Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Bunking in the Baltics
Greetings from Vilnius, Lithuania where I am attending yet another free market think tank conference focused on Europe. Given the static national economies controlled by regulatory restrictions and militant trade unions in Europe we certainly need more of these think tanks so if you can lend your support in any fashion please visit this website - http://www.rbeurope.org.
Today was spent in several meetings so I have several reviews to offer below:
1.) Hotel -- I am staying at the "Reval Hotel Lietuva" which is located across the river from the Old Town area. The Reval was constructed in 1983 but was completely refurbished around 2003 to rid the structure of its lifeless Soviet-style motif. Today it is a very comfortable hotel with a fitness center better than most I have seen in Europe and an extremely helpful staff. You can find them at -- http://www.revalhotels.com . This hotel comes recommended with my "4" rating (1 to 5).
2.) Lunch -- A native of Vilnius met me for lunch today so of course we went for sushi!!! Apparently the Lithuanian diet is primarily dominated by meat and potatoes (easy vegans!!) so he wanted to go Japanese. We ate lunch at "Miyako Susis-Sasimas" which is across the street from the Reval Hotel in a shopping center. My starter was a sushi combination followed by a main of duck and both dishes were very good. I most enjoyed the ambiance given the overdose of feng shui in the restaurant plus the waitress apparently was a supermodel working a part time job :) Note to the "tax and spend" big government types on my blog -- the V.A.T. was 18% which is lower than some European nations but is still clearly a form of theft via dining.
3.) Happy Hour -- met with a client in the top floor bar/night club of the Reval Hotel (22nd floor and they have a 13th floor on the elevators!!), "Sky Bar" , which offers an excellent view of the city. Since they were kind enough to allow me to "borrow" their drinks menu I can report they use a "solar system" theme for their specialty drinks using names like -- "Earth" for the brandy, orange liqueur, lemon juice drink and "Mercury" for the rum, orange liqueur, coconut syrup, cream drink. But I could not help but notice their list of these planet drinks was out of order from top to bottom (okay I am rather anal about such things) as -- Earth, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Uranus, and Mercury with drink prices ranging from 11 to 20 litas (about 4 to 7 US dollars). Correct order of course would have been -- Mercury, Venus, Earth................
4.) Dinner -- After wandering through the Old Town area my client and I opted to eat at one of the traditional, former coal cellars on Pilies Street called "I Sveikata" which basically translates to "cheese, bon appetit..........." My starter was the "Surprise Salad" which was dominated by shredded carrots and a wonderful, unknown dressing and my main was "Zeppelins" which are basically meat-filled (dare I say bacon-like???) boiled potatoes. We both had a "hot chocolate" which was not anything like grandma made for us back in the US of A since this was as black as crude oil and was coupled with a handful of hazel nuts. I am still dizzy from drinking it so it will probably affect my typing.
Good night for now.