There’s something so beautiful about seeing popular holiday places in the off season. It’s my opinion that you haven’t really lived if you’ve never seen usually overcrowded beaches devoid of human nature when the weather is below freezing. Okay, maybe I’m weird. Maybe I’m the only one who has Coney Island and the Hamptons on my winter New York must-do list but not on my summer one.
Winter makes things eerie, desolate, dramatic. Right now, it’s August and I’m missing my favourite season so let me tell you about the time we took a train from Vilnius to Trakai in February.Trakai is a town just west of Vilnius in South East Lithuania. It’s popular for holidaymakers during the summer as it homes plenty of the country’s greatest lakes and the Trakai Island Castle. Water sport enthusiasts can ski, paddle board, kayak or canoe around the castle or simply enjoy soaking up the sun on the shore. In the winter, however, it’s another story.In February, the lakes were sealed off with a layer of ice and the castle was almost deserted. Funnily enough, the town of Trakai itself was quite lively – people still live there, after all. We walked past music schools, cafes, restaurants and many colourful homes, most of them more affluent than others I’d seen from the train passing smaller villages. The majority of people we saw surrounding the lake and the castle were locals out walking their dogs.We went at twilight, as we had just missed the earlier train by seconds, but this turned out to be a blessing rather than a curse, as the setting sun made the frozen lakes look even more beautiful than they would have been in perfect daylight.If you’re planning on visiting Trakai in the dead of winter, first of all, remember to bring your gloves because it’s chilly out there. Secondly, definitely do it! Trakai was one of my favourite parts of our short stay in Lithuania. I’m sure I would have loved it just as much if I had gone in the summer, too.