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Lithuania--Fodor's 1st trip report ever I think--beautiful Baltic Sea, charming old towns, wonderful wedding & a lovely rural country

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Jul 17th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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Lithuania--Fodor's 1st trip report ever I think--beautiful Baltic Sea, charming old towns, wonderful wedding & a lovely rural country

We knew nothing about Lithuania other than the fact that it is a Baltic country that had been forcibly taken over as a part of the former Soviet Union and probably would never have considered it as a travel destination (even though we’ve visited a number of other Eastern European countries) until our son met and became engaged to a girl from Lithuania. So, the purpose of this trip was to attend their Lithuanian wedding and to see some of her home country while we were there for the wedding. After researching the country’s history we became more impressed and interested in this as a tourist destination. At one time Lithuania stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and extended west into Germany and east into Russia.
After a two hour budget (think buying off the menu for even such things as water) flight from Dusseldorf booked on Air Baltic, but in reality flown on Air Moldava, whose name alone caused us some concern, we arrived in Vilnius. Just as we’d been warned by our son, we were asked whether or not we have health insurance. We didn’t need to show actual proof, but our son had nearly been detained & held in an immigration cell when he arrived a week earlier because he didn’t have his health insurance card with him.
The Vilnius arrivals airport is the most delightful airport I have ever been in. The building is probably about 100 years old with elaborate plaster moldings and a delightful design. We found the cash machine and then went in search of a restaurant to await our daughter and son-in-law whose flight came in 1½ hours after ours. Another pleasant surprise. There is a very nice restaurant within the airport, and better yet, it also has a separate seating area on an outdoor balcony. We settled in on the balcony for a light lunch snack and have our first taste of traditional Lithuanian food; my husband has a herring plate, and I have the potato pancakes. The only downside as far as my husband is concerned (and this lasts for the entire trip) is that he’d like a beer with his food, but the driving laws in Lithuania are very strict regarding alcohol and drivers—0% alcohol in the bloodstream is the allowable limit. So, he settles for a non-alcoholic drink instead.
Deciding upon a rental car firm had been a huge issue this trip because we needed a larger car than usual (one with a capacity for 4-5 people and luggage). All the quotes I got (including those from the usual good sources) were really high, so with quite a bit of apprehension I decided to rent from a local firm, Autobanga. Their fleet isn’t brand new, but they offered us a Chrysler mini-van at a price I couldn’t pass up. We had wanted to rent a mid-sized station wagon and were also concerned about renting a mini-van as our experience elsewhere in Europe has been that something as large as an American mini-van would be a huge hassle and we’d be the behemoths of the local roads. Another big surprise here. Cars in Lithuania are all large, with big American and luxury German cars all over so we didn’t feel at all out of place, and we really didn’t experience the usual European parking hassles. Our rental agreement included an airport delivery and an in-town drop-off. This turned out to be a personalized service where the young man who owns the firm brought the car out to the airport to meet us and then picked up the car at our apartment in the old town of Vilnius at the end of the rental period. We were very happy with the rental and plan to use this firm in the future when we return to Lithuania. Plus, we like to see our money go to support a young entrepreneur in a country that is rapidly changing.
My son and Lithuanian daughter-in-law had meanwhile taken a bus to meet us at the airport. With her as a guide, the six of us set off to visit the lakeside castle of Trakai which is outside of Vilnius. We rapidly left the city and entered some delightful rural
delightful rural countryside where we drove through a restored village that was representative of what the rural villages were formerly like. The town of Trakai itself is clean and charming—definitely spiffed up for the tourists it rightly draws. There were cute restaurants, the usual row of souvenir booths, an opportunity to rent boats on the lake etc. I could see spending an entire day or two relaxing here if one had the time. Before we went into visit the castle, our daughter-in-law directed us to the restaurant Kibine which had a delightful outside seating area on the lake with views of the castle across the lake. Here we tried more Lithuania food—a cold beet soup, kibinai which are meat pies specific to the Trakai area, more potato pancakes, kolduanai which are a type of ravioli and gira which is a Lithuania drink similar to Russian kvass. The gira was the only item none of us ever ordered again, but now we all know what a room temperature, fermented rye bread drink tastes like. We also discovered Kiss which we ordered all the time during our stay. This is served cold and is a pear based, slightly alcoholic lightly sparkling cider.
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Jul 17th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Continuing on...Don't know how much I can get in one post.

