Today, my friends, we’re talking about taking the bus. No, I’m not getting reminiscent of my elementary school days, I’m talking about grownup bus travel not only between cities, but between countries! On our recent trip to the Baltic States, Steve and I decided that taking the Lux Express buses between Vilnius and Riga, then Riga to Tallinn, would be the most efficient for our travels. Buses are not that popular in the United States, but in Europe bus travel abounds!
We followed the historic Baltic Way, 650 Kilometers of Freedom. It’s historic because in 1989, 2 million Baltic men, women, and children held hands starting from the Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, past the Freedom Monument in Riga, and ending at Tall Hermann’s Tower in Tallinn.
We probably could have bought tickets the day we planned to travel, but Steve and I like to be a bit more prepared than that. We did some searching and found a company called Lux Express that operates several buses around the Baltics and much of Eastern Europe. Several companies operate similar bus lines, but this one seemed like the nicest. They have free wi-fi, lots of legroom, a bathroom on board, complementary hot beverages, and entertainment options for each individual seat, including movies in English! I watched a few Disney movies. (By the way, that’s a hint about an upcoming trip!)
The ride from Vilnius to Riga was 185 miles (298 kilometers) and took 4 hours. The wi-fi was pretty good, but the bus looked a little beaten up on the inside. The tray attached to the arm of my seat was chipped and a little lop-sided, and for some reason my earbuds didn’t work with their entertainment apparatus. I used the headphones provided instead, which was fine. I’m not a fan of using the toilet on things that move like buses, trains, and boats, but it’s nice that there was one provided!
The bus from Riga to Tallinn covered 191 miles (308 kilometers), and took 4 hours and 25 minutes. We received a treat and a bottle of water when we boarded, I guess because the ride was longer! The entertainment options were the same. Instead of a Disney fairytale themed movie marathon, I decided to go for Pirates of the Caribbean.
These bus experiences took less time than my night train to Bratislava experience, but I’d have to say I prefer the bus! Granted I didn’t have to sleep on the bus! I liked doing the traveling in the daylight. I got to see the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian countrysides, and we arrived early enough in the evening that we got to spend some time in the city before heading to bed!
Have you traveled by bus before? What was your experience like?