Lithuania
Plungė District Municipality

Here you’ll find travel reports about Plungė District Municipality. Discover travel destinations in Lithuania of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

11 travelers at this place:

  • Day1090

    Midsummer at Šeirė Campground, Plateliai

    June 21 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We've returned to the beautiful Plateliai Lake. Previously we'd spent three wonderful days in the woodland grove we named Dragonfly Dell, but we're now here to join the midsummer celebrations and as such, have chosen Šeirė; a free campground close to Plateliai yacht club and about a kilometre away from the town centre.

    On our last visit we'd quized the tourist information officer and found out a midsummer event was taking place at the yacht club on Sunday 23rd of June. We couldn't quite believe it when Will found an overnight spot just a couple of hundred metres away! Arriving early afternoon on the summer solstice the long car park wasn't too busy, but it soon filled up. We had a view over the grassy hill leading down, through a border of trees to the water, where a dual plank pier led out through green reeds. What looked like a homemade pedalo was moored along with a few wooden rowing boats. Visitors could hire these from a character wearing a sailor hat that lived in a caravan on site.

    We took a walk down to the yacht club which had standup pedalboards for hire, something we've never seen before. There was a bar and café but for some reason neither of us felt it was our sort of place. White dinghies floated in line along a couple of jetties and beachgoers lined the narrow strip of sand where the cut grass ended.

    The weather was great throughout, with blue skies and temperatures averaging 25°C. Vicky's health wasn't good but Will canoed, fished, swam and took her for a short paddle around a nearby island. The water was incredibly clear; perhaps the cleanest we've ever seen. There is a cycle route all the way around Plateliai Lake, which we explored a short section of on foot, finding a viewpoint on a small rise. From here we could see islands and trace the line of the serated shore. The European Union had part funded the path, a couple of large, well used insect hotels and information boards showing some of the diverse wildlife living in Žemaitija National Park.

    Cars spilled in and out each day. Groups erected small tents and gathered around the many picnic tables with bbqs and fire pits they'd brought with them. Music blasted intermittently but we didn't mind. We'd come to experience midsummer in Lithuania and this was part of it!

    Lithuanian midsummer festivities have become somewhat mingled with St John's Day in the country's move from Paganism to Catholicism. While Christians celebrate Joninės, the whole community, regardless of faith, come together for midsummer, known as Rasa (Dew Holiday) or Kupolė (a name linked to the collection of herbs).

    It was extremely difficult to find any information about the event at Plateliai online. There were no specifics in English, but somehow Will came up with the timetable, so we knew roughly when to expect things on the evening of the 23rd, although much of the translation didn't make sense.

    Preparations took place during the day on Sunday. The long grass in the field between us and the yacht club had been cut and raked into hay stacks. Tree trunks wrapped in oak leaves formed an arch and two tall poles were erected, one with an oil can and wick on top and the other with sawn off branches sticking out in all directions. A pyramid of logs stood ready to be lit while a smaller assembly of branches stood atop a raised stone fire pit. A gazebo, bench seating, audio and light rig was arranged at one corner of the concrete platform that was a permanent fixture at the base of the hill.

    The festival began at 8pm with a troop of singers dressed in traditional clothes, leading the way through the Gates of Kupoles (the oak archway). Plenty of people were dressed normally, but a large number had handmade flower or wheat garlands on their heads and some men even wore large oak leaf garlands. As each person stepped under the arch they washed their hands and face with water poured from a earthenware jug. We think the water represented dew, which is believed to bring good health to humans, all animals and even gardens. It seemed anyone was welcome to join this ritual symbolising renewal, so we too passed through.

    By this time, hundreds of people had gathered. There were plenty to fill the concrete floor, joining those in costume in group dances accompanied by accordions, drum and singing. Will joined in with a few at this point too!

    After a while, 'Čerauninkė' signs on wooden stakes were driven into the hillside. We couldn't find a direct translation for this word but gather it meant some sort of fortune teller, as a wise looking person sat at each sign, while people lined up to present them with small bouquets of wildflowers and have 3 minutes of insight imparted.

