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Saturday, 30 June 2007

Travel Lithuania! - Page 5

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Looking for a safe place to explore with friendly and beautiful people, ancient castles, magnificent churches, cobblestone streets, quiet forests, thousands of lakes, huge sand dunes, and sparkling beaches lining the sea?

The new Druskininkai Aqua Park is worth a visit while you’re here – it’s a fun, high action place in contrast to the calm feeling of most of the other places in town. It features the longest water slide in the Baltics – a crazy, twisting, turning thing that you walk up and up and up just to get to its beginning. There are a variety of pools, waterfalls, waves, and currents propelling you in certain directions, and way too many tacky plastic palm trees! Even with all the different pools, none are really a straight lap pool, so I gave up trying to swim through the figure 8’s and jet streams, grabbed an inner tube and headed to the wave pool where 1 meter tall waves plunge the rings into one another uncontrollably, kind of like bumper cars. If you get tired of this you can spin around the perimeter in your float as the forceful current carries you.

 

An assortment of Jacuzzi’s sit atop fake rock formations and there is an area for small children with brightly colored inflatable toys. Kids and families abound in the whole place which lends to the wild atmosphere. There is also a large ‘resting room’ filled with cloth lounge chairs and playing relaxation music, but there was absolutely no one in it.

 

You can duck into the sauna and steam room as well, but if you’re really looking for serious sauna’s, you should try their Complex of Baths ‘Alita’ with 18 styles of saunas and steam rooms including: Russian, Finnish, Roman, Japanese, Spanish, Turkish baths, and Hammams with the appropriate decoration in each. I didn’t visit this building since it was over 90 degrees outside and I couldn’t bear the thought of more heat.

 

If you visit you’ll notice that the prices differ by which complex you want to use and how many hours you want to spend. I thought it was strange at first, but then I saw that other pools also charge by the hour. They’ll give you a bracelet that has the times you paid for programmed in and also works as a key for the lockers. The way the place is set up is confusing, you walk into a cubicle to change and the door on the other side leads out into either the men’s or women’s locker area, but its not well marked as to which is which, so I saw both women and men as I searched for the right place. The shower areas on your way to the pools are marked, though. Your best bet is to avoid changing in the locker area altogether and go from the shower area directly to the little cabins.

 

lithuaniaI also took a boat trip down the Nemunas to Liskiava, a small town in the National Park with a beautifully restored church. The boat moved slowly down the yellowish river and I doubted the river’s cleanliness as we moved past many drains spilling into the river and there were strong agricultural smells in places. When we reached the dock near the town a tour guide met the boat and led people up the hill to the church and monastery, then talked for about 20 minutes in Lithuanian about its history. When she was thru I asked her what she’d said (since she spoke some English) and she told me: “old church and monastery, meet at the boat at 4:40,” so I imagine I missed a few things! I found out later that Liskiava was the site of a 14th century castle as well, so that was probably what some of the talk was about. I wasn’t that impressed with this trip, but I may have been more so if I’d had more understanding. And if you aren’t able to get out to any of the countryside on your own, it’s not a bad way to visit a small town, you could look around the church for a short time, then wander the dirt roads and see the pretty little houses with huge stacks of firewood that keep these communities going all winter.

(Page 5 of 9)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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