Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Week in Kaunas

The drive to Kaunas seemed long but pleasant. The party had lasted past 2 am and Soren caught some zzzz’s on the way to the capital during soviet times. I stayed at the same place at 50 Laisves Aleja (Freedom Lane). Daiva gives me a frequent customer discount, so my studio apartment in the center of town (similar to staying on Union Square in SF) will cost $36/day. We arrived in town and called ahead and Darius met us at the gated parking lot (mc photo). He gave me the key to the ground floor studio apt. and I paid him cash for 6 nights. He told us to just call when the guys wanted to leave and he could open the gate by phone.
        We left immediately after a quick tour and pit stop at my apt. for the folk art shop and arrived just before she was going to lock the door. It has been at least 80 degrees every day since I arrived and the lady said she was closing early (the streets were pretty empty and it was around 3 pm.) We bought souvenirs made by pagans, and I added 2 new purple belts to my growing collection. Then we took a 2 stop bus ride to the other end of Old Town and we walked up and down stopping where ever the Danes wanted. I tried to find the Gothic Perkunas Temple, and when I did I was heartbroken. It has a new concrete and glass skin, and except for one wall of exposed brick, it was unrecognizable from the gothic masterpiece it used to be. Those darn Jesuits (they own the building)! We stopped at town hall square for coffee and yummy gelato and watched several wedding processions and even saw a stretched Hummer. We meandered back through Old Town and just before Freedom Lane we stopped at Lithuania’s version of Starbuck’s, the Vero Café. I ordered an Americano, and when I asked for cream, she topped it with freshly whipped cream – pretty good! No cars are allowed on tree-lined Laisves Aleja, and we had to go down and up steps under the end of Old Town to reach it. We were total tourists back to my place where the Danes said a fond farewell and headed back to Vilnius. (I hope they found their way back, I haven’t heard from them since.)

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