    All the while the music and dancing continued. As the sun set, a party lead the way to the small fire, throwing grasses and flowers into it and singing. A torch was lit and carried in procession to the tall poles, where the flame was transferred to a long stick and used to light the wick. At the same time, the large pyre farther down the hill was ignited.

    Next, the singles of the party (mostly young women) faced away from the second pole and threw their garlands over their heads, hoping it would land over one of the branches sticking out.

    The merriment continued until dark, when a little girl was presented with a lantern, oak garlands were given to the organisers as signs of gratitude, then torches were set flaming and wooden crosses in the shape of an X were distributed with tea lights at their centre. People's garlands were placed around the candles and a torchlight procession wended its way to the water. Here, the offerings were placed into the lake and slowly floated away from shore. Traditionally the wreaths would be made by girls with 9 or 12 different herbs and the faster they floated away, the faster the girl would get married.

    After the torchlight ceremony we nipped back to Martha for some revitalizing coffee and hot chocolate, then rejoined the rather more sedate revellers. We mused to ourselves that in Germany, the event would be surrounded by beer and bratwürst stalls, in Italy there would probably be wine and pizza and in the UK, burger and icecream vans. Although there was a few people eating and drinking at the yacht club and a few that brought snacks and beverages from home, there was more of a focus on community and the event than spending money, eating and getting drunk. The lack of commercialism (and litter) made for a great atmosphere.

    Solar midnight passed at 1:35am and the sky began to get noticeably lighter. A waning gibbus moon rose behind the pines, its silver rays sparkling off the ripples on Plateliai Lake. Dancing continued until about 2am, after which a small group gathered to sing traditional songs while the floodlights, audio equipment and gazebo were packed away. About 30 people were left gathered around the warmth of the fire, dropping clumps of hay on to keep it flaming. The vibe was chilled, mordern music sounded from various dispersed groups and a tenting party continued their singing and accordion playing, becoming more raucus as the early morning wore on.

    Only ourselves and another two couples were left at the fire when park employees arrived at 4am to dismantle the oak gate and chuck it on the embers. Vicky had been looking forward to a ceremony where you cleansed your face and hands with the dew at sunrise, but the fiery glow rose above the horizon and nobody could be seen collecting any dew (well, except us!).

    Dawn was beautiful over the water. Will captured drone footage while Vicky went to the shore to take photographs. Here she discovered our canoe, tied neatly to the end of the jetty. A little confused, she mentioned it to Will. Why would he leave it this far away from the van? It turns out he didn't and there was no way it could have floated away from the reeds he'd beached it in. He reckons the 'captain' hiring out the rowing boats set it loose and someone must have brought it to the club. Whatever happened it gave us a wonderful opportunity for a dawn paddle a few hundred metres back to the sandy beach near the van. The view heading over the water towards the sunrise was incredibly beautiful.

    At around 5:30am we willed ourselves to bed after a night of new experiences. We felt very privileged to have been able to attend this amazing community celebration.

    To see an 8 minute video of the event, click this link to the VnW Travels You Tube channel: https://youtu.be/DeN-rx29fRI

    The following day must have been a bank holiday because the area was packed with people enjoying the long day's sunshine. We'd planned to move on but suspected that anywhere near water would be difficult to park so kept our spot for a fourth night and enjoyed a paddle on the lake, landing on one of the wooded islands then getting away from the crowds of rowing boats, pedalos and sailing dingies. Finding a deserted stretch of shore, we took a midsummer day wild swim together. A perfect end to our Baltic midsummer night.
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  • Day118

    Hazenpot - Plateliai

    August 24 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Reisekilometer 13.278 km
    Tageskilometer 119 km

