In my half term break from school I decided to go visit the Baltics and from when I decided this was an excellent idea in March until when I went in late October, I still thought this was a fantastic idea. Then I got there and froze my arse off because it was so cold. At one point I was chasing snowflakes around outside with my tongue hanging out for entertainment to forget about how I couldn’t feel my face. So the first thing I learned here was this.
- Don’t go to Lithuania after September.
Here is some other random shit I learned whilst I was making my way around the wondrous Lithuania:
- You cannot buy tinned soup in Lithuania
I tried. I failed. When all you want when you are sick and snotting all over the place is a large can of chunky soup and all you can find are Maggi sachets, life is going to get a bit disappointing.
- You can be polite sneezing here.
The word for thank you is aciu, pronounced ‘achoo’ like the sneeze sound. Also a plus when you are sick.
- There is an independent country within Vilnius
There is a country within the city of Vilnius known as the Republic of Uzupio. They have their own constitution and it is hilarious. “A dog has the right to be a dog”, “everyone has the right to be loved, but not necessarily”. Amazeballs….. anyway, everyone who lives here has a passport and they have an independence day party every year.
- Other countries love occupying Lithuania.
There were the Danes, the Swedes, the Poles, the Russians, the Nazi’s and again the Russians….. pure ridiculousness. In 1989, whilst under the occupation of the Russians towards the end of the Cold War, over 2 million people joined hands on the road that stretched from Tallinn to Vilnius in one massive straight line to demonstrate unity and a want for independence. This is the longest human chain recorded in history. They had to wait a few years, but they eventually came out from under the Russians to claim their independence and have been their own country ever since.
- Religious pissing contests are funny
Under the reign of the catholics, no other buildings were to be taller than the catholic church in Vilnius. So as an ode to ‘screw you’ the Jewish decided that if they couldn’t go up, they would go down. So they dug out two floors in the basement to make sure that they had the “tallest” building in city. Cheeky shits!
- Lithuanians love basketball
I mean they are totally obsessed with basketball. Any other sport that would otherwise be played here falls to the wayside compared to the Lithuanian love of basketball.
- Churches are not just useful as churches
When the French arrived, this particular church was turned into a storage facility for Napoleon’s guns. Then after the French departed, the Germans spent a stint here changing all the shapes of the windows so they could get the bells out and melt them down to make more guns. Then after that the Russians came in and banned any religion whatsoever and it commissioned to be an ‘atheist museum’. What do you even put in an atheist museum?? Odd.
- You can get baptised more than once.
In fact, to encourage people to become baptised upon the arrival of the religious folk into this area and the shunning of the pagan folk, they used to give all people being baptised a woollen t-shirt. So good and warm was this wool that many people went back to get baptised a good three or four times so that they could get more woollen t-shirts.
- The first massacres of the Jews in World War 2 started in Lithuania
When I was travelling in Kaunas, I went to a very sobering place known as Ninth Fort. It was originally a part of the fortification structures in the area but during the Russian occupation and the Nazi occupation, the place was used as a prison. It was here that the first of the massacres of the Jews began by the Nazi’s in World War 2 after they were bought over from Gdansk. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls. There is a monument to remember these people by that is quite haunting and beautiful.
- There is a Devils Museum
It is full of different statues and paintings of the devil doing all kinds of wicked deeds and is in fact, quite cool. Devils pouring vodka down the throats of helpless individuals, fornicating devils, international devils, devils having an all round great time.
- Zeppelins are the bomb
The local food is like a giant ball of potato with meat in the middle that is then either boiled or fried. It is served with a sauce and bits of bacon. It is amazing and super good for the cold months. And it also sits like a bomb in the bottom of your stomach once you’re done eating it.
Well hopefully this was interesting. Based on my adventures with a cold whilst roaming around outside trying to catch snowflakes with my tongue I did actually managed to learn some stuff in my pharmaceutical induced state. Until the next!