We have a habit to rent a sauna time by time.... Sauna in Lithuania mainly means having group of friends who wish to have a beer and fun away from home. We have many Pirtis arround each city, we just book for a certain weekend. We take ourselves beer, snacks, towels and we spend all evening bathing and drinking, sometimes even dancing, etc... ladies enjoy cosmetic things, masks, scrub, massage for each other and bla bla bla of course...
men concentrate on keeping sauna in good heat, they follow when to fill glasses with drinks and also show their strenght swimming in the snow or cold water...
Then we can stay overnight in the house nearby and in the morning we have breakfast together and go home..
A baffling curiosity of road signage in Lithuania was the habit of displaying signs for the town from which you had just departed for many kilometres after you had left the town (and then providing a slip road to allow you to make the U turn).
We have never seen similar signs elsewhere in the world and were rather baffled by why there would be a need for these - didn't you see the town as you went past/through it? The Lithuanians didn’t seem so indecisive a lot as to require such structured opportunities to change their minds and return from whence they came, but pondering on the logic behind things that do not seem to make sense in your own culture is one of the many joys of travel!
It is the real country of hospitalityclub organisation! I have got to know it quite recently, when I joined this internet club as well - I saw how much members Lithuania has and that I even meet some in Vilnius by accident :)
Watch about this club in http://www.hospitalityclub.org. The essence of club is intercultural exchange made by meeting different cultures and countries people and, what is more, having them as guests or hosts (they give you them free accomodation or you do it as well).
The statistics, how this club (HC in short) is popular in Lithuania, see statistics:
It is in 4th place now! (2007 01 02)
Most of literature and songs was strongly associated with nature of living place.
Songs tell us about blue rivers, lakes, green forests and swamps.
Literature mostly talks about the life of people in the same nature.
Especially village people in Lithuania really like carving from wood. The most spread tradition is to carve crosses. In old time a wooden cross in a yard had meant what son of family is a priest.
In todays live people place crosses in little villages or just in private territory.
Picture shows old carved cross in little village in Kurkliskes, government of Elektrenai.
I can't really agree what basketball for Lithuanians like culture. But we call this game "second religion of Lithuania". There were formed such teams like Zalgiris, Lietuvos Rytas. Zalgiris had won 1998 Euroleague Cup, Lietuvos Rytas is always showing a good paricipations in other competitions.
Have you remembered when Lithuanian National Basketball Team won third place in Olimpic Games in 2000 in Sydney.
I can't forget a game Lithuania - USA, then our team was near the winning.
In Olimpic Games of 2004 Lithuania won nothing - 4th place, they lost against USA team in small final. Anyway, people were happy when Lithuania first time in history won against USA NBA stars in group game.
About European Basketball championships - Lithuania has 3 gold medals and 1 silver. The last gold "was made" in 2003 in final game against Spain.
Link of European medals:
Taking all into account, Lithuania is really competitive in basketball and if you come to Lithuania don't forget to participate in watching match of basketball.
Some the best teams websites:
Luckily i was in the company of family and their friends when this happened so i avoided offending anyone.... however i did raise a rather stern look from a close friend of my Girlfriend.
Here is the tip.... When dining, or sharing a table socially, if you are pouring a drink of (EG.) Vodka and you finish the bottle, the bottle then moves directly to the floor, or the bin. Do not replace the bottle to the table.
From what i gether, the reason for this is set in traditional hospitality manners. If you return the bottle to the table it gives the impression that there is no more to come or that you cannot afford to entertain any further. Well i think this was the traditional reason, it has just become bad manners now. hope this helps :)
In most of cultures the cross is a very important symbol. Lithuania is no exception . But our traditional crosses are. That's why traditional Lithuanian cross making art is the heritage protected by UNESCO. Although we, Lithuanians, are mostly christians now, we were the last pagans of Europe. And we still have saved a lot from those times.
It's still the tradition to make a cross( acctually, we say "to build the cross" ) to remember some important event or person, to ask for protection or some favour, to make some vote. Just remember the famous Hill of Crosses.
Lithuanian crosses are quite unique because mostly they are not the crosses at all. We make traditional form cross, of course. But there's little chance that you will see the cross-sun or chapel-pillar in any other country.
The cross-sun has basic of traditional cross, but it has extra diagonal rays. Usually, it is carved from wood or done from iron by blacksmith. The rays are not always straight - they may be curved or zigzaz, they may split and in the middle and join at the end or have some extra curves or ornaments at their ends, just anything you imagine. So sometimes the cross-sun reminds a flower rather than cross.
The chapel-pillar doesn't look like cross at all, even if it has the same meaning. It looks like some pillar with kind of roof or box on top of it. Sometimes little statue of Rupintojelis( the Carer- statue of sitting Jezus Christ), Holy Virgin or some saint is placed inside that carved box. Chapel-pillars are always carved from wood.