The castle itself was beautiful to approach over a rather long causeway which was periodically lined with musicians and vendors of such things a smoked eels and fresh fruits. The castle itself had been nearly in ruins and has been reconstructed pretty successfully. We paid the modest admission price to go in and look at the inside exhibits. All in all, it was a delightful afternoon.
Then we headed out on the highway to Kaunas which is the 2nd largest city in Lithuania with a population of about 350,000 and the most pure Lithuanian population of any of Lithuania’s cities. This means that there are a lot of really tall, gorgeous blond people. Once again we were pleasantly surprised; we’d been expecting the typical post-Communist era run down, rather dirty type city. While we did pass some of the typical Communist built megalithic apartment complexes and the crummier neighborhoods one would pass on the not-so-nice outskirts of any major city, Kaunas was much nicer than we’d anticipated.
We found hotels to be rather pricey and wanted some room to spread out for our stay, so we had arranged an apartment rental through Kaunas Apartments. Our two-bedroom apartment was okay and in a very convenient location but nothing special. The price was right though—around $60 per night for four people. Our friend who also rented from this agency got a much nicer apartment on a better street at the same rate. Apartment rental in Lithuania is rather a casual arrangement. No deposit or paperwork needed, just an e-mail confirmation, and then you call when you get to town and they meet you with the key.
By this time we were all exhausted, so we set off through downtown Kaunas to find a grocery store to stock up on some supplies for breakfast and for a late night snack in the apartment. Here was another big surprise. In the new town area Kaunas’ main thoroughfare is a tree-lined pedestrian walkway close to a mile long. There are shops and pleasant cafes all along the entire street. This was not at all what we had envisioned.
The next day we got a slow start, and after walking around the town again for a while we set off in the car to visit Pazaislis Monastery which is in a woodland area on a lake outside of Kaunas. We parked our car at the local beach parking lot and walked a ways down the road to the local yacht club where we’d been told to have lunch. There was a very nice patio setting on the lake and our lunch was okay but nothing special. Then we walked along the shoreline to visit this 17th century monastery. We wandered around the complex and the walked in and found a beautiful baroque church with red and black marble and white stucco-work decorations in the church.
After our visit we headed back to Kaunas where we met up with a friend who’d flown to Lithuania for the wedding the next day. Our son, who’d lived and worked for a time in Kaunas, took us on a walking tour of the old town while the bride did typical night-before-the-wedding bride things. In Lithuania there is no such thing as your typical American rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. We walked around the interesting and well-restored old town area and around the castle area, but, as it was already early evening, didn’t go in any place other than the 15th Vytautas church in which the wedding was to be held the next day. Dinner out in the Old Town was very reasonably priced. We got back to our apartment just as it was beginning to get dark around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. These long summer days in Lithuania were rather disorienting to us, and we’d find out that it was much later than we though it was because the days were so long. We collapsed in bed in anticipation of the wedding the next day.
Saturday morning we went to a recommended good local café for breakfast—choices were varied and ran the gamut from omelettes to crepes to potato pancakes to sandwiches. Then it was back to the apartment to get ready for the wedding.
The wedding itself was in the Gothic church along the river in Old Town, and this was about a block away from the Wedding Palace in Town Hall on the main square in Old Town. In order for the state to recognize a wedding as official, couples must come here to register their marriages, so every Saturday there is a constant parade of wedding parties with great people watching. For some this is their only ceremony, while for others this is the complement of the church ceremony. So, our plan was to go watch all of the fun of the other weddings before attending our own.
We weren’t disappointed; it was quite the spectacle. My daughter and I had a great time commenting on the brides and their choice of dresses—some were stunning and some were, shall we say, quite “tacky”. It was also interesting to see, as a member of the wedding party, a young man with an embroidered sash draped crossways over his suit. This was the man who performed the function of “matchmaker” in traditional Lithuanian weddings. Today it is more of an honorary position which I suppose could maybe be compared to an American best-man. There were elaborate dresses on the part of bridal parties and guests alike, fancy decorated limos, and in many cases the champagne was already starting to flow. I took tons of pictures, including those of the one set of bridesmaids whose dresses my daughter couldn’t believe—the dresses were at max knee-length with a slit just about to the crotch in the front. We’ve all heard the stories of the terrible bridesmaids’ dresses the bride forces on her attendants, but these, I think, may have taken the cake.
Our wedding itself deserves a separate post because in many ways it was similar to weddings we are familiar with, BUT in many ways it was very different which made for a lot of fun. As our friend who came to Lithuania for the wedding said, “That was some party!” So, more on that in a different post.
I now return to our trip after the wedding. We had one more evening in Kaunas and were pooped. We happened upon a free concert in the parklike area which was adjacent to our apartment and the local Music Theatre. We grabbed a drink from the concession stand and settled in to listen to a very good classical music concert. Once again also good people watching.
All in all, Kaunas surprised us. While there were definitely no must-see sights, it was a very pleasant relaxing place where I think one could easily spend two days. We had wanted to go to the nearby ethnographic outdoor museum Rumsiskes, which is the main daytrip from Kaunas, but never had the time to make it there as we were told to allow at least a half a day in order to see the place. Oh well, maybe next trip.
After this we set off for the Baltic Sea & the seaside. To be continued….
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Jul 17th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Hi julies,

