On the night of my arrival, I had the chance to attend a Lithuanian folk music concert.
Lithuanian music is somehow different from the European music I was used to.
Nature is a recurring theme and the Lithuanian devotion to Mother Nature, due to their long-lasting pagan beliefs, originated a very typical music genre, called "Pagan Rock".
Lithuania's national sport is basketball, so imagine how crazy Lithuanians felt about hosting the European Basketball Championship in 2011! This image clearly proves it.
When our visit to Pazaislis Monastery was about to finish, my friends and I saw a group of people getting ready to celebrate a marriage.
It struck me that they were all dressed in violet, then my friends told me that it's common in Lithuania for the bride to choose a colour that all invited people will have to wear. I had never seen it anywhere else.
Along Laisvės Alėja you can find the statue dedicated to Danielius Dolskis (1891-1931), a singer of Jewish origin who happened to be the first popular Lithuanian singer. The statue is by R. Kvintas and it was erected in 2007.
I was in Kaunas just before the election to the European Parliament (13th June 2004), the first in which Lithuanians took part just after joining European Union on 1 May 2004. No wonder that I could see many election posters, flags etc., like on my picture, both in Kaunas and in other cities and towns throughout Lithuania.
Lithuanians elected 13 of 732 members of European Parliament and with the turnout of 48.2% they were more politicaly active than say Polish people with only 20.42%. Well, Lithuanians were the most enthusiastic for European Union among 15 new EU members - over 91% of them voted for joining EU, in city of Kaunas the most in Lithuania, almost 95% - results here. Is Lithuania a country of euroenthusiasts? Is Kaunas the most euroenthusiastic city in Europe? We will see... in a few years...
I found 3 identical graffiti - writings, like on my picture, in Kaunas: Lietuva 1st! Well, the first but in what?
I thought about the most popular and succesful Lithuanian man's basketball team which won European Championship in 2003. There were many players from Kaunas in the gold team. Zalgiris Kaunas basketball team was Lithuanian league Champion in 2003 and 2004.
I noticed that basketball was very, very popular in Lithuania and it was very good topic to start talking with locals, esp. with young generation in Kaunas. Be prepared... follow the link below :-).
Although Lithuania joined the European Union (EU) on the 1st of May 2004, they don't have the Euro as currency. Lithuania's currency is still the Litas. 1 Litas is divided into 100 Centai.
The 10 Litas note shows the two pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girenas and their airplane "Lithuanica" whose wreckage can be seen in the War Museum (Vytauto Didziojo Muziejus).
For the full story, please see separate tips under "Things to do" and "Off the beaten path".
When wandering around Kaunas on a summer weekend you will probably see quite a few young couples getting married in one of the lovely churches or the Town Hall (Rotuse).
We saw at least 4 weddings on a Saturday in August 2006.
It looks like it is quite popular to hire a fancy limousine or a horse carriage for this event.
Svyturys is a popular beer brand in Lithuania. The brewery is located in Klaipeda and was established in 1784. They produce various sorts of beer like wheat beer (Baltas), dark beer (Baltijos) and of course lager beer (Ekstra).
Nowadays Svyturys is owned by Baltic Beverages Holding which is controlled by the Carlsberg breweries.
On my trip through Lithuania I tried a few Lithuanian beers and I must admit that Svyturys Ekstra was among my favourites.
When I was in Kaunas it was both May Day and Mother's Day so I was able to witness some local customs. Happy young people were driving on the bed of the truck or in a special car where beverage was served. They seemed to have fun and they sure made a lot of noice!
There always has been some kind of "competition" between Kaunas and Vilnius. Most of people living in Vilnius don't say any good thing about Kaunas. Most people living in Kaunas don't say some good words about Vilnius because of that. And "Kaunas is Kaunas" is the most common phrase here, what means that Kaunas is the best:)
Look at this church, isn't it a BIG smiley? ;-)
No, ok, it's just a solar clock o the back of a lutheran church (at least if I remember well), but I liked this picture, and I wanted to put it here on VT! ;-)
I had really a good time in Kaunas, and just met one person from there, but she was really smiley, happy and really kind with us! I'm talking about our dear VT member Remigia, of course! And I can say I know also another VT member from Kaunas, and she is another very nice and happy girl (and she speaks perfect Italian too!)... and I'm talking about Gitana (vysnaite) this time!
The important thing is just not to talk much about Vilnius and just concentrate on Kaunas! ;-)
Anyway, I hope to come back to Kaunas one day and see it with much more time, and hoping to meet some other other nice people from there, also in real life, not only on VT! ;-)
I found a few typical, wooden, Lithuanian crosses in Kaunas. This one, on my picture, or to be more exact its top was highly decorated. The crosses were put to commemorate something or someone or just to sign catholic area.
The cross was put in front of a buiding which housed Archdiocese of Kaunas - walk westwards of the Town Hall Square (Rotuses aikste).
Take a closer look at the top of a thin sculpture, on my picture, which stood hidden behind a famous brick architecture masterpiece - Perkunas House.
Pay attention to small, wooden, gable roof above a statue usually of a saint. I found such or similar small roofs typical for Lithuania. They were put either above the statue of a saint or - larger ones - above the whole cross which in this way looked more like a chapel than a cross itself.
Some of these roofs and esp. some designs of wooden, decorative curvings reminded me wooden sculptures I saw in Romania many years before.
Except beautiful, new and modern telephone booth/box located mainly around the Old Town, I found this one, on my picture somewhere in the New Town. It was not that pretty as the new telephone booths but still in use. There was no phone book there but (very nice surprice :-) exact information how to use it in English.