Grutas park is located 7 kilometres from Druskininkai and easily could be reached from Druskininkai and Vilnius.
Grutas park is a park Soviet sculptures, where all (or almost all) sculptures of Soviet time (Lenin, Stalin, Marx and more) were moved. Now it is sometimes is called "Stalin land" and the construction of words looks like "Disneyland" :) There are Soviet sculptures, small museum of Soviet stuff, Soviet style library and picture gallery, small ZOO, playground for children and Soviet bar.
Entrance for adults at 2007 06 was 10 litas (~3 euros).
In Druskininkai there were old, wooden houses, like this one on my picture, which survived till now. Many of them were buit in 19th century or at the beginning of 20th century. Some of them were not renovated and looked somewhat secret.
The houses were usually put one by one. There was not enough room for fenced yard around. So, most of the houses were not fenced. This one on the picture was put at the corner of M.K. Ciurlionio gatve (# 30) and Sv. Jakubo gatve (#2).
I saw a few constructions of new buildings for business in Druskininkai. Didn't it prove fast economic progress of that area?
This modern, glass and metal structure on my picture was almost completed in June 2004. It was put by main square of the town where Russian Orthodox church was. I parked my car just by this building.
Downtown/centre of Druskininkai was located between meandered Nemunas River (Niemen in Polish language) to the north and the two lakes to the south.
The eastern lake was called Druskonis and was surrounded by trees (pines) and easy to walk around by paved walkway (about 30-40 min.). It was round-shaped and the smaller of the two lakes where swimming was not allowed.
The western lake of Druskininkai was called Vijunele and was surrounded partly by houses and villas, partly by forests. There was a beach on its eastern bank. Well, the water was too cold to swim in early June when I was there. Instead bathing folks, I saw one swimming dog there :-). Did his owner save on water?
There were a few new built or still under construction houses located along banks of western Vijunele lake. They looked different. Just one example on my picture: the house at the end of a road where I had to turn back. Was it built for leisure, business or both?
Well, I think that there will be large building boom in this area in a few years. I got to know that the land and houses are still many times cheaper there than in any western European spa. Just in case... hurry up :-).
I found this automobile parked in the downtown/centre of Druskininkai. It had a forklift truck to raise a worker when necessary for example to repair high street lamps.
Well, it was not so easy to find original post-Soviet trucks in Lithuania. This one on my picture was called ZIL. The name derived from Russian name "Zavod Imeni Likhocheva" (Likhachov Factory) that was an automobile factory, which manufactured armored cars for most Soviet leaders, as well as trucks, buses and tanks.
I remember them from Poland but there are not more used for many years as they consumed unbelievable amount of gas/petrol and simply they were not modern (produced since 50').
Druskininkai offered some attractions for your kids as well.
Lithuanian circus called Baltijos Cirkas put up its huge tent at Turistu gatve (street), west of Druskonis lake. Just in case you like it...
Hmm... I don't like it (because of hard trainings of animals) although when I was a kid I liked that kind of show.
I found many white fields in and around Druskininkai in June. They were covered by common daisies (Bellis perennis), very popular field flower in Lithuania and probably the most widely-known of all wildflowers - do they live around your place, too?
It has a round yellow centre and a lot of thin white petals in a circular arrangement. They usually grew in short grass along highways or... in the middle of towns. Daisies are used to treat catarrh, coughs, minor wounds, varicose veins, sore eyes, and in homeopathy to treat bruises, sprains, and eczema. Just in case... do not try to eat them, they taste acrid, even cows skip them :-)
This stone obelisk or monument was put on a walkway next to "Cheerfull villa" which housed the Museum of Druskininkai Town. It looked the same in style and technique as the nearby outdoor sculpture of a guy with a boat.
It reminded me some ancient Egyptian obelisks, I could see in... Istanbul, Turkey. Well, there were no Egyptian cuneiform writings there but... Lithuanian crosses instead (?).
This unique sculpture was put on a walkway opposite to "Cheerfull villa" which housed the Museum of Druskininkai Town. The stone sculpture depicted a guy sitting on a ship (?) with a boat in his hands. He was partly bandaged like an Egyptian mummy. Strange and... nice outdoor art.