    Die Nacht war relativ ruhig, die Jugend hat nur 3 bis 4 mal in der Nacht, jeweils 10 bis 30 Minuten, mit Musik den Parkplatz, auf dem sonst nur wir standen, beschallt.
    Tina hat Ohrenstöpsel und Dirk stört Musik nicht.
    Morgens haben wir gebadet, danach sind wir über reichlich Staubstraßen und den Grenzübergang gefahren und haben litauisch eingekauft.
    Es gibt wieder Pfand und Geschwindigskeitshuckel. Beides gab es in Lettland nicht. Die Menschen scheinen besser gekleidet und auch die Häuser sehen auf den ersten Blick "etwas" besser in Schuss aus.
    Nachmittags bei 27,5°C (endlich richtig warm) besichtigen wir den mystischen Garten des Vilius Orvydas.
    Ein rostiger Sowjet-Panzer steht auf dem Parkplatz. Das Rohr ist drohend auf den Eingang gerichtet - er ist ein Symbol dafür, wie die Sowjets zu diesem Ort standen. Der Garten entstand in den 1960 er Jahren, als der russische Präsident Chruschtschow anordnete, alle Grabsteine von Friedhöfen zu entfernen. Man brachte sie in den Garten des Steinmetzes Kazys Orvydas (1905-1989), der viele davon selbst angefertigt hatte.
    Die sowjetischen Behörden versuchten mehrfach, den Garten zu zerstören. Wie der Berg der Kreuze wuchs er jedoch immer weiter und wurde als Ort des Widerstands über die Grenzen der Region hinaus bekannt.
    Vilius Orvydas (1952-1992), der Sohn des Bildhauers und ebenfalls Steinmetz von Beruf, gab dem Garten sein heutiges Gesicht. Er arrangierte ihn neu und schuf ein märchenhaftes Labyrinth aus alten Grabsteinen, Steinskulpturen, Findlingen und zu Kunstwerken geschichteten morschen Holzstämmen. Die Skulpturen sind nicht alle christlich geprägt. Der Garten ist kein kirchliches Heiligtum, sondern ein verwinkeltes Kunstwerk, halb von Menschen geschaffen und halb von der Natur.
    Uns hat der Garten sehr gefallen.
    Danach sind wir zu einem Picknickplatz mit Badestelle am Plateliai-See gefahren. Großer Treffpunkt auch vieler Einheimischer und es ist Samstag,na, mal schauen wie das wird.
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  • Day21

    Cold War Museum

    August 8 in Lithuania ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Das Wetter passte heute zum Besuch des Cold War Museums. Der Himmel war grau und es regnete. Die Straßen waren auch nicht der Hit 😳.
    Auf dem Areal des Museums befanden sich bis 1979 atomare Sprengköpfe, die auf wechselnde Städte in Europa gerichtet waren.
    Heute befasst es sich mit der Zeit des Kalten Krieges von 1946-89.
    Deren Historiker gehen inzwischen davon aus, dass die Atombombenabwürfe auf Japan 🇯🇵 nicht nur Rache für Pearl Habour sondern auch zur Eindämmung des Kommunismuses in Asien sein könnten.
    Mit Operation Anadyr 1963 werden 162 Sprengköpfe auf Kuba stationiert. Der kubanische Staatschef Fidel Castro war über das Ausmaß informiert und sich bewusst, dass der Abschuss eines Sprengkörpers die Zerstörung Kubas bedeutet hätte.
    Ein einziges Mal waren die Raketen in Litauen auf Ziele in Europa zum Abschluss bereit gemacht worden. Dieses war zur Zeit des Prager Frühlings 1968. Letztendlich wurden die Sprengköpfe 1979 aus von dieser Abschussrampe (heutiges Museum) entfernt, da die Abschussvorrichtungen inzwischen veraltet waren und ein Umbau sich nicht rechnete.
    1987 hatten USA und UdSSR so viele Atomwaffen, um die gesamte Erde mehrfach zu zerstören. Ronald Reagan und Michail Gorbatschow schlossen daraufhin einen Abrüstungsvertrag. Somit wurde auch die restlichen Raketen aus Litauen entfernt.
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  • Day13

    Taking Time in Zemaitija

    June 15 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After the almost non stop activity of the previous 12 days, it was glorious to finally have so much time on our hands and to have so little to do with it. The constant pressure of cycling every day, along with the tiring routine of moving from hotel to hotel does take its toll, especially when you combine this with the extremely short hours of darkness.

