Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Those days of summer

 Yes, There are still alive volunteers in Aukstiatija. No excuses possible... but the summer was too good to expend it in front of a computer. How it´s possible that is already october?
 Like in the film Grease (because is such a realistic movie) summer ends at some point and you need to wake up and deal with it. So summer for me is over just now, weeks after the oficial start of the autom. The cold weather is arriving again to Lithuania, and, with all the pitty of my heart I have to face that it´s not longer time to swim and do kayaking in the lakes (well, maybe if you are brave enought..)
Let's sum up...Summer in Lithuania started with the celebration of Saint Johns (Jonines) on the 21th of June. If someone is here in that date I totally recomend to go to to Kernarvè. It seems like the perfect place to be in this magic night. Kernarvè is an old forthill are the places where it´s belive that was celebrated the coronation of king Mindaugas, one of the most important persons in the history of Lithiuania because was the one who unificated all the tribes. There are a lot of different rituals for this night. Some of them I cal relate with my country, like jumping the fire, but others are totally new and fastinating for me, like making flower crowns or crossing the “gate from the real world to the spiritual one” All this spiced with traditonal dances, songs, etc.

A lot of concerts use to be organize in Lithuania during the summer, every weekend there are a couple of festivals to assist. I really enjoy the Galapagai festival, in Zarasai, where I get to know a lot of lithuanian bands, some unknown and others famous. I´m always willing to know new music, so this was a great way.

 And I also made some nice trips, inside the country but also in Poland, Germany and Latvia. It's great to see the difference between people of this countrys and meet other