Very much appreciate all the detailed info on Lithuania. I recall a trip report from ms_go I believe that involved Lithuania... but am not positive on that. In any case, your report is a delightful read and thanks for posting!
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Jul 17th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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julies, your description of Lithuania definitely has my interest! Your trip report starts off great, and I'm anxious to read the rest. Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

Tracy
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Jul 17th, 2006, 04:45 PM
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We took the four lane highway from Kaunas to Klaipeda which is a major city and a Baltic seaport, and there was really nothing of special interest along the way. Even if I’d wanted to take pictures from the car it wasn’t possible. I was in the middle seat of the mini-van, and the middle windows don’t open at all; why anyone would design a car this way I’ll never know. My son had also worked in Klaipeda for a time, so he planned to while away an hour or so and show us around the Old Town area (which is very tiny) while we waited for the bride and her family to catch up with us. Klaipeda was nothing more than okay; we walked over to a sculpture park which was more interesting than the older part of town, but if I had to give advice it would be to skip this city unless you have a special reason to visit. Our main reason to stop in Klapieda though was because we were on our way to the village of Nida in the Coronian Spit National Park.
You need to take a ferry here across the water to get to the Curonian Spit, and this is literally a five minute ferry ride; there are both ferries for cars and for foot passengers. We got off the ferry to a different type of landscape than we’d anticipated. We assumed since this was a spit of land that it would be something similar to North Carolina’s Outer Banks with the salt spray stunted growth. Instead, this was reminiscent of lake country in northern Minnesota with tall pine trees all along the road. Other than a very occasional pull-out from the road, this is just a straight stretch of tree-lined road. Nida, our destination, is a small tourist village on the southern end of the park about 4 kilometers north of the Russian area of Kalingrad. On the drive down from the ferry, which probably took a half an hour or so, we stopped in the village of Juodkrante so my new in-laws could buy some of the smoked fish for which the area is famous.
In Nida I’d arranged through the agency Litinterp for 2 nights’ lodging in a private house in the village. We had discovered that Nida is quite pricey because it has been discovered by German and Scandinavian tourists as a beach resort, so finding an affordable place for 8 people was a bit of a challenge. The town looks as though there has been a building boom with lots of condo type places that people from the rest of Europe are investing in. We’re not terribly fussy or upscale, so our place turned out fine other than the fact that the mini-kitchen described did not have a sink and we already had eight people with only one bathroom so doing the dishes in the bathroom sink added to the togetherness. Nevertheless, it was a nice clean modern place just up from the village. The village itself fronts on the lagoon area and is quaint and neat with a variety of old wooden houses painted in bright colors, lots of reasonably priced unpretentious restaurants, and the usual assortment of gift and souvenir shops. There are several nice walks directly from the village including the most impressive one up to a huge area of tall sand dunes.
To swim, one walks in the opposite direction from the downtown area a half a mile or so to the Baltic Sea. We are not particularly beach people, so we only spent a half a day on the beach. But, if you like the beach this was clean and relatively uncrowded with no waves. This was also European beach country with the stretches divided into beaches for those with clothes, those without clothes, women only (without clothes I’m assuming) etc. Back from the beach and up the dunes there is the usual assortment of small restaurants etc.
After two days in Nida our party of 8 split up, my son and daughter-in-law were heading back to Kaunas with her parents and we were heading to Vilnius with our daughter and son-in-law. We left the area about 10 in the morning (no crack of dawn departures for this group) and stopped in Juodkrante to visit Witches' Hill a sculpture park of carved wooden pieces that interpret Lithuanian mythology. We knew none of the stories behind the sculptures, but it was an interesting hour or so anyway. After paying a small parking fee, you walk through a forest trail where these sculptures are randomly placed. Sculpture seems to be very, very popular art form in Lithuania, and we saw it everywhere.