    Today was the first designated "free day" and we were happy to be able to spend the time resting, walking, catching up on laundry, reading, drinking and eating ice cream. The weather also chipped in by serving up an absolutely perfect day - cloudless skies, no wind and not too hot and not too cold. The large lake had barely a ripple and the clear, still waters enticed a few of our team to try a swim.

    I had previously discovered that the hotel had a large recreation room with two full size billiard tables and a table tennis table. Remembering what fun we had all enjoyed in the Channel Islands on these activities, I suggested that we should conduct a men's tournament.

    Bob and I collected the pool balls from the desk and went off for what we thought we be a 10 minute game. We had no idea that the match would drag on for what seemed like an eternity. My previous experience had all been on small tables and we soon found that, on large tables, it is almost impossible to get the balls into the pockets. Time and time again we thought we had an unmissable shot, only to constantly invent creative new ways to miss.

    The other important factor was the searing heat in the room. It was part of the heated swimming pool complex and there were no windows that could be opened. The sweat was soon running down our faces as we vainly tried to get any of the balls to sink.

    The battle dragged on for most of the afternoon. David and Gordon gave up watching. Bob and I struggled on, feeling like two gladiators battling to the death in the Colosseum. We finally got down to the last remaining ball- the black ball. We chased it from one end of the table to the other, and back again. This farce continued until we both were on the edge of exhaustion.

    "If we can't sink the ball in ten minutes, it's a draw", I announced. In spite of our best efforts, the black ball won. We called it a draw and staggered back outside for some fresh cool air.

    Tomorrow we will be visiting a cold war missile silo, before cycling right around the lake. After that we will finally cross the border into Latvia and the next leg of our adventure.
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  • Day12

    Zemaitija National Park

    June 14 in Lithuania ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    Sometimes it really is astounding what a difference 24 hours can make. Ever since we had arrived in Warsaw about 12 days ago, we had experienced hot and sultry weather. The past couple of days on the bikes has been particularly tiring and we have been making sure to never ride past an ice cream seller without taking advantage of his product.

    Late yesterday afternoon the long awaited thunderstorm finally arrived, complete with rolling thunder and heavy rain. Of greatest significance was the considerable drop in temperature. When our group gathered outside the hotel this morning, I was interested to see that everyone (except me) had donned cold weather jackets, thermals, leggings, polar fleeces and the like. David had layered himself with some of Carol's riding gear, including her pink jacket (and maybe some of her winter underwear as well)..

    I was just happy to be cool and wore only my short sleeve cycling jersey and shorts. We set off retracing our route back through the town and were soon out on the open roads again. We knew that this was going to be the longest ride of the entire trip. I also had the secret knowledge that it was also likely to be the hilliest as well.

    Fortunately the first section was quite flat, there was no wind and the road surface was excellent. We found a comfortable rhythm and made good progress. Along the way we passed a succession of run down houses, almost all of which were fitted with crumbling asbestos roofs. In some cases the entire roofs had collapsed into the structure. This was obviously not an affluent area.

    One thing that we were not expecting to see was a large wooden windmill, although it was no longer in operation and I suspected that, unless it was restored, it would also soon collapse into a woodpile.

    On the 27th of June 1941 the Germans shot 111 Jewish men, women and children they accused of supporting the Russians. The spot is now marked by a large stone and metal plaque. It was such a quiet and beautiful spot,that it was hard to imagine the atrocity that had been committed there 78 years ago.

    We also passed numerous large stork nests, some of which had mothers feeding their babies. The nests were enormous, probably up to a metre in diameter.

    An interesting insight into the local culture was provided when we happened to arrive in a village right in the middle of a funeral procession. The hearse was preceded by a small group of mourners, all dressed in black and some carrying photos of the deceased. The bell on the church steeple sounded a prolonged, melancholy slow peeling as the procession made its way into the church yard.

    The half way point of our day's ride was Selentai, a modest sized village with a couple of small supermarkets and also an open air market as well. It was the perfect spot for lunch. When I asked a local where to get the best coffee, I was directed to a small kebab shop (the shop was small,the kebabs certainly weren't).

