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TOWARDS THE RISING SUN

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My next destination after Warsaw was Kaunas. I can not avoid not to compare those two cities. Difference is obvious. If you feel completely western european atmosphere in Warsaw, Kaunas can not hide it's soviet past. But it's charming because of that.

Former major also didn't do much in the way of modernization. But as much as I found out by the locals, the city made a big step forward in last couple of years and I would realy like to visit it again after some more years.  

But the most funny thing is how I hitchhiked to Kaunas anyway. In Warsaw I got picked up by two girls, Violeta and Ania. They said they're going to Bielsk Podlaskie. I knew it's not directly on my way, but still somehow in the right direction so I sit in. To my suprprise we soon exit the highway. Ok, we go by some shorter way. But after half of an hour or so, the road started to feel more and more suspicious. I started to check by my map and of course we were going in the wrong direction. They set wrong town with similar name on navigation device -  Biała Podlaska :) However, with some delay we arrived to Bielsk Podlaskie and then I had to get a ride back to main road. I got a ride to Bialystok by Jarek, who spoke only polish. The communication between us was that way in polish-slovenian and with lots of laugh. Then I get picked up by soldier Alex. He says to take me to Suchowola, which by the way, should be the geometrical center of Europe if we can belive some polish astronomer from 18th century. But just a couple of kilometers before Suchowola - traffic accident and road closed. For a while we were waiting but then some guy comes explaining there is a detour. One after another the cars followed this who drove first. At the beginning the road was completely OK - paved. Then dirt, soon mud and at the end we found ourself in the middle of meadow :)

However, somehow we get to the road and in Suchowola I got picked up by some russian Touareg V8 with something more than 300 HP that took me all the way to Kaunas centre.

Besides old city centre, Kaunas doesn't have much to offer. But it's more interesting to discover green city surrondings because of that. I hit the road on the bicycle.

There is a river Nemunas flowing trough Kaunas. Local people pronounce it more like: Neeeemunooos :) With building hidro power plant on the eastern edge of city, artificial lake was formed and banks were transformed in to beaches. At the time of my visit (7th of May) it was quite hot (probably over 25°C) and when I was lying on that sand I really had a felling I'm somewhere near the sea...

Lithuanian No.1 sport is basketball and you can feel that on every step.

I had to mention cemeteries. I'm not used to find them in the forests but here all are like that. Later I saw the same in Latvia. It's true that photo is not the best, because I saw most of them by the road while driving. This is the only one I visited.

In the suburbs there is a fort that nazis used for holding and murdering several thousands lithuanians, russians and jews. After the war they built an interesting, although soviet style, memorial at that site. 

And some local gastronomy. I would call that: cold borsh with potatoes, but the menu said: Šaltibarščiai su skrudintomis bulvių skiltelėmis :)



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