Lithuania

Lithuania

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  • Day10

    Today we woke up to drizzly rain. First day on the cycing tour was good. Did a walking tour of 700 year old Vilnius in the drizzly rain. Very pretty and old. We weren't looking forward to riding in it but we then got on a bus and drove a bit to see a castle at Trakai and have lunch. Best castle set up I've seen so far. All the rooms were open with great displays of normal castle life for the Duke.
    Then the rain stopped and sun came out as we got ready for the ride. Rode 27 k along a country road, then back on the bus to Kaunus. Very nice, a few rolling hills but easy enough. Just came back from a lovely Lithuanian meal in a great little restaurant. They seem to eat late here or maybe just our guide does ??
    There is 14 of us- all Australians!! A great bunch - lots of laughs.
    4 couples from a bike group in Melbourne, 2 from Sydney, 2 from Coffs Harbour, Nicole my room mate from Brisbane and me.
    Was great to be back on the bike 😊😊
    Good news- Nicole got her luggage just before we left Vilnius
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  • Day9

    I got into Lithuania about 6pm, grabbed a taxi to our Hotel Tilto, Vilnius. I met my room mate Nicole, we got on really well!!
    Then we had our meet and greet with the group and guide at 7.30 pm. Nice bunch of people- all from Australia as it turns out, they could've been from anywhere.
    Then it was time to look for some tea. Nicole had been here since yesterday so knew where Old Town was. We walked thete and found a nice cafe/pub where we found some Lithuania style food. I had small dumplings stuffed with beef or pork with a blue cheese sauce- yummo! !
    Nicole's luggage hadn't followed her from her Warsaw connection so she without her stuff and was ringing to find out where it was. Should be here tomorrow??
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  • Day19

    Just back from a good walk exploring the old part of Vilnius across the river. Lots of decaying buildings and renovation. Sipping a well earned beer ahead of a dine around meal back in the old town. Room has a lovely view.

  • Day11

    Today we dodged the rain again!! It rained even poured a lot of the day but fined up for our ride in the afternoon.
    First we got on the bus and visited another castle which was actually a manor and is now converted to a hotel and convention centre. Very opulently decorated. Would love to stay there!! It is also an artists studio and gallery.
    Driving west through the countryside was very pretty and changed to more fertile country and farm animals seen. They have wind turbines for energy here as it gets windy.
    We visited a park where "pagan" rituals are still performed and got a nice view of a river.
    Lunch was very special - near Silute , it was at a home of people who make lunches with their own homegrown ingredients. It was very traditional, complete with buffalo grass vodka in a shot glass (wow, what a punch!) and lemon balm tea.
    After lunch we cycled the 1km to the nearby bird observatory were they catch birds (and dragonflies ) to band them. They catch around 5000 birds of all species a day and band them all. We then got back on our bikes and cycled 25km further west through a main country road and then up a forestry road. This track was very pretty through the tall pines, was gravel and a few hard core corrugations to rattle the bones. We came across a lake where people camp and windsurf . We got to Vente where we bussed into Klaipeda in the rain!! We were so lucky!! 💧💧
    Late tea at a nearby restaurant, I had pork spare ribs in brandy sauce. Very nice, sweet as well as smoky.
    Klaipeda was founded in the 1200's and was part of Prussia until 1920 when Lithuania was formed.
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  • Day3

    Wir haben heute morgen dichten Nebel. Der See in unmittelbarer Nähe ist nicht zu sehen. Um 8 Uhr geht es auf eine unruhige Etappe, da die Straßen vom Schwerlastverkehr schwer in Mitleidenschaft gezogen werden. Bis zur litauische Grenze sehen wir ausgedehnte Felder, wenige Störche sind noch da. In Marijampole nehmen wir unsere Reiseleiterin auf, die uns bis zur russischen Grenze begleiten wird. Es regnet heute nur einmal!! Wir erfahren, dass der 23. August in Litauen der Tag des Abflugs der Störche ist....erklärt, warum wir relativ wenige sehen. Litauen und Lettland sind waldreicher: sonst kann ich keine Veränderung feststellen.Um 17.30 unserer Zeit kommen wir am Hotel an - hier ist es eine Stunde später. Die Zimmer sind ok. Die ersten Beschwerden gehen ein, weil die Größe der Zimmer nicht akzeptabel wäre. Bin dann erst auf die Reaktion in den nächsten Tage gespannt....
    Abendessen findet im 10.Stock statt. Ständig fliegen gefühlte hundert schwarze Vögel vorbei - wie bei Hitchcock. Jetzt bietet das Fernsehprogramm keine Abwechslung mehr. Russische und lettische Programme können uns nicht so begeistern....
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  • Day374

    I first heard the weather being described as "Baltic" by a scottish person when we were huddled as a group round a pot of tea in a mountain hut. I thought, wowza, it must be a whole new level of miserable if a Scotsman describes weather as bad!

