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Saturday, 30 June 2007

Travel Lithuania! - Page 9

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?

My favorite café is Skonis ir Kvapas – it is a nicely decorated teahouse that serves homemade top-quality desserts and good food. On my latest trip, I had a shrimp and strawberry salad and hot chocolate with chili. Hot chocolate in this part of the world is a dessert, not a drink; it’s basically thick melted chocolate that you eat with a spoon. Skonis ir Kvapas’ addition of chili is a perfect spicy complement to the sweet richness of the chocolate, but it’s optional if you’re not feeling adventurous.

 

Double Coffee has good, though overpriced drinks (and good boletus soup). I went here each day not because it was my favorite place, but because they have free wifi and it was the only place where the wifi actually worked. I tried a number of other cafes that advertised this as well as the public hotspots without any luck, as Pilles St. was offline for some reason.

 

For my last day in Lithuania I rented a car and drove down to Dzukija National Park. After an unsuccessful bid to find long lost relatives, I got stuck on the dirt road that goes to Bakanausku Nature Preserve and had to walk to the nearest village in order to get help and be pushed out by the locals, at which point I decided to drive back up near Vilnius.

 

lithuaniaI spent the night in Trakai – a touristy, but lovely town built on a lake. On an island in the center of the lake is a beautifully restored castle. You walk across a long bridge to get to the island and then cross a drawbridge to get into the castle itself. Inside is a museum with history and artifacts. Trakai used to be the medieval capital of Lithuania, but given its precarious position it was difficult to defend, so the capital was moved to Vilnius (and for a short time, Kaunas). After exploring the castle, take a boat trip in the lake and eat at one of the lakeside restaurants. Trakai is a great day trip from Vilnius, as it’s a quick bus or train ride away. You can also make an overnight trip out of it and add a few more things to your itinerary like taking a refreshing dip in the lake.

 

Lithuania has a unique culture, beautiful sights, and is a great place to relax. It should definitely not be overlooked on any Eastern European or Baltic itinerary. An in-depth tour can occupy a traveler for weeks if you visit not only the cities but the beaches along the Baltic and the countryside. Lithuania is an authentic place that has pride in its culture and language.  With its new religious, political, and societal freedoms it posseses its own sense of vitality.

 

Details:

Kaunas: Kunigaiksciu Mene, www.hotelmene.lt, +370 37 32 08 00

Kaunas City Days: http://www.visit.kaunas.lt/

Druskininkai: Europa Royale, http://www.europaroyale.com/, +370 313 422 21

Spas: http://www.druskininkai.lt/

Vilnius: Le Meridien Villon, http://www.lemeridien.lt/, +370 5 2739 700

Litinterp Bernardinu St. Guest House, www.avevita.lt/guesthouse, +370 672 032 77

Skamba, Skamba, Kankliai Festival, http://www.etno.lt/

Trakai: http://www.trakai.lt/

Other Places:

Neringa & Nida: http://www.visitneringa.lt/

Countryside Tourism: http://www.atostogos.lt/

General Tourist info: http://www.visitlithuania.net/

http://www.lithuaniantravel.com/

Buses: http://www.kautra.lt/

International buses: http://www.toks.lt/

Car rental: Rimas This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +370 698 216 62

 

©Christina Kay Bolton

 

 

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

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