Druskininkai, January 2, 2006 - Monday
Trip Start Dec 22, 2005
22Trip End Jan 08, 2006
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Where I stayed
Temperature still lingered around healthy -4 or -5°C, and the guy didn't seem to be in a particular hurry
He took us to the edge of town and brought us to the yard of a wooden house. That was where we were going to spend the next few days. Of course, the road was not trodden here any more, but rather all under snow, same as everything else that hadn't constantly been under some kind of traffic. We entered the house, which was actually very nicely fit out and cosily furnished. He showed us rooms, bathroom, kitchen and even a cellar space where there were pool and ping-pong tables, should we desire to play some. There were two TV sets, one in the kitchen with dining room, and another in one of the sleeping rooms. That other one even had at least hundred satellite channels on disposal. Maybe in part because we were not necessarily at the peak of the tourist season, all that was cheaper than in a hotel. I could ascertain that Ruta had chosen well.
The guy left us a key and then disappeared.
All that dragged considerably out so it was well past two when we had finally settled everything. We decided to waste no more time and go downtown. Ruta had once, long ago, during her high school days, been in Druskinikai, so she believed she could remember to an extent what there was in the town. One of the first things on her mind was to find a place to eat.
Druskininkai is the largest and probably the best known health resort in Lithuania. It is famous for its old sanatorium treatment traditions, and for nature cracked up to be "wonderful" even if right now everything was under snow
We walked the streets, partly following Ruta's vague and misty recollections, and partly our noses, wading along the way through not exactly removed snow. I guess no one really felt like working yet after the New Year had just come around. What the cars had cleaned with their wheels, fine. What they had not, let it wait for better moments.
We came to a house in which allegedly there was a restaurant. But even if there was, everything was closed now
Instead of a restaurant, though, for starters we stumbled upon a church. It was the Holy Virgin Mary Scapular Church situated near Druskonis Lake. Even if I didn't know it at the time, since here, same as in Trakai the day before, everything was frozen. The church itself was built in 1931 in what they say is neo-gothic style. Ruta was hungry, hungrier than me, and the church was closed, so we never tried to enter. In the park around the church there was a table with Druskininkai town map. We first got our bearings, checked where we were, where the very centre was and which way Ruta would go to Poland the next day, and then we moved on.
We came upon something that was a shopping centre, albeit on a rather small scale, but roughly fitting in size a small town like Druskininkai. We also found a closed tourist information centre, a small town hall, a hotel here or there, and finally - surprise, surprise! - even a restaurant. It was now certain, the only open one in entire town.
We entered at first twilight, some time between three and four, and as it was the only eatery in town open, we first had to queue. It was no hassle for me, but Ruta was increasingly hungry. In moments like that, of course, it appears that everyone just drags their feet, that they can "have their smoke outside, as well" and "what the hell more is there now to talk about?". And yet, at some point, when I guess it appeared to Ruta that people were only coming in and never going out, at last we too got our seats.
Sure, now that we were having our places, eating and slowly squeezing the chill out of us in the warmth of the restaurant, it didn't look to us as we were dragging our feet and all we talked about had to be told right then and there. But it's always and everywhere like that. It never seemed to me that we might have gone too far with our sitting. Maybe we didn't, either. But once we were out again, it was already completely dark.
On our way back, we just stopped here or there to take a photo of the town with Christmas and New Year decorations. Small town, small scale decorations. Nonetheless, it looked pretty. Just the way white Christmas and time thereafter should look.