‘Wonderful’ Lithuania guide

By Stanley Mui
This item appears on page 27 of the November 2018 issue.

While in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 27, 2017, the group I was traveling with stopped by the tourism information office in the Old Town. As that day happened to be World Tourism Day, we were told to draw a ticket from a box and were given a prize: free tickets to an Old Town walking tour. Our guide was wonderful!

Visitors met at 4 p.m. in front of the Vilnius Cathedral and were split into two groups. Seven of us (three friends, three college students from Latvia and I) joined Sigitas Beržinskas.

Sigitas speaks impeccable English and is an excellent guide. He was born and raised close to Vilnius, and, though he's traveled extensively, he loves Vilnius, so he returned there. He loves telling people about his city. While we walked from sight to sight, Sigitas patiently answered questions about all aspects of life under Communist rule.

Most walking tours last no more than 2½ hours, but Sigitas kept walking and talking for over three hours. We were thirsty, tired and in need of a break, but because of his enthusiasm, we kept going. (He did ask us if we needed a break, but we told him "No.")

Although the tour was free for us, we gave Sigitas a nice big tip to show our appreciation. He was a special guide, combining history with personal stories and pictures. He stood out among all of the guides we've had on free walking tours.

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Sigitas Beržinskas told ITN, "For the Vilnius tourism information center, I often lead the tour titled 'Walking Tour' [visit www.govilnius.lt and click on 'Tourism,' 'What to See' and 'Sightseeing Tours']. With a maximum group size of 30, it is free for visitors, though the guides accept tips. Tours may go longer than the typical 2.5 hours, depending on the zealousness and physical status of the group members. I can also take individuals on private tours, and for a 2.5-hour tour I charge a total of €40 [near $47] for a small group or €50 for a bigger one. I prefer to be given at least a week's notice. Call +370 618 76141 or email berziukas@gmail.com."