"Really liked this place........" Top 5 Page for this destination Kaunas by leics
Kaunas Travel Guide: 970 reviews and 1,714 photos
Not quite sure why, but I felt very much at home in Kaunas. Maybe it was because it's not a massive place, and not over-run with visitors (although there were plenty of tour groups around).
Maybe it was because I liked the people, who all seemed very courteous and pleasant.
Maybe it was because they seemed to have almost an Italian 'passegiata' in the warm evenings, wandering up and down the main street in the Old Town with their little dogs, their children on bikes, chatting and meeting with friends....
Maybe it was the fact that I was there during 'Hansa Kaunas', the yearly Medieval 'fayre' at the riverside (do check my videos of 'Idorath' to see a superb bagpipe group from Belarus).....
It may have been the architecture in the Old Town, but I think not.although fascinating, I have seen architecture in other places but not felt as comfortable....
So I don't know why I felt quite so comfortable, but I did.
Kaunas is a fairly big place, but its Old Town is compact. My hotel was in the Old Town, almost on the riverside. I hadn't realised quite how far it was from the bus/railway stations and I was very pleased that (very unusually) I'd got them to book me a taxi from the airport.
I spent a whole day just wandering Kaunas Old and 'New' towns.........enjoying the wonderful architecture from the 14th and 15th and 16th and 17th centuries in the Old Town (there is still much renovation work to be done, but I can see that it will be eventually), popping into churches, wandering up the long, pedestrianised Laisves Aleja ........
And another day visiting more ancient churches, and the castle , and then wandering around the residential area of Vilijampole, once the Jewish Ghetto area (my primary purpose was to seek out the few memorials for this) but full of fascinating wooden buildings of all types.
A day in Vilnius and then, despite my potential plans to visit the Ninth Fort and/or Pazaialis monastery, I ended up spending the whole of Saturday in the Old Town. First watching the multiple weddings taking place at he Town Hall, amazed at the limos and the bridesmaids' dresses, then thoroughly enjoying Hansa Kaunas, with its stalls, its music, its dancing, its games.........and its glimpses of ordinary Kaunas folk 'at play'.
What did I learn?
People in Kaunas love children: that was very clear from the way they interacted with them.
Drivers actually stop for you at pedestrian crossings.
The beer is good, the food is good and both are very reasonably-priced indeed.
Traditional Lithuanian food is based on real farming-peasant-foods......split peas, meat, potatoes (especially in pancake form), filled 'dumplings'. Good, solid, filling food for hard-working people.
There are people with alcohol problems in Kaunas, but they are not a hassle or nuisance to others...just rather sad.
There is a law (local? national?) that supermarkets/shops cannot sell alcohol between 10pm and 8am. Sensible.
There are some people who beg from others sitting outside cafes/restaurants, especially in the old Town. That is sad as well, especially when it is old ladies who are begging (saw this in Vilnius, not Kaunas).
Young Kaunas ladies like to wear very high heels, despite the cobbles. I saw 8 ladies with plaster casts on their ankles. I suspect the two things may be related.
You give flowers to the bride after the wedding........that's what the bridesmaids are for, it seems, to collect the multiple bouquets the bride has been given.
When you emerge from the Town Hall after getting married, you ring a bell. Or, if you don't, someone else in your party does.
After you have been married your photographer (and often a videographer too) will lead you around various places to have photos taken. his means you can often see newly-weds, in all their finery, wandering up and down the main street of the Old Town.
There are many wall plaques and memorials-set-in-walls around the town to various important Lithuanians who were born/lived in those places. The city is proud of its heritage.
I learned that Rudas Kalanta set himself on fire in 1972 as a protest against Soviet rule. I did not know that. There is a memorial sculpture for him in the City Garden.
There are some memorials to the Jews of Kaunas, who were placed in the Vilijampole ghetto in 1941. Many of them were shot in the Ninth Fort, a few km outside the city, the rest were sent to various concentration camps. There were 35 000 Jews in Kaunas at the beginning of WW2. There are around 1000 now.
I learned lots more, of course.
I really enjoyed my visit to Kaunas and Vilnius, far more than I had expected (especially as the weather was not wonderful). Maybe I'll go again one day, and explore more of Lithuania.
- Pros:Loads of history in a friendly, safe place.
- Cons:None that I came across
- In a nutshell:So much more to see and explore than expected.
Kaunas airport is small but absolutely fine. However, they clearly have real problems dealing with several full flights... more travel advice
I c noticed the surrounding wall and entrance to this church first of all....the two cherubs posed above the... more travel advice
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