We were too hot and lazy on that summer day to climb the many steps up Vytautas' Hill in Birstonas to get a better view of the Neman. We had some doubts whether we would see much anyway as there were some trees and shrubbery at the top which might have obscured the view completely. But this time our laziness was rewarded. Not long after we drove off in the direction of Alytus, we noticed a lay-by with two cars parked and two or three people strolling around. We had seen on the map that there should be a place where the road and the river come very close to each other and guessed that that was it.
And what a view it offered! High above the river there was a viewing platform from which you could admire one of the meanders of the Neman in all its glory, with the forest on its banks and the fields and pastures in the distance. We couldn't take our eyes off the stunning scenery and were so lucky to have it all to ourselves as the other tourists soon left.
To find the platform, drive along road 105 towards Prienai, cross the river there and follow the signs for Alytus. Then watch out for the lay-by on your left. Mind you, the platform is accessed by climbing three or four very steep steps but there is a banister to hold on to.
I don't generally like graffiti. They deface the walls of houses of so many cities and removing them repeatedly is not only tedious but also very expensive. It would be best if any compulsive painters who want to find an audience for their art or 'art' were provided with special walls where they could enjoy painting or just daubing things with paint to their heart's content. Yet, the pictures we saw painted on a wooden wall in the Birstonas park were truly delightful. We thought the authors must have been children and children with a talent for art.
The colours, for one thing, were lovely and the pictures so vivid and charming in their simplicity. See for yourselves... Who knows, they may still be there when you visit the resort.
Favorite thing: I love sea, rivers and lakes, but I am afraid of water. I love to look at the boats, ships, but I never sailed myself (because I'm afraid of water and swim like a hammer straight to the bottom). So in Birstonas I could practice my favorite thing about water - looking at it and listening to the stories it tells!...
The car motor just stopped. You get out of the car and find yourself in the middle of Birstonas town but it seems like you are in the middle of some park. You see three men sitting on the bench and you ask them "Where is the Nemunas?" All three men show you the different directions. You are confused. You choose one direction and you start your way to look for the largest Lithuanian river, called the Father of all rivers, the Nemunas.
Fondest memory: And after couple minutes - you see it.. Going slowly, deep blue colour, very large and amazing.. And you go against the stream and ... suddenly you realize why these three men showed you different directions - the Nemunas is just all around the city!! The Nemunas loops surround Birstonas from all the sides and whatever direction you choose, you will reach the river anyway.. That's amazing.:)