This was one of our corporate trips and before departure we spent a lot of time to make it happen successfully. During two days accompanied by friendly colleagues we decided to visit a number of exciting sites in Lithuania and spent time together in eastern part of Lithuania. About one month we spent for preparation of this trip looking for interesting sites, convenient prices and adjusting schedule of our visits.
Lithuanian icon Cross Hill
And finally here we are – in the beginning of June at 7 AM we meet each other to start the trip. Just some morning coffee before departure and short waiting for colleagues who are a bit late. Our first destination – one of the most famous and exciting sites in Lithuania Cross Hill (Križiu kalnas) near town Siauliai.
In fact Cross Hill is a small hummock covered with more than one hundred thousand various religious things like crosses, figures and pictures. However, it is very important even iconic historical place for Lithuanians.
In this place, around 13th century AD, was located wooden castle of local tribes. The castle was destroyed by crusaders. The first time, crosses are mentioned in archives around 1850, however other sources tell that first crosses were placed here in 1831, after unsuccessful unrest against rules of Russian tsar. During Soviet time, there were unsuccessful attempts to destroy this place because it was in conflict with ideology of communists.
Most important event was visit of Pope to Cross Hill in 1993. He mentioned that this place is very special for Christians of whole Europe as it tells about all distress and pain seen in the last century, especially faced in Eastern Europe.
Burbiski estate and park
Our next destination was estate Burbiski (Burbiškio Dvaro) – another good example of exciting sites in Lithuania. Burbiski estate is one of most the beautiful manors in Lithuania. It is called also Lithuanian Holland because of large tulip gardens blooming in spring, sculptures in park, many ponds with 15 islands and 12 bridges. Total area of park is about 28 hectares.
Luckily, our guide was director of the estate. He told us a lot about history, former owners and renewed buildings. House for owl still living in the park was one of very recently finished buildings. It was so interesting that only heavy rain was able to stop our excitement and we finally went to bus to continue our trip.
Glassworks in Panevezis
The next stop – Glasremis glassworks in Lithuanian town Panevezis. This art glass studio was founded in 2000 by famous Lithuanian artist Remigijus Kriukas. It produces various in sizes and shapes decorative objects of glass, as well as business gifts, prizes and gifts for various occasions and events. All designs are created by mentioned artist and his wife Indre Stulgaite-Kriukiene. Glass objects are exclusively hand-made by highly skilled and experienced masters, only first class materials are used in production.
We have seen similar glassworks in Czech Republic, however these in Lithuania are specifically oriented to production of design elements while Czechs produce more practical things.
Guide told us about production process and showed showroom, however because of heavy rain outside, we also got a possibility to spend more time in glassworks and even visit production area. We saw the process of making artworks what was unexpected and really exciting experience. At the end of the visit, some examples we bought to take them home.
Lithuanian lunch and accommodation
After visiting glassworks, we started our way to camping, stopping shortly at restaurant Karčema Ružava, which is located near main road E67.
Owner of the restaurant was already waiting for us and we had really nice lunch what followed with authentic Lithuanian birthday cake (one of our colleagues had her birthday). Food was excellent and we were satisfied especially because it is not so easy to find place near road in Lithuania to be able to have a lunch for 15 people at once.
It was nearly evening when we arrived at campsite Apple Island (Obuoliu sala). This area was not touched by rain and we spent fantastic evening and night there. We got necessary BBQ equipment and large private place for dinner.
This campsite (4 stars) is exceptionally good comparing with average you may get in Baltic countries when considering value for money. Places for tents, caravans and bungalows are available. As campsite is located on island, there is a possibility to swim in the lake.
Other exciting sites in Lithuania
Experience described here is just a small bit of Lithuania. During this trip we visited a bakery and watched how they make famous Lithuanian dessert sakotis.
There are exciting other places to visit such as capital of Lithuania Vilnius, towns Kaunas, Palanga as well as The Curonian Spit. You also have not to miss medieval castle of Trakai, located on island of lake near Lithuanian capital Vilnius. If you visit Trakai castle, I would recommend to hire guide to find out a lot of interesting facts about whole Lithuanian history.
To finalise notes about this trip, I should say that these two days were spent unexpectedly interesting in Lithuania.