After getting off the ferry in Klaipeda, we headed north along the Baltic to the beach resort Palanga. As we entered the city, my husband immediately commented that this certainly didn’t seem like his cup of tea. There were people all along the road into the city holding up signs indicating that they had rooms for rent. A couple summers ago my son had taken one of these rooms (I think he said it cost him about $3 a night) and had a fine time in party central, which is how we think of this town. Our first impression was pretty correct. The main drag runs perpendicular to the sea and is everyone’s idea of a super tacky boardwalk type environment with gaudy booths, booming music, restaurants galore and the kind of general yuk that doesn’t appeal to us at all. But, our son-in-law was interested in seeing the town, so we had lunch and walked the main drag down to where it ends in a huge pier into the sea. Palanga’s beaches were definitely more crowded and dirty than those in Nida. I think this is the party town and Nida is the more restrained village. We then walked away from some of the tackiness and noise into a very large and quiet park that surrounded the Amber Palace of Palanga. This had extensive, landscaped grounds. As it was getting later than we’d planned on, we didn’t go inside the lovely palace.
One of the main places of mention about Lithuania in the tourist guides is the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai. We had mixed messages and mixed feelings about visiting the place. While it certainly sounded interesting, it is also out in the middle of nowhere and worth only a 15 to 30 minute visit after an extensive drive. Nevertheless, we decided to make a detour there on our way into Vilnius. Driving was slow as there are only 2 lane roads and on top of that we ran into construction. We were really, really surprised at how isolated rural Lithuania is. One of the issues is that there just aren’t that many towns, and the other is that the roads, unlike in the rest of Europe, are set up so that they bypass the towns rather than going through the middle of them. This was mainly a drive of nice but unexceptional rural scenery. For those of you familiar with the US, parts of the area resembled the rolling areas of rural Iowa while others more resembled the woods of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Hill of Crosses is out in the middle of nowhere and is a rather small but ever-expanding site. The story goes that there have always been crosses here but that during the Communist era the Soviets tried to eradicate all traces of the Christian faith here by bulldozing the crosses. It didn’t work; people continued to come to place crosses to express their faith. It was a truly amazing place in that I have never seen so many crosses (all types from simple 6” wooden crosses to elaborate 15’ high carved crosses) layered upon each other. You can get lost walking the small paths through them. So, the site was inspirational, but a long way from anywhere. Take that into account if you choose to visit.
Because we’d detoured here, it was getting later and later so it made for a very long day and we didn’t get into Vilnius until nearly 10:00 p.m. We have never had a cell phone on our European trips before but this time were so glad our son had bought a Lithuanian SIM card for less that $10 & given us his phone to use. We called the woman we were renting our apartment from, & she arranged to meet us on a corner in Old Town to direct us to the apartment because she said we’d never be able to find it on our own. We also called the guy from Autobanga and arranged for him to come to the apartment to pick up the car. This was a really nice arrangement; we got to deliver our things right to the apartment without having to find a car rental return place, and it was well worth the $15 or so the drop-off service cost us.
Our apartment in Vilnius was fantastic and truly inexpensive—E50 per night for 4 people. We had a huge living area, two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a great location. I found the apartment on-line from the Inyourpocket.com site. We rented from Regina apartments. Once again here the informality of the arrangements was refreshing. Just an e-mail confirmation; we trusted her in that she would have what she promised and she trusted us that we’d actually show up.
Tomorrow I'll write about Vilnius. So much of what I'd read on-line about Vilnius talked about these disgusting young guys from Britain who'd come to the city to have a rip-snorting, wild bachelor week-end that I was somewhat apprehensive about the city and running into hoardes of these parties. To my relief, we saw no evidence of these whatsoever.

