YES, it's definetely in Europe. Lithuania is European Union member since 1 May 2004. No worries, there are all facilities for visitors available in Kaunas.
Only keep in mind that Lithuania and Kaunas is emerging, fast developing country which belonged to the Soviet Union till 1991. It means that my page will not be up-to-date soon. And do not except so much choice of tourist facilities (yet, in 2004) - I mean hotels, motels, restaurants etc. - as in many western European or US cities of that size and meaning.
Walking around Kaunas do NOT expect a lot of benches put along streets (exception: Laisves aleja :-). Even in city parks I visited there were few benches. Well, it's Europe. Do not walk on grass unless it's allowed and signed. If you are tired you can easy find a pub/bar (baras) or a restaurant to relax and enjoy local drinks or food. Alternatively there were some other constructions to sit down, like on my picture.
There was large meeting of motorcycles in Kaunas, when I was there. I met them crossing my way, when I was leaving Kaunas. I tried to take them pictures. Hmm, they were moving fast, so a few my pictures were blurred. The automatic set of exposure of my camera was wrong, I noticed.
1. switch your camera to automatic sport programm (if possible) - fast option, the camera lowers time of exposure.
2. fix time of exposure to, say, 1/1000 s or less - it takes more time but gets better results unless there is too poor light.
There was large meeting of motorcycle's fans in Kaunas when i was there. I was staring at cool old and new motorcycles which crossed my way in Kaunas. I almost forgot to drive staring at them.
Whenever you are a driver do not stare at...
local women, sport cars, motorcycles;
local men, stores/shops.
Better watch traffic, signs and police.
Few citizens of Kaunas declared to be atheists now, most were Roman catholic. Don't forget to respect their feelings whenever you visit any church in Kaunas. Guys, do not forget to take your hats off.
This info table, on my picture, was put by entrance to St. Michael Archangel (of Lithuanian Military Forces) Church and contained text in 3 languages: Lithuanian, English and German: Please, keep silence and respect. Thank you for your kind understanding.
I took pictures inside museums of Kaunas, I visited. Devils in the Museum of Devils were not always well lighted. When I took pictures without a built-up flash, I found them blurred (look at my picture). I didn't have a tripod to use longer exposure and using a flash had some disadvantages as well.
Keep in mind that a built in (or even additional) flash on most cameras can only light up an area between 3 - 6 m in front of the camera (10 - 20 ft, depends on the flash and DIN of your film). My camera's shutter opens and has to stay open for up to several seconds for enough light to hit the film to make an image at night/bad light. The problem: most people cannot hold a camera perfectly still for more than a small fraction of a second - usually more than 1/30 or 1/45 s. Just notice here that larger camera you have, easier you can hold it.
So, if you want to take pictures at night (except objects up to a few meters in front of your camera) you must use a tripod, never mind how good (and expensive) is your camera.
Hmm... I still must buy a tripod for my camera. I think about two tripods: one mini-tripod, very small, primitive one, I could say but cheap, light and easy to carry with me. And the second: real, professional tripod with a bag.
Not so easy to choose from :-):
SLIK tripods (Japan)
MANFROTTO tripods (Italy)
about tripods on photo.net
I got (hopefully wrong?) impression that Kaunas offered almost nothing for the most important people of our globe - children.
Walking around centre/downtown of Kaunas I didn't find any attractions for smaller kids, I mean any play grounds for example. Well, they sold ice-creams from street stalls and a few restaurants offered kiddy menu. Additionally it would be a little bit tired to push a baby buggy on definetely not flat, cobble streets of Kaunas old town.
I ordered a few times coffee in restaurants and cafes of Kaunas. And usually it didn't taste good. I missed my home coffee or... Italy.
Once I ordered this capuccino, on my picture, in Kavine Dviese (Vilniaus gatve 8). It was served in a glass and in real it was NOT cappucino but very sweet liquor with not nice, industrial aroma... I missed Italy...
These amber necklaces, on my picture, and other amber jewelry were sold from street stalls, put along Vilniaus gatve close to Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
Amber or... fake amber? Excuse, I don't know, I am not a specialist on amber. Therefore I would never buy any jewerly on a street although first price for amber necklaces was only 10 (€ 3.01; US$ 3.63; 13.82 Polish zl) or 12 Lt.
Women, both young (like on my picture) and older, usually looked pretty in Kaunas. Looking at them costed nothing but guys, be carefull :-). Especially if you are married and happy. Otherwise... what you want... Well, I heard many times that "Eastern" women were sweet wives and great mothers. Haha, I know it.
I felt safe walking around Kaunas centre/downtown both at daytime and at night. Kaunas looked as safe as many other European cities. Well, I was walking main walking street of the old town - Vilniaus gatve which was good lighted at night.
But, I would rather avoid quite many less lighted or dark streets at night in the old and the new town. Why? Well, it's just my usual security custom whenever I am, important especially at places where I look different than natives.
Some locals expressed their feelings on old walls of the Kaunas Castle. Surely writing there is not allowed neither by law and socially. Well, looking at many similar writings in the very historical places around the world, I always think over how to avoid such behaviours.
In many US museums, I saw a few exhibit items put together at one place and signed "do touch, please". It was something for fans of touching. What about putting up "love" or "I was here" walls for fans of writing? They may be signed "do write here, please". Bad idea?
There were writings exclusively in Lithuanian language at few points of tourist interest in Kaunas. I found this writing, on my picture, in the Communications History Museam (Rysiu istorijos muziejus). Well, I understood only: TV-set KVN-49; (...???) with 17 electronic lamps. Russia, 1949.
There was a holy mass/service in Vytatuto church when I got there in the saturday's morning. There were so many folks inside the church that there was no place to sit down on a church bench. Just in case... come, say, 10 min. before a holy mass to book sitting place or there were always standing places for you.
I was in Kaunas definetely too short time.
What did I skip? Do you really want the whole list? OK, just top 10 for my next Kaunas visit:
A. In Kaunas centre/downtown
In the Old Town:
1. Museum of Folk Music & Instruments,
2. Musaeum Historiae Medicinae et Pharmaciae Lituaniae" which is Museum of the History of Lithuania Medicine and Pharmacy
In the New Town or close:
3. Zoological Museum (close to railway and bus stations)
4. Christ's Resurrection Church (Prisikelimo baznycia)
5. 9th Fort Museum
6. Azuolynas - Oak Tree Park
7. Zoological Museum.
B. Outside centre/downtown:
8. Kaunas Sea (Kauno Marios) and Zalgiris Yacht Club
9. Kaunas funicular of Aleksotas and funicular in Zaliakalnis district,
C. Outside Kaunas:
10. Open-air Museum of Lithuania 18 km east of Kaunas, direction Vilnius;look here, please
There are more attractions to visit in and around Kaunas. Take more time. Two days is a minimum for Kaunas, I think. But, if you don't want to run like a sheep and you want to visit more places than me, to meet people and enjoy more food and nightlife, 3-4 or even more days is my recommendation.
Anyway, if you have only one day, come back again to see more, Kaunas is worth of it :-).