Kaunas

Trip Start Jul 07, 2007
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24
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Trip End Sep 22, 2007


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Monday, August 20, 2007

We arrived in Kaunas during rush hour after spa treatments and road diversions. Our earlier research had not revealed the existence of any campsites so a hotel appeared sensible.  Unfortunately, we were unlikely to get to tourist information before they closed so we picked a hotel from the Rough Guide that was along the route towards the centre.  The centre of the town is at the bottom of a hill nestled between two rivers, so we choose a hotel at the top of the hill - obviously thinking of the exercise for us walking into town and not the fabulous views from the hotel room.

The "new" town is organised around the long, wide, pedestrian Freedom Avenue (Laisves aleja) which did contain an avenue of trees along its centre providing some pleasant shadow to the benches underneath from the heat of the sun.  We explored part of the avenue the first night although food was a high priority.  Luckily in addition to the shops along the road there were copious numbers of cafes, restaurants and bars.  Returning to the hotel along a different route we discovered the beautiful art deco "Church of Christ's Resurrection" tucked just behind our hotel.

The following morning it seemed appropriate to start with the church and investigate the inside in addition to the night-time exterior.  The art deco theme was continued inside and the church had been beautifully restored from its Soviety occupied use as a radio factory.  Continuing on into town we started at the northern end of the central avenue dominated at a crossroads by an orthdox cathedral.  Whilst large and imposing, the art deco church was in a better state of repair and looked more beautiful.  We then walked the length of the pedestrian area past the Presidential Palace (Kaunas was the capital during the inter-war years when Poland occupied Vilnius) to the "old" town.  The primary focus of the "old" town being the Town Hall square,with the Cathedral, Jesuit Church and other impressive buildings surrounding it, along with a Castle very near by.   Kaunas isn't that large, but our ambling pace, together with our long stop off at a couple of sights along the way, meant that it was already well into the afternoon by the time we got there and it had become rather hot (tarmac was melting in some places!!).
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