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Adventures in the Lithuanian Countryside

I am back fromm my adventures in the countryside, where I drove out to Rietavas, Lithuania and Laukava, Lithuania, ancestral homes of Clan Gerrib. Herewith is a long report.

First, getting there was interesting. Kaunas is a city of 300,000, with an airport to match. An airport in which the main terminal is getting rebuilt. The rental car place is in a temporary hanger, and was unmanned when I arrived at 9:30 AM. I called the service number, somebody was sent, and about an hour later my Mazda 3 and handheld GPS were on the road.

There's a modern 4-lane road between Kaunas and Klaipėda, Lithuania's seaport. Rietavas, a town of 3500 or so, is about 15 kilometers north of that road on a two-lane blacktop. Overall, I found the countryside (and the roads) reminded me of Indiana - long flat stretches broken up with sets of low rolling hills. The Motorway was okay, albeit not entirely limited access, and the back roads were "Indiana standard" winding and poorly-paved.

I got to Rietavas and ducked into City Hall to use the toilet, then toured the church, an ornate Romanesque Revival pile. I couldn't find the cemetary, so I had lunch at the only place in town, a roadside gas / food / motel (apparently some kind of Lithuanian chain) then headed to Laukava, which was 21 kilometers away on another indifferent blacktop 2-laner.

There were five or six named hamlets in between, none of which seemed worth stopping at. Laukava was even smaller than Rietavas, with only one business in town, a mini-mart. The church was in poor shape, although when I arrived construction workers were doing their thing. An older man, possibly the priest in civilian clothes, was there when I arrived. He had no English and I no Lithuanian, but he broke out their monstrance to show me, which was a nice gesture.

I then headed back to town. My GPS let me down - I missed a turn and instead of auto-recalculating it said "off route" and stopped. I had to manually kickstart the thing to redirect me, which it eventually did. In any event, I made it, and photos to follow.

This entry was originally posted at http://chris-gerrib.dreamwidth.org/679300.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



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