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Jul 17th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Julies, this is a great report with lots of interesting detail. Lithuania sounds lovely. Thanks for posting!
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Jul 17th, 2006, 09:50 PM
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Thank you for an interesting report of a less popular country. I am looking forward to the rest of your report.

MY
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Jul 18th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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We went to Lithuania several years ago and drove north from Vilnius about 2 hours almost to the Latvian border.

What impressed me on that ride was the barrenness and lack of machinery and activity on the surrounding fields. On one field was an old lady sitting on a stool milking a lonely cow.

Lituania looks like it has a lot of potential, but a ways to go.
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Jul 18th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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Julies, this is very interesting; I will also be eager to hear about the wedding. I'm thinking that your MOG experience must have been different from "the usual" back here in US, yet I'm sure there are lots of commonalities that mothers-of-groom share the world over! What did you finally decide to wear?

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Jul 18th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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It's not quite true that the Hill of Crosses is in the middle of nowhere. It's a short distance from Siauliai, the fourth largest city in Lithuania.

http://www.inyourpocket.com/lithuani...ature?id=55808

I look forward to reading the rest of your report!
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Jul 18th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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I hope to get back to this report later on today. But for now,

Marija--

I stand corrected about the Hill of Crosses. Perhaps I should have said that the Hill of Crosses is off the beathen path as far as places the typical tourist might choose to visit because Siauliai doesn't sound too compelling on its own.

Jed--I would compare rural Lithuania to some of the other former Eastern bloc countries that we have visited. We too saw a few horse drawn wagons and people working the fields manually. I think there are several differences between these coutries and western Europe. First of all is that with the farms and small towns so spread apart, there isn't the pattern of charming small towns with their restaurants to visit. Secondly, as I understand it, in Lithuania there is no historical precendent for small family-owned businesses (hotels, restaurants ets.). To me, as long as one sticks clearly to the usual tourist path Lithuania can probably hold its own with other European countries. But, there is not much for one who truly wants to get away from typical tourism. That is unless one wants to try a get-back-to-nature type trip. Then, this would be a good destination.
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Jul 19th, 2006, 11:21 AM
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I finally got a chance to finish this report. Thanks for the encouraging comments from those of you who have been following along.

(Grandmere--I was probably a little underdressed for the wedding. Practicality when travelling won out, & I went with a tea-length black skirt with a ruffled hem paired with an evening blouse with rhinestone buckle & then beaded evening sandals with heels.)

Now, back to Vilnius....

We only had 2 full days in Vilnius and probably could have used one more. I’d recommend about 4 days for a visit because if you also want to do the daytrip to Trakai. Our guidebook divided the city into 4 quadrants, & my initial thought had been to do a methodical exploration of the city that way. But, instead we just walked out the door and started wandering wherever we were so inclined. Vilnius has the largest Old Town in Europe & is a city just made for meandering. In fact, it is quite easy to get lost since the streets just wind with no apparent rhyme or reason.

Also, there is another church just around every corner, & even though we tend to say we are church & museumed out, we just couldn’t stop ourselves from popping into & exploring these churches. If you like full-blown ornate Baroque churches, Vilnius is the place to visit. In addition, because there has been a Russian presence in the city for so long, there are quite a few Russian Orthodox churches to explore. Lithuanians seem to be a very religious people, and we were surprised at the number of services we ran into at all different times of day.

Our visit was probably also different in that we were there in the midst of a couple of unusual situations. First, it was unusually hot when we were there. We’d been anticipating the usual daytime high temps in July of low 70s. Instead it was closer to 90 every day, & this put a crimp in our sightseeing because the heat is so enervating. Second, the 2 days we visited were part of a long holiday week-end to celebrate Statehood Day on July 6; this meant that a lot of places were closed, including, believe it or not, the tourism office. Also, some of the smaller restaurants we’d wanted to visit such Georgian & Azberjanian restaurants were not open.

