This year Kristina and Jørgen finally invited us to Lithuania where Kristina grew up. We took a direct flight to Vilnius and were picked up at the airport by Jørgen and Kristina.
Our first stop was Druskininkai where we stayed one night in a spa hotel with a huge water park. We spent most of our time in the adult part of the water park where they had several jacuzzis and a bar in the pool. But of course we also had to test the 6 water slides, the wave pool and pretty much everything else they had.
The next day we walked around in Druskininkai before heading back to Vilnius for the weekend. On the way we stopped at Grutos Parkas where most of the remaining monuments and statues from the Soviet period can be found in addition to a small zoo.
In Vilnius we met some of Kristina's friends (which we already knew from our trip to Mijas in 2007) for dinner at Lokys. We tasted several traditional dishes like pigs ears and potato dumplings (cepelinai). Dessert (Irish coffee) and local beer was enjoyed in a cozy pub in the old town.
We spent a whole day walking around in beautiful Vilnius. The old town, Gediminas tower, several churches (Vilnius is known as the city of churches), the bohemian district of Uzupis (World heritage site, declared itself an independent republic in 1997), the gate of dawn, the town hall, the university, the Frank Zappa statue, the Precidential Palace etc.
On Sunday we were back on the road again. Our first stop was Trakai, a historic city and lake resort. The main sight was the Trakai Island Castle but we also tasted Kibinai, a local dish in the Karaim community.
Our next stop was Kaunas where we walked down Laisves Aljea from St. Michael the Archangel Church to the town hall. After some shopping in the gigantic shopping mall we continued to Klaipeda where we were staying for the night.
In the evening we went out for some dinner and beers with some friends of Kristina (one that we met in Mijas and a few others). The next day we took the ferry over the Curonian Lagoon to the Curonian Spit (a 98 km long, thin, sand dune spit) and drove down to Nida (the westernmost point of Lithuania and the Baltic States). From the top of the sand dunes we could see over to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. We stopped in a few fishing villages on the way back to the mainland and had a long drive back to Vilnius where we spent the night before going back to Norway Tuesday morning.