In some of the regions you can see crosses decorated with tiny aprons- it is a vote. If a women couldn't have children she had to make this little apron, embroider or put some crochet work. Late at night she would go to a village cross. tie the apron and pray. All this she had to do unnoticed, otherwise her wish would not come true.
Pigs' ears are obviously part of the common Lithuanian diet (and not only there since the picture was taken in Riga, Latvia). I had some in Vilnius - and they tasted, well, like ears...
Not too bad but also nothing I missed when I was back home. Great to impress your friends, though, with how far you go to adapt to the local customs :-)
You can't visit Lithuania and not bring back some gintaras, or amber. This fossilized tree sap has adorned thrones of kings and tombs of pharaohs for thousands of years. You can find amber with insects inside, though this type of amber is relatively rare and more expensive if you do find it. Amber jewelry, from bracelets to watches, are among the most popular souvenirs from Lithuania.
Also wildly popular are Lithuanian wood-carvings. Wood craftsmanship in Lithuania is spectacular. There are assorted favorites, ranging from living figures (serious, humorous or even macabre) to Lithuanian-style crosses.
Linen items are an excellent buy.
A great place to do some comparative shopping is on Pilies street, where artisans, pensioners and others hock their finest works: including woodwork, paintings of Vilnius and Lithuania, hand-crafted knickknacks and, of course, things made with amber that would stretch the imagination. There are some true bargains here, and some poking around and patience can lead to some real gems.
You can also bring home some alcoholic beverages. A few bottles of Utenos or Kalnapilis beer would make things interesting at home, as would a bottle of Kvietino vodka. It's also hard to beat a good bottle of krupnikas, or honey liqueur. Other liqueurs, like Palanga, Dainava, or Sokoladinis, are also popular and make a nice after-dinner drink.
Compact discs are also a good buy. Anything by M.K. Ciurlionis would definitely satisfy music lovers. Not all of his works can be found at your local HMV or Tower Records, so it is probably good to stock up here.
Also, for the sports fan, why not a basketball jersey of the top team, Zalgiris?
When going out for a few drinks with friends many Lithuanians, especially youths, don’t go to bars or clubs. Instead, they pick up a few drinks in the liquor store and find themselves a nice bench on a hill, in a park, on the beach or wherever and enjoy a few drinks and laughs. I guess it’s a lot cheaper but I also think their evening is quite different compared to going to a bar. You’re among friends, sitting under the stars, not being disturbed by loud music and other people; I think it’s a lot more intimate. Don't worry, there are also plenty of clubs, pubs and restaurants available, you don't have to follow their example. But I guess these places are not affordable for all Lithuanians and so they have come up with an enjoyable alternative.
'Uzupys' is very old & interesting part of vilnius old town. there are a lot of artists living here & much more art students dreaming one day to live here as well:) ( it is one of the most place in Vilnius for buying a flat or house.Wonderful architecture (one of the best places for the photograps to take black & white pics:)....artistic atmosphere.....:)
While in Lithuania be sure to try some of their popular alcoholic drinks:
Beer is like football to them, Everyone has a favorite that they worship. Some of the favorite brands include Svyturys (Kalnapalis Region), Utenos (Utena Region), and Kalnapalis. I personally reccomend the Utenos Porteris which is a smooth dark Porter. Also any "Strong Beers" which I think are called stiripulis are excellent. While there I saw Liters of beer for as little as $1!!
If you get a chance definitely try Midus. It is a fabulous sweet honey drink. Not very strong, but has a great flavor.
3. Various Others
Palanga, RRR, and some others offer a good chance to try a bit of Lithuania.
Vodka is widepsread. A decent Lithuanian Brand is Gera and it comes in many flavors. It can be quite cheap as compared to US prices!
I oblige you to ;-)
black bread, curd cheese with natural lincquid honey, fresh strawberries from the local market, black baked bread with garlic and cold good lithuanian beer, saltibarksciai - cold beet soup, one of the following: kugelis/plokstainis, cepelinai/didzkukuliai, at the seaside - fresh smoked fish. In winter additional things: traditional "kopustiene" soup (cabbage soup) with hot potatoes, and traditional lithuanian mead "suktinis". Check the travelogue "traditional lithuanian food" for more detailed food information.
Lithuanians used to smile spontaniously when beeing photographing. My grandfather, considering its duty to stay SERIOUS in the memory of his descendants, did not use smiling either. Although Lithuanians are quite warm people...
By the way, for everyone who is interested in antrophology, I can say, that the picture in left shows typical Lithuanian face features.
The Radisson Sas is one very nice hotel here in the old city. Good location where you can walk to...more
New modern hotel. Now name Reval hotel Neris. I work in Reval hotel so i know how everything is...more
This hotel is located on a side street several blocks north of the old town but only a short...more
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