A big surprise to us was how empty the place seemed during the days and how vibrant & full of people it was at night. Whether this is typical or not I don’t know. Maybe it was the heat, the holiday week-end or the fact that it is light until 11:30. In many ways, Vilnius seemed almost more like a Spanish city to us because as evening set in, there were hoards of people out just strolling about, filling the restaurants & cafes. They seemed to still be out at midnight when we’d return to our apartment. Speaking of eating, Vilnius has a ton of different cuisines to choose from. By this time we were getting pretty sick of typical Lithuanian food, so we tried some other kinds of places. One night we had a particularly good Greek dinner.

Even though we just meandered about, we felt we got a pretty good handle on the city. Wandering through the adjacent food market was an interesting 15 minute detour. Here we definitely got the more eastern European feel that we thought we’d run into, especially among the older people. And, it is the only market I’ve ever seen that sold quartered pig’s heads.

The only actual tourist site we visited was the KGB Museum which is located in the former KGB prison. (Rent the headphones as they definitely expand upon the simple signage.) This was a sobering look at the repression that people in the former Soviet countries had to endure. Since my new daughter-in-law’s mother was born while her family was exiled in Siberia because of their political viewpoints, it also made us more acutely aware of why so many Lithuanians are so proud of their country & the progress has made in the past 15 years. (It was the 1st of the soviet republics to leave the Soviet Union.)

For the most part, the Old Town area (which was the only area we really had time to explore in-depth) is completely restored. However, it was also very interesting to us to see the areas that are just starting to be restored; it was an opportunity to observe what happens when a government chooses not to invest in its infrastructure. It’s a pity what the communist system did to this vibrant city.

Our other observation throughout Lithuania is that, while they are trying, the parks, gardens & lawns just are not maintained to the standard that happens in Western Europe. (This was especially apparent to us since after leaving Lithuania we spent 5 days in manicured Germany.) My husband told me that it is his understanding that the state of a country’s landscaping is directly proportional to the state of its economy; nice landscaping is a luxury that comes after the infrastructure has been completely developed. My daughter-in-law had also told me that many private people in Lithuania do not have the money to spend on such luxuries as flowers & that’s why you won’t see all the flower gardens that are so prevalent in western Europe.

All in all, we felt Lithuania was not at all what we expected. It was a lot better; we plan to return & not just because we now have in-laws there. It’s a very affordable & interesting destination for those who want to get out of the typical Paris, London, Rome, Florence etc. route. And, budget airlines now fly there from western Europe making it easier and cheaper to visit.
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Jul 19th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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I guess since I'm making this glowing recommendation, I should probably fill people in on other place swe've visited so you can know what I have to compare it to. We've been to Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Rekyivek, Germany, Greece, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, & Austria. And, when we visit countries we tend to visit not just the capital cities but lots of different rural and/or off-the-beaten-path places too. My daughter & son-in-law, who were also favorably impressed with Lithuania, have visited London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Florence, Venice, Berlin, Prague & Vienna
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Jul 19th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Julies,

Take a look at
http://www.liw.lt/index.php?shid=1151570556
for some background on the massive deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia. All of my grandparents and most of my uncles and aunts were forcibly taken from their farms and transported in cattle cars to the tundras, leaving everything behind. It's a part of Lithuanian history that Lithuanians will never forget.
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Jul 19th, 2006, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the great trip report, julies. Lots of interesting and useful information. It's nice to see information about destinations that are not so common.
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Jul 20th, 2006, 03:05 AM
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"Thanks for the encouraging comments from those of you who have been following along."

I believe there have been far more people following along than those who have commented.
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Jul 20th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for a very interesting report. I look forward to the wedding post!
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Jul 24th, 2006, 01:35 PM
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Great report...Hurrah for Lithuania! (and that weekend surely was a scorcher...)
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Jul 24th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Julies,

I'm sure you looked lovely; the outfit sounds perfect!
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Aug 15th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Just a quick addendum. Just got together with our friend who came to the wedding and then travelled independently in Lithuania before moving on to Sweden. His comment is that Lithuania is an off-the-radar type of place, such as Croatia used to be, that has a lot to offer the tourist. He said many thing and the architecture in Sweden & Lithuania were very similar. Our supposition is that this is because ideas moved fairly easily across the Baltic. The major difference between Sweden & Lithuania was the cost. He said the exact same beer brand he paid $1-$1.50 for in Lithuania cost him $6-$7 in Sweden.
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