I crossed the border into Lithuania from Latvia and stopped at the hill of crosses. It’s become a major site for catholic pilgrimages in Lithuania. In 2006 they estimated there were over 100,000 crosses.
I left the crosses and headed west to Platelly lake where I’m camped up in a forest.
After a night with lots of rain it was time to pack up with a few drops.
I headed to the Cold War Museum in what was the Plokštinė missile base.
The Garmin sent me down some dirt tracks that were muddy, sandy and with lots of water. As I progressed it was obvious nothing had been down there for some time. There were branches sticking out slapping me in the face, it was getting a bit hairy, I had gone too far to turn back, so on I went until there was hardly any track at all. I finally came to a barrier arm that was down. I got off the bike and could see the padlock was unlocked. I lifted the barrier arm up, rode through then closed it after me.
Finally, I was at the museum.
I did the audio guide tour, very interesting and well done.
The Plokštinė missile base.
was an underground base of the Soviet Union. It was built near Plokščiai village, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of Plungė, in the sparsely populated Plokštinė forest near Plateliai Lake, Samogitia, Lithuania. This was the first nuclear missile base of the Soviet Union built to house underground R-12 Dvina (NATO reporting name: SS-4 Sandal) ballistic medium-range missiles.
The site was abandoned in 1979 by the Russians and left to its own devices. Most of the metal was plundered by opportunists who sold it for scrap.
In 2012, theCold War Museumm was opened. You can see one of the 4 silos. Well worth the €16 entry fee, that included the audio guide.
I left and headed back east in the heaviest rain I’ve ridden since Central America; it was literally like standing in a shower with your wet weather gear on. So many cars had pulled off the road with their hazard lights on.
I’m writing this in my tent as the thunder and lightning roars and the rain pelts down.
Here’s hoping tomorrow is a drier day.
After the big storm last night, there was stillness and dryness this morning. Yay!!
I headed south east to Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city. I went there to see the Ninth Fort and it’s memorial and Kaunas Castle.
The Ninth Fort is a part of the Kaunas Fortress, which was constructed in the late 19th century. During the Soviet occupation, the fort was used as a prison and way-station for prisoners being transported to labour camps. After the occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany, the fort was used as a place of execution for Jews, captured Soviets, and others.
Kaunas Castle was built in the 14th century in a Gothic style.
Then I headed to the absolute Centre of Europe, at least that’s what the Guinness book of Records states.
From there it was to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuanian where I’m staying in a campground for €12 per night.
Today I caught the bus into Vilnius which is the capital of Lithuania. It has a population of around 594,000 I walked around the old town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some beautiful old buildings, tree lined avenues, which reminded me of France.
I visited the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, also known as the KGB museum. It’s in the building the KGB operated from. Lithuania and the other Baltic states had it bad, firstly occupied by the USSR in the 1920’s until the Nazi’s took over in the Second World War, then again by the USSR after the war. Thousands killed or went “missing” during those times.
These small countries had no chance against the might of their aggressors.
You see so many Ukrainian flags flying here, they’ve been part of the communist state and it didn’t work out well for them.
We are blessed to be free; I have had the freedom to travel all around the world, say what I want, listen to people with opposing ideas, see so many different cultures and people, yet it could all be gone in an instant if we don’t have the courage to fight for that right. The consequences of not doing so is dire!!
I have enjoyed the Baltic states, their culture, the way people interact with each other. I will be sad to leave.
It was already 21°C when I left camp at 8am this morning. I’ve acclimatised to the cooler weather of Scandinavia, so it was sweaty weather later on at 33°C.
First, I visited Trakai Island Castle which is surrounded by lake Galve. The castle was built in the 14 century.
When I got there the sun was right behind it, so not very good photos, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.
From there it was east to Grutas Park.
When Lithuania became independent from the USSR in the early nineties a savvy business man grabbed the old Soviet sculptures and statues before they were trashed.
He put them in this park along with a little zoo. €12 to go around it. I thought that was a bit much for what it was. Quite interesting though. From there I headed for Poland. I set the destination in the Garmin to a wild camp a few hours before Warsaw.