lietuviškiausias JAV miestelis – Šenandorius (Shenandoah, Schuylkill apskritis), kur ir šiandien lietuviais save laiko iki penktadalio miestelio gyventojų. XX a. pradžioje jis vadintas “Amerikos Vilniumi”. Net 42 metus Shenandoah merais buvo lietuviai. Shenandoah miestelyje 1872 m. buvo įkurta pirmoji JAV lietuvių parapija, ir pastatyta pirmoji lietuvių bažnyčia.

Pensilvanijos valstijos sprendimu 2013 m. Šenandoriuje pastatytas istorinis žymeklis, kad čia yra “JAV mažoji Lietuva” (angl. Little Lithuania USA). Esame dėkingi “JAV mažosios Lietuvos” gyventojams už per šimtmečius puoselėjamą lietuvybę, Lietuvos laisvės ir nepriklausomybės stiprinimą bei Lietuvos vardo Amerikoje garasinimą.

DYK that there is “Little Lithuania” in the USA? A historical marker erected by the Penn sylvania Historical & Museum Commission stands in the town of Shenandoah (Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau), which has the highest percentage of residents with Lithuanian ancestry in the USA. Lithuanians first arrived in Shenandoah in 1869. The first Lithuanian parish was established here and the first Lithuania church was built in Shenandoah in 1872.

Source: Lietuvos Respublikos ambasada JAV

Slivija Travel Tips visits Holiday World Show 2018

Holiday World Show 2018 took place at the RDS Simmonscourt Dublin. It was an opportunity for visitors to meet over 1,000 travel professionals from around the world to plan a perfect holiday and take advantage of show-only specials and deals.

The travel experts came to the RDS from over 55 countries around the globe, including tour operators, travel agents, hotel chains, national tourist organisations, airlines, theme parks, cruise companies, campsites and more. Whether you’re seeking that once-in-a­lifetime trip, planning a well-deserved family holiday or making plans for a romantic getaway, Holiday World Show is the must-attend annual travel event of the year.

The ‘Visit USA Pavilion’ at the 2018 Holiday World Show was the largest in the show’s 29-year history. Travel experts from across the states showcased over 40 destinations, from wine tasting in the Napa Valley to theme park adventures in Orlando and shopping breaks in the Big Apple. Atlantic City is one of the new US destinations for 2018, offering Irish holidaymakers the chance to experience the world’s largest casinos, fine dining and a city boardwalk famed for its ‘perfect people watching’ cafes, confectionary shops and amusements.

Silvija Travel Tips www.silvijatraveltips.com