Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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A trip to Druskininkai spa town

Down towards the borders with Poland and Belarus (both of which it has been part of at different times in its history) is the small town of Druskininkai with a population of 23,000. It has been a spa town since 1837 when czar Nicholas I of Russia gave it that status.

The first written mention of Druskininkai however dates back to 1636. The name of the town suggests that the local population collected precious minerals. In the late 18th century it was believed that minerals found in the waters of Druskininkai area produced health benefits and their usage in the medical treatment of asthma and other ailments began.

In the early 19th century Ignacy Fonberger, a professor at the University of Vilnius, analyzed the chemical composition of Druskininkai’s waters and showed that they contain large amounts of Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Iodine, Bromine, Iron and Magnesium. He also promoted the town as a holiday resort for the population of Vilnius.

Visiting the town as part of my cultural education course at VDU I was forced to drink the water – and whatever medicinal properties it might have it’s not for the faint-hearted!

I was struck by the sculptures I saw everywhere, some quite unusual.

We walked along the Nemeunas river bank to a cafe where we enjoyed afternoon tea accompanied by hundreds of wasps crawling everywhere.

My natural reaction was to shoo them away but the locals said to leave them and nobody got stung. It cured me of any fear of wasps!

Then we headed back on our 140km journey back to Kaunas.


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The castle in Vilnius is always worth a visit

I’ve visited the castle several times to see its interior exhibitions as well as admire the views from the top.

Last time I went I had a quick look inside to see if there was anything new (there wasn’t but they could do with an English-speaking guide or a translated brochure). Then I wandered around outside and admired the views of the Three Crosses, the river Neris and views over the city from Gediminas’s Tower.

Again I was reminded how green this city really is. You don’t have to walk far from the city centre to find a park.

Last time I posted I remarked on how the trees on the outskirts of the castle had been removed. Presumably a nod to historical accuracy. They also removed the pantiled  roof from the building at the side of the tower, presumably for the same reason.

You can see both these features in a photo (above) I shot on one of my earlier visits in 2013.

A year later they had stripped the trees, re-turfed the hillside and removed the roofing tiles and shelter roof (See Here).

So here are my latest pictures – in no particular order – taken in and around the castle.


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Tastes change in Vilnius

A few years ago I enjoyed visiting “A taste of Lithuania”  (Lietuviškas Skonis) just off the cathedral square near the Amberton Hotel on Odminių g.

It was a family run cafe bar which made very nice fresh food, provided free wi-fi and sold some nice souvenirs. (See my earlier post on it). They also had a shop at Vilnius airport for a while.

Last year when I went it was nowhere to be seen. Now there is a spa and massage parlour in its place.

Whether it will still be there next time I visit is anyone’s guess.


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I’m just singing in the rain……………..in Vilnius (or six days of virtual non stop inclement weather)

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

At the beginning of October I returned to Vilnius with my friend and colleague Mike (who had not visited for a couple of years because of illness) and we were both looking forward to visiting some of our old haunts, including Bistro 18, the Kitchen and the finest steak house in the city Markus ir Ko. In the latters case I have to report that although the food is still as good the, customer service still leaves a lot to be desired. I think it is something to do with it being a “pub” atmosphere and all male staff (an occasional smile wouldn’t go amiss). There is however, on selected night an excellent jazz pianist who is extremely talented and on the last visit did a magnificent improvisation on Billy Strayhorns “Take the A Train”

IMGP2157.jpg The Hill of Three Crosses in autumn

Anyway, we spent six days in the city…

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Vilnius re-visted…………..

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

After a gap of eighteen months I made my thirty something trip back to Vilnius in April 2016. I had been invited to do a presentation to the HR Group at the Danish Chamber of Commerce (thank you Finn for your excellent hospitality) and decided to stay a few extra days to see old friends and colleagues from Vilnius University as well as visiting some of my favourite haunts in the city.

Of course my first port of call after arriving in Vilnius in the early evening was a walk around Cathedral Square to take in the majesty of Vilniaus Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo Arkikatedra Bazilika (perhaps better known as “the white cathedral”).

Over the next few days I walked to the castle on the hill, to get some wonderful photographs across the city and looking along the River Neris, did a tour of what were the Jewish ghetto’s in…

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