    I must admit that I have tried kebabs all over the world, and I have seldom been disappointed. I can now truthfully say that the the kebab I enjoyed at Selantai was one of the best I had ever tasted. The meat was tender, the salad was fresh and the 3 Euro price was perhaps the best part of all. It would probably have been sufficient to feed a family of four.

    Another most welcome feature of this region is the beautiful cherries which are sold from every market and fruit shop. For a couple of Euros you can buy a huge bag full of sweet, juicy cherries which would be enough to fill you for the rest of the day.

    After lunch we soon left the flat lands behind and entered the hill climb section. We were riding up to a huge lake in the Zemaitija National Park. The only problem is that to get there we first had to ride up a never ending succession of small, sharp hills. Although each one was not very long, the cumulative effect was quite tiring.

    With 8 km to go,we stopped for a final drinks and rest break. It was here that we happened to meet the driver who had taken our luggage to the next hotel as he was conducting his own rest break.

    The final section around the perimeter of the lake was quite beautiful, offering glimpses of the huge expanse of water. We finally rode into the large Linelis Hotel, situated right on the shore of the lake. Since tomorrow will be our first (and very well deserved) rest day, we will have lots of time to explore this lovely location.

    The evening meal was easily the best hotel meal we have had in this trip so far. After the dinner was finished the sun was still shining brightly, children were playing on the grass and several were swimming in the lake. It was only a little after 10 pm after all.
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  • Day14

    A Glimpse of Madness

    June 16 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    For most of the 1960s, the world's major powers played a dangerous game of nuclear brinkmanship. The main principle in this game was that any nuclear attack would be responded to with such overwhelming ferocity that all life on earth would be exterminated. This was officially referred to as "Mutually Assured Destruction" or MAD for short.

    It really was a frightening time to be alive, and I well remember the nuclear drills that were practised at schools. This morning we had the opportunity to see one of the old 1960s nuclear missile silos at close range. The missile complex is situated only a few km from our hotel in the Zemaitija National Park. It had been constructed by hundreds of Estonian forced labour workers,who had to excavate the enormous underground spaces by pick, shovel and wheelbarrow,

    Apparently the reason why they used Estonian labour was because they could not speak Lithuanian and therefore would be easy to recapture if they escaped. To make matters more complicated the plans were in Russian, which the locals could not read. Little wonder therefore that the standard of construction was even worse than appalling. They could never undertake any test launches because any such event would have likely caused the structure to collapse. It was strictly intended to be used once - to launch 4 ICBMs, each carrying a 2 Megaton warhead. In the process it is almost certain that the people working at the site would also be killed.

    It really was interesting to tour the vast facility and see just how primitive most of the technology was. The soldiers had low morale and were often drunk on the job. I wonder just how easy it would have been for a disgruntled one or two Russians to start a nuclear war.

    The base was built in the early 60s and was decommissioned about a decade later as part of the agreement signed by Gorbachev and Reagan. Much of the equipment (but hopefully not the warheads) was then promptly stolen by the local population.
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  • Day47

    Musée de la guerre froide

    August 17 in Lithuania ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Situé au sein d'un parc naturel, une base secrète de lancement de missiles nucléaires a été reconvertie en musée de la guerre froide. Capables d'atteindre n'importe quel point de l'Europe, ces missiles nous permettent de prendre pleinement concience du danger que nous fait courir l'arme nucléaire.
    La soupe froide à la betterave dégustée par Béatrice auparavant aurait été bien moins appréciée après la visite...
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  • Day80

    Tag 80.

    August 16 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Heute hieß es weiter Kilometer zur Küste hin zu machen. Allerdings sind wir schon in Telsiai davon abgekommen.

    Es lockte das schöne Wetter, ein kleiner Kunsthandwerker Markt und nach dem Besuch der Touristeninfo auch eine kleine Tour durch die Stadt.
    Anhand von 25 kleinen Skulpturen, Brunnen und Figuren kann man das Städtchen erkunden.
    Nein, alle haben wir nicht abgeklappert, aber es hat Spaß gemacht.

