Vilnius – Intro

City # 13, June ’14. Vilnius is slow food, an acquired taste. And I had trouble acquiring it. The fact that I was only there for five days, and not feeling well for most of my stay did not help. Yes, the walled, historical city centre, protected by UNESCO, is beautiful. And yes, it was here that I saw the Dutch football team defeat Spain: the first half in the crowded Dutch embassy, the second half in the hushed atmosphere of the lobby of the local Kempinski. But did I get to know the city? No. Vilnius is located at the geographical centre of Europe; an official plaque marks the exact spot. I’ve heard that one before. Cape Good Hope was long regarded as the most southern point in Africa. Slovakia thinks that it is the middle point of Europe, and I heard similar comments in Vienna. It all depends on how you define Europe: if all of Russia is included, then perhaps Moscow is the geographical centre.