Lithuania is the last of the Baltic countries that we visited. After we crossed into Lithuania, noted by the old USSR border crossing, there were fields of flowers, forests and some farming. As we entered Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, the drab, gray, styleless, cement USSR era apartment house greeted us.
The heart of Vilnius though is delightful baroque beauty with cobbled streets, hidden courtyards, many churches and short stretches of the old city wall, a true enclave for art and artists.
The Baltic countries are the source of the world's finest amber. Amber is so interesting! It comes from a tree, that is long extinct, which produced a great amount of sap. Beautiful jewelry is made with amber and even an alcoholic drink.
Amber is not mined in the Baltics though it is in Russia. There are two museums in Vilnius and we visited both, and both were equally interesting.
Near Vilnius, is the lovely village of wooden cottages named Trakai. The descendants of these cottagers are a Judaic sect (the Karaites) that came from the Crimea around 1400 to serve as body guards. Only 12 families remain here.
Trakai also has a water castle, which dates from around the 1400's though if has been rebuilt. Like all water castles it was in a lake and was reached by a footbridge and a drawbridge. The lakeside was guarded by towers and the inside had a court, a multitude of rooms and walkways hanging along the walls.
The Baltics are a beautiful area of the world and a comfortable and delightful place to visit.
Photos and story courtesy of Bob & Wilma.