Thursday, September 18, 2003

Further thoughts on our Lithuanian adventure.

First of all, I’d like to give a plug to the people who arranged the trip for us. Take a look at Lithuanian holidays for all the details on the sort of trips that they can arrange. This was a bit a bit of a step into the unknown for us, and the company were very helpful and flexible, when it came to meeting our requirements.

The place itself is lovely, loads of quiet lines and cobbled streets provide a mass of happy wandering time, and the fact that the old town area is really quite small means that it’s pretty tough to get lost. Masses of little bars and restaurants are able to offer very affordable refreshments, giving you time to catch up that all important people watching.

The memories of the old Soviet years are still fresh and I would really recommend a trip out the huge TV tower on the western fringes of the town, where you can see a very moving collection of photo’s and articles relating to standoff between Russian troops and the local people back in 1991. 14 people lost their life in one of the key points of conflict, which helped to move the country back to freedom. After that you zoom up to the revolving restaurant to enjoy sweeping views over the city.

Before our trip I knew that Basketball was the most popular sport in the country, however I didn’t know that the European Basketball championships were being held in Sweden during our stay. Amazingly the Lithuanian TV coverage was being hosted in the bar attached to our hotel. Even more amazingly Lithuania went on to win the competition, beating France in the semi finals, then Spain in the final. That game finished at around 11pm on the Sunday evening, then the whole town just went mad. Every pilled onto the streets and pretty soon the place was full of wildly exuberant cheering flag waving people. It was high five’s all round for the next couple of hours, great fun and watch USA they gunning for you in the Olympics next year. I understand that that last time round they lost to you by a couple of points. It’s quite amazing that such a small country can produce a team like that.

We ate all manner of foods whilst we were there, including beaver stew. All very hale hearty, resulting in a few additional pounds for all of us!


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