Today an interview with Gabija Venclovaite, Spotter for our Vilnius Cityblog.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a senior student of political science and international relations. I have been living in Vilnius for 4 years and even though I was always quite active and exploring the city a lot, these are my golden days! As I don’t have lectures anymore, I am trying different new dining places, bars and going to many cultural events. I am liberal in politics and in everyday life, an activist of human rights and environmentalism. My main fields of interest now are renewable energy resources and sustainable development. I hope to prove the importance of them in my bachelor thesis.
I am obsessed with traveling and I try to go abroad at least every few months. And it is always so good to be back to my beloved friends, the little narrow streets and cosy old town wine places. I also love writing, independent movies, modern art and dance, green tea, exotic cuisines, beautiful clothes and accessories! I always need something new and fresh. We live only once and the world is full of amazing people, things, tastes, colors and places!
How do you like being a Spotter?
I feel really great being a spotter because whenever I go somewhere and think ‘Oh my God’, this is such a cool place, I just write about it and spread the word! When I ask to take a picture in a shop or restaurant and explain why, the workers/owners are really happy and feel so pleased! I know that it is quite hard if you want to open something unique/ not mainstream in Vilnius and also make a living out of it, therefore websites like Spotted By Locals are a great initiative. I really hope that there were travelers who found my tips helpful and visited something they were fascinated by.
Which prejudices about Vilnius are true? Which ones are not?
I would say most prejudices about Vilnius are not true. Foreigners tend to think that we have lots of Soviet heritage left and that the people here are similar to Russians by their culture, cuisine, etc. All my foreign friends who came to visit me or foreigners I met, said that they were really surprised by the fact how Western Vilnius actually is and that the people here are so friendly and open-hearted. You can come by yourself, find friends after 5 minutes in a pub, be offered a couch to sleep on, cook together and just have fun! The true thing – Vilnius is really small, of course it is very convenient, but you will always meet someone you know wherever you go, so if you are having one of those bad hair days, better stay at home!
What do you know about Vilnius that no tourist will know?
Well, of course, I know many things that tourists would never know; therefore I always try to help foreigners as much as I can. I know one street next to the station which is full of ecological shops, selling food, unique sweets, and cosmetics. It also has some funny bars and vintage shops. I know when and here you can go for the best salad, best kebab or local cheese. Where the shopping assistants are the nicest on earth. Where you can watch a great indie movie for free. I even could show a very interesting kindergarten, where the playground looks like a spaceship and modern art gallery exhibition put together! Recently I found out that there‘s a music website, where you can choose the music according to your mood or activity. I am just like that website in a case of Vilnius. Tell me your mood, what you feel like doing or seeing and I will choose the best places for you!
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Vilnius at the moment?
Well, definitely the old town and the centre are the most popular areas to live in. While living there all the main destinations: galleries, museums, clubs, restaurants, parks can be reached by foot. You don’t have to care about traffic jams, public transport and just walk walk walk. I couldn’t imagine myself living anywhere else. To be honest, the so called sleeping districts are quite grey and boring.
Check out all articles by Gabija Venclovaite and our other Spotter interviews.