    Today we found out first-hand what Baltic summer conditons can be like when yesterday's rainy blast continued into today but with the added gift of 60km/h winds.

    Winds on a boat = great.
    Winds on a touring bike which handles like a boat = not great.

    As Peter mentioned, the roads in Lithuania are easy to navigate because there aren't many of them. The minor roads (sandy tracks) weren't an option today as the dust was being blown into clouds that you could see from a distance. The major roads are very open, offering a great view of the landscape and traffic, but complete exposure to all weather conditions.

    We only managed to move forwards as a snail's pace today and haven't quite made it to the coast. The rain came as forecast mid-afternoon causing a wardrobe change to winter again : bandanas, gloves, layers and waterproofs.

    When the roads were feeling risky (leaning into the road to stay balanced, getting sheltered and then drafted by a lorry was causing numerous stops/ wobbles into the gutter ) we had to make a plan B so looked for a B & B. There was no way we were going to meet our target campsite in those winds, and our ultralight tent stood no chance of survival.

    The first town had 2 options on the map.
    In reality, 1 had burned down, 1 was for sale. = another perilous 8km of sideways cycling until the next town.

    Next mission is buying more meths for the stove again.. the same problem we faced a few weeks ago in Slovakia. (We can't really stockpile it because of the bulk and weight). In our current town we reached a DIY store with EVERYTHING (10s of types of gloves, every conceivable door handle)....but no meths. We were told that some other clear spirit was the same and would work, we bought some and now have a very sooty pan and a stinking burner that doesn't burn that fuel. Oops!

    If anyone has an insights on buying Brennspiritus /meths in the Baltics, get in touch!
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  • Day113

    It's KAUNASTIC!

    Thats what they say and it makes complete sense to me now. To find out for yourselves, you will just have to come here! A fab city with lots to do for tourists but very few tourists around.. perfect :)

    We are staying in the suburbs in a lovely cottage in someones garden. Stuart has won a fan already in the guise of the owners dog who is waiting for him each time he steps out of the door. Kaunas acted as the capital of Lithuania between 1920 and 1939. It is our first taste of Lithuania and is home to a castle, a very successful basketball team, a huge mix of architecture and a devil museum, amongst many other things.

    After a round the houses bus trip on a mini bus we arrived across the beautiful river Nemunas straight into the centre of the old town, past the Perkunas "Thunder" house, an impressive gothic building housing a jesuit museum. We found our way to the Baroque style Town Hall in a very attractive square to collect a mound of maps from the tourist information.

    Heading first to the Cathedral we were treated to lovely singing from the balcony accompanied by the organist and quickly realised that we were inadvertent guests at a wedding! Don't worry we weren't the only tourists there, but whilst Stuart scarpered I lingered a while to see the dress of course! She was one of three brides that we saw in Kaunas this morning, the weather was lovely - and not too warm! - 23 degrees, obviously a perfect day for a wedding!

    Moving through old town streets mooching for souvenirs, we walked the length of "Laisves Aleja" (Freedom Avenue). It is reported to be the longest pedestrian street in Europe, so not surprisingly half way along we needed to stop for lunch. Our intended lunch stop was quite a distance away so we settled for Mexican. And boy it didn't disappoint! Food was delicious and Stuart had a skull drink. A cocktail in a skull shaped glass with food on cocktail sticks and a flaming sambuca in the centre.. this boy sure knows how to choose a drink! I meanwhile sampled a Lithuanian beer which apparently is the best in the World. Now where have I heard that before....

    On a majorly full stomach, and having been to quite a few historical museums recently, we decided to visit the Devils Museum. Basically it is collection of 2000+ devil statues housed in the house of the late collector, an artist named Antanas Zmuidzinavicius. Completely random but a bit of fun and interesting to read about the folklore from Lithuania and other countries regarding the devil, be he stupid or scary.

    To Stuart's delight we found another funicular, this one being the oldest in Lithuania Unlike the one in Prague - where we had to queue for 20 minutes - there was only one other guy riding it.
    At the top of the funicular we visited Christ's Resurrection Church. It was completed in 2005 and apparently is seen as an eyesore by some. It cost us 1.2 euro to walk the 165 steps to the top where you have great views of the city.

    Kaunas is also full of street art that they are obviously very proud of, so much so that they are all marked on the tourist maps.. We passed a lot on our travels, including an old man the size of a building with a pipe full of stars, a multi coloured shack and a space hedgehog.

    According to one of my many guides, we visited/saw 10 of the 15 top things to do in Kaunas today so all in all a good days sightseeing!
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  • Day115

    "According to a widespread popular belief, the word Lietuva (Lithuania in Lithuanian) originated from the Lithuanian words lyti (to rain) and lietus (rain)" (thanks Wikipedia). This was also one of the first things that our guide on the free (but not free) tour told us.

    And rain it did today! Unfortunately for me it didn't seem to lower the temperature at all...

    It rained about half way through the tour and it is possible that that, along with tiredness and having seen so much dampened my view of Vilnius. It has all the factors: Old Town; Palace; Cathedral; Castle ruins; Museums etc, but it didn't have the same feeling as we had in Kaunas.

    We did a free (but not free) tour as I had - perhaps an omen to the day - not made any plans as to what to do/see in Vilnius.

    Possibly the highlight of the day for me was entering the "independent state" of Uzupis. I write in quotations as it is a self-declared independence. When you cross the bridge it has a road sign showing that you should smile on arrival, as Stuart is modelling so wonderfully.

    It is home to many "artists, Bohemians and yuppies" according to our Rough Guide. These include the former Mayor of Vilnius who is now a part time uber driver. He is known for a video of a stunt showing him drive over a car parked illegally in a bus lane. Highlighting Vilnius non-cycle friendly nature. You can copy and paste this link to see him in action! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-fWN0FmcIU

    Uzupis also has a square dedicated to Tibet - which caused issues with Chinese relations - a fountain that disperses beer once a year; a statue showing Jesus as the worlds first backpacker and it even has its own constitution. This 41 point constitution is inscribed in various languages on multiple metal plaques. If you excuse me in the reflection, you can read these in the photos. Our favourites were numbers 3 and 12.

    After the tour was finished we headed to try some Lithuanian food - finally!

    I have the traditional potato dumplings and Stuart had potato pancakes. These were very tasty and cheap so extra bonus! After the meal we walked to find the statue to Tony Soprano at the train station. Decided to check it out as Stuart loves the Sopranos. It is huge and completely weird but helped us walk off some of our potato calories :)

    Onward to the next capital city tomorrow - Riga!
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  • Day372

    Last night's campsite was quaint - the old guy who owned it was constantly on patrol looking after his 2 sets of guests. Still on a power crash after Poland we struggled to get up this morning. It was light until 11 pm and then a thunder storm and burst of rain woke us before our 7 am alarm. The reset process went until 9am when we needed to get up in order to manage our 85 planned kms today.

    Breakfast was last night's pizza remains, eaten standing, simultaneously using the carton as a plate AND a table. We had a leisurely coffee/tea with our very inspiring German Land Crusier camper neighbours enjoying their adventure stories and advice. The conversation kept us occupied in thought all morning and we've decided that such a Land Crusier trip would be a great way to see non-cyclable parts of the world!

    The route for the day was a simple 50km straight on, then take a left for 35km.. pretty much...! Flanking Kaliningrad all the time as we head coastwards. Lithuanian roads lulled us into a false sense of ease for a slick 40km on beautifully smooth asphalt before we turned into a very strong headwind which pretty much halved our average speed. We had to make the decision of "shelter in the forest with mutant mosquitos" (who were biting through a couple of layers of clothes) or "keep riding in a monsoon". After trying the former for 2 minutes we decided the lesser of the two evils was to get soaked through and rode into the rain just like the cliché life mantra about learning to dance in the rain, as a cycle tourist sometimes your butt hurts too much for mosquitos to take a bite, you have to cycle in the rain from time to time. "A free nature experience" as Peter called it. ;)

    Tonight's campsite is something special. You couldn't make this up in a dream;

    It's a house /museum, owned by an old gentleman with a doctor title.
    With a compost toilet. (No flush)
    A well for water and washing.
    The camp space is inbetween rusty farm equipment as part of his exhibits.
    He boiled the kettle for us to mix with well water for a wash = naked washing in the exhibit field using our watering can head shower canister. Very surreal!
    He guided us round the exhibits -printing presses, cinema equipment, Russian cars, huge stone busts of Lenin amongst other unrelated objects such as a corset from Bismark's era and some heavy old russian hair curlers.
    A stork nest, complete with offspring, is just meters from the tent.
    The owner wouldn't accept any money for the camping and said we shouldn't pay as we are tourists. We insisted he took a donation for the museum because such kindness deserves a bit of reciprocity.

    We're now camp cooking in a lovely little covered area (hand built) using a tree stump as a chopping board and cooker table. Its experiences like this that money can't buy and you won't find in a guide book.

    What an amazing day!
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  • Day266

    Arrived at 6am in Vilnius this morning fourty minutes ahead of schedule and the temperature a balmy 7 degrees. I don't think I'll ever learn to sleep on buses or trains. I think I managed to sleep for an hour. I booked a room at 5am on the bus and when I got to the hotel they let me in right away so I could get some sleep. So nice! Rise and shine at 9:30 and I hit the coffee shop across the street for a cappuccino, eat my sandwich from the night before and hit the pavement for an all day tour. First thing I notice is the horrible condition of the sidewalk and know that I'm going to have to keep my eyes to the ground so I don't trip. There city is being restored and you can see it everywhere. There are a lot if churches here. I start out by seeing the town hall, cathedral basilica and bell tower, the hill of crosses, Bernardine gardens, and palace of the grand dukes of Lithuania. It's already so hot and the climb to the hill of crosses is steep, boards in the stairs are broken, and the bank is silty. I get to the top sweating but the city view is fantastic. On the way down I step on a step and it gives way and I go falling forward and down the stairs. Ouucccchhhh! I manage not to break any bones but I can feel the stinging and cut on my leg under my tights and I'm covered in silt. I walk to the gardens and regroup under a shady tree while I watch a wedding. I manage to get back to the hotel after finding a great and cheap organic good store, have a shower to clean my wound and vegetate for a few hours. Have to wash my clothes from all the silt. Back out at 6:30 after having a nap and checked out the rest of the old town I missed earlier in the day. Hard to find a grocery store here and after walking 2.5 hours I found one. Bought my water (mint) and headed back to the room to book my trip to Latvia tomorrow. Walking back I noticed women pacing the street and asked the hotel clerk if this was the red light district and after having to explain what it meant, he said yes. Hmm, interesting!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Lithuania, Litauen, Lithuania, Litaue, Lituwenia, ሊቱዌኒያ, Lituania, ليتوانيا, ܠܬܘܢܝܐ, Litva, Літва, Литва, Lituyani, লিথুয়েনিয়া, ལི་ཐུ་ཨེ་ནི་ཡ།, Litvanija, Lituània, Lituanya, Lëtewskô, Lituania nutome, Λιθουανία, Litovujo, Leedu, لیتوانیا, Lituaanii, Liettua, Litava, Lituanie, Litouwen, An Liotuáin, લિથુઆનિયા, Lituweniya, ליטא, लिथुआनिया, Lityani, Litvánia, Լիտվա, Litháen, リトアニア共和国, ლიტვა, Litwania, Litaueni, លីទុយអានី, ಲಿಥುವೇನಿಯಾ, 리투아니아, Littaue, لیتوانایا, Lithouani, Lisuwenya, Litouwe, Litwani, ລິເທີເນຍ, Lietuva, Litoania, Litovia, Литванија, ലിത്വാനിയ, Litwanja, လစ်သူယေးနီးယား, Lituantlān‎, लिथुअनिया, Lithuanie, Litvu, ଲିଥାଆନିଆ, Litaun, Litwa, Laītawa, Lituânia, Lituwaniya, Lituaniya, Литуания, लिथ्वानिया, Lituana, Lituanïi, ලිතුවේනියාව, Lituweeniya, Lituani, லிதுவேனியா, లిథుయేనియా, Lituánia, ลิทัวเนีย, Lifiuenia, Litvanya, Litua, لتھوانیا, Łituania, Li-tu-a-ni-a (Lithuania), Litown, Lietuvän, Litwaneye, ליטע, Orílẹ́ède Lituania, 立陶宛, i-Lithuania

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