    So gibt es den Fuß Abdruck eines Bären der uns in unterschiedlichen Formen immer wieder begegnet. Da er das Wahrzeichen des Landstrich Samogitia ist.
    Eine drehbare Weltkugel, die dann doch nur die Ausmaße Samogitia anzeigt, ein Brunnen mit Bären und einer Bronze Statue des Litauischen Jagdhundes. Ein Geschicklichkeitsspiel mit Ansichten der Stadt und ja nicht die Kugel versenken.. 😅

    Eigentlich alles hat mit Samogitia und der großen Schlacht 1260 zu tun, uns begeistert eher die schöne Ausarbeitung.

    Auch die Kathedrale hat eine bronzene Schmucktür und ist innen sehr reich ausgeschmückt, selbst die Krypta darf man betreten.

    Uns fallen in der kleinen Stadt gleich 3 Stadtführer auf die Gruppen von einem Kunstwerk zum anderen führen und recht viel auf litauisch erklären.
    Einer spricht uns in der Krypta an und als wir ihm sagen das wir aus Deutschland kommen, meint er er spricht nur wenig Deutsch, aber mit viel Bier wirds besser, ohne Bier.. 😉

    Es ist mittlerweile ziemlich heiß und wir möchten nur noch an einen See, der nah der Stadt gefällt uns nicht sonderlich, so fahren wir zum Zemaitijos National Park. Der See Seives Stovyklavete hört sich gut an.
    Und wir ergattern den letzten Parkplatz, über uns eine Wiese auf der schon länger ein Wohnwagen steht. Vor dem Parkplatz zum See hin werden fleißig kleine Zelte aufgebaut und der Grill angeschmissen.

    Uns gefällt es, bis die Besatzung des Wohnwagens über uns die Party Beschallung startet.. Wir hören uns das eine Weile an und da sich niemand darum schert, wird es wohl kaum leiser werden heute Nacht.

    Da wir an 2 weiteren Parkplätzen vorbei gekommen sind und beim Schlafen keinen Seeblick brauchen, parken wir um.

    Der erste auf den wir fahren, da sind die ganzen Bootstrailer wild abgestellt, kein Auto aber Müll vom hiesigen fast food Anbieter, also wird dieser bevorzugt von Nachtschwärmern aufgesucht..
    Ja man bekommt mit der Zeit ein Gespür dafür..

    Der erste ist noch gut besucht, aber es lichtet sich, hier muß man ein Stück gehen um dann den See von oben zu sehen.

    Da es auch hier zum guten Ton gehört mit Vollgas anzubrausen und bis zum Ende durchzupreschen, quetschen wir uns gleich vorne rechts in eine Lücke.. Das reicht für heute, morgen geht es weiter Richtung Pape, dem schönen Sandstrand den wir am Anfang vom Lettland entdeckt hatten.
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  • Day65

    Cold War Museum, Plokstine, Litauen

    August 5, 2017 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Es gibt noch viele unheimliche Zeitzeugen der vergangenen sowjetischen Besatzung im Baltikum. Eines davon sind die ehemaligen Abschussanlagen der russischen Atomraketen. Jenes bei Plateliy ist heute ein Museum.
    Die Ausstellung umfasst einen Rundgang durch die ehemaligen Kommandoräume, den Funkraum, vorbei am roten Knopf und dem Safe mit den Ziel-Koordinaten bis hin zum unterirdischen Silo, aus dem die Raketen abgefeuert werden sollten.
    Während der Bürgerrevolution in Tschechien sind die vier Atomraketen angeblich kurz vor,dem Abschuss gestanden. Ansonsten müssten sich die Soldaten mit Übungen und politischer Idologie-Schulung beschäftigen.

    Der Besuch hinterlässt ein leichtes Gruseln bei uns.
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  • Day29

    Militärmuseum Plokstine

    July 6, 2018 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Zwischen 1963 und 1978 stationierten die Russen an einem wunderschönen See mitten im Wald mehrere tödliche Atomraketen mit Ziel Bundesrepublik. Heute ist dieser Ort ein Museum das den ganzen Irrsinn und die Geschichte des kalten Krieges sehr gut aufgearbeitet hat.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Plungė, Plunge, Plungė District Municipality

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