7th August – last day in Lithuania

7 Aug

Our last evening in Lithuania was a memorable one.  We headed over to the festival at around 5pm to watch music and dancing by locals. When that finished a traditional Lithuanian band started playing. They were really good and the lead singer was really enthusiastic and lively. We enjoyed it even if we couldn’t understand the words.

 

 

Gradually the place filled up in anticipation of the fireworks and disco.

 

 

 

The fireworks were great and the atmosphere got more and more lively. We left them to it and headed back to the camper where we could still hear the music well enough (it was only 50 m from the stage!). The party carried on until around 6.00 am.

The next morning it was time to head off, and so we said goodbye to our host Venantas …… another really nice person that we have met on our travels! Thank you for your hospitality (and book).

 

 

 

The Hill of crosses was about 80km away, just north of Siauliai on the A12 to Riga. It is an amazing sight as you drive towards it, it is just so unusual. It has been a place of pilgrimage since 1863 and since this time Catholics and tourists have come here to place  crosses, rosaries, and other offerings to commemorate people’s suffering, hopes and gratitude. The hill is saddle shaped and has a walkway along the ridge and small paths in between the crosses. It is supposed to have over 100,000 crosses there.

 

 

 

Almost every space is taken up …..

 

 

A local lady helps look after the hill.

 

 

 

Every statue or cross is used as a support for more.

 

 

 

The walkway across the hill gives you a chance to take in the scale of this place of pilgrimage.

 

 

 

We could not leave without adding our own, with thoughts of all the good people that we had met so far on our trip and all our friends and family.

 

 

 

As we headed away from the hill of crosses towards the Latvian border we reflected on Lithuania and its people.

Lithuanians are rightly proud of their country and have a strong national identity. There are flags everywhere and tee shirts with the Lithuanian colours are very common. The countryside is lovely and is very sparsely populated with only 3.5 million people in a country twice the size of Belgium. The people seem really family orientated and love to spend time outside on the water or in the woods. In general they do not tend to open up to strangers very quickly, but as soon as you engage and make an effort they do open up and are very kind and helpful as we have seen over and over again. It is obviously only a snapshot of the country, but we love it!

Roads are great and we also like all the woodwork …. buildings and sculptures!

We’ve also decided that we would  like to have  our own cow.

Goodbye Lithuania.

 

 

And on into Latvia!

 

 

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