From Vilnius to Kaunas, and Kaunas to Klaipeda, we had arrived at the bus station and just bought our tickets then and there for the next bus. And we had had no problems. The buses were coach buses, large enough to accommodate 40 to 50 people (I’m guessing) with free wifi, outlets to charge phones, and space to stretch out a little. We envisioned no problems with our proposed Klaipeda to Riga trip – buses definitely ran the route (we had checked before deciding to visit Klaipeda).
The first bus was at 10 am, so we arrived at the bus station around 9:30 and walked up to the ticket counter.
“Hi, two tickets to Riga?”
“Oh, no, two tickets. We need two tickets.”
“No, one ticket. There’s one ticket for Riga. Maybe, ask the bus driver. Maybe. MAYBE.”
“Ok, I guess we’ll ask the bus driver.”
How, we thought, had the bus sold out? Is the route extra popular? Was it because it was a Saturday? Was it because it was the first trip that day? Maybe it was because it was the first trip of the day on Saturday on an extra popular route!
It turns out that it was nearly sold out because it was essentially an extended mini-van/mini-bus. Able to sit about 20 people. We waited until all the passengers with tickets had boarded, and approached the bus driver to find out if maybe, just maybe, there was enough room for the two of us.
He stood there doing calculations (If 2 people get off in the next city, but one person gets on, and if 4 people get off at the second stop, but only 1 gets on…) before deciding that yes….there was juuuuuust enough room for the two of us. So we loaded our bags onto the bus, clamored aboard, and realized……the only two seats left together were at the very back, between a very tall man, and a man with the widest shoulders I’ve ever seen. (This includes football players I’ve seen on TV).
Right after we got on, another passenger (also English speaking) asked for a seat on the bus, and (somewhat) badgered the bus driver into giving him the one open seat on the bus. When he finally boarded the bus, we headed out towards Riga, with the two of us squished in the back.
The bus stopped in Šiauliai and a few people got out to stretch their legs. We briefly changed seats (they came back, we had to move back to the squished seats), and then it happened.
Someone new got on.
And walked to the back.
And walked to the front.
And started debating with the driver.
And someone turned to us (having heard us speaking English to one another) and said “Too many tickets sold, haha.”
I have no idea what happened with the woman who had bought a ticket but had no seat…she wasn’t on our bus as we headed out towards Riga. All I know is I spent 4 hours crammed into a seat and had to unfold myself when we finally arrived.
But we made it!