Druskininkai, January 4, 2006 - Wednesday

Trip Start Dec 22, 2005
Trip End Jan 08, 2006

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

I had a vague plan to one of these days pay a visit to Gruto Parkas, or Grûtas Park in translation. Located some 8 kilometres from Druskininkai, it is an open-air museum with a large collection of Soviet sculptures, busts, Lenins and other ideological relics of the Soviet era. Picked up from various dump sites all over Lithuania where they ended up after being dismantled in the wake of the fall of communism, they now make up one of the quirkier and certainly more famous tourist attractions there. I even thought I might do it today.
But, weather in Druskininkai had grown colder again and temperature dropped. Going out onto the fresh air was nowhere near as pleasant as the day before. Besides, buses to Gruto Parkas went way too infrequently for me to count for sure with boarding the next one in case I got really cold. Of course, I couldn't spend entire day in a closed space. But when I had my feel of the weather, I settled for only one more walk around Druskininkai.
Ostensibly, I again went on search for food and Internet café. In a settlement like Druskininkai there are not many "other ways" to get there. Nevertheless, I sought not to follow my own footsteps as much as I could. That approach first got me to the Nemunas River, the largest Lithuanian river which, granted, was here in Druskininkai still relatively small, but by the time it reaches the Baltic sea, more or less everything of any significance in Lithuania is relegated to the status of its tributary, including the Neris river, as well. Nemunas was flowing by just a hundred metres or so from where we were staying overnight. As I have already pointed out, the house we had our accommodation in was at the very edge of the town. Right next to it there was a wooden shack which may or may not have belonged to the same owner and it probably served the purpose of tools and machinery storage or something. Then next to it there was another residential house, and beyond that it was the woods.
And through them, in its rather shallow riverbed, but also pretty deep with regard to the surrounding terrain, Nemunas was slowly meandering and lazily carrying along respectable chunks of ice on its surface. It was closest to a frozen river that I had seen up until then in my life.
Then I moved on in the same direction as the day before. I was again lured by the Druskonis Lake, only today spending more time there, exploring those shores I had not on first occasion. Again like a kid, I first descended onto the frozen surface, but then also indulged in the pleasure of walking through the woods around the lake, looking on purpose for never trodden, pristine snow, and being the first to leave my own tracks, occasionally wading knee-deep. There in the woods it was pleasant. One could feel almost no wind, and there was almost no sound to hear. But out on the clearing and in the streets it was not exactly that idyllic.
All in all, my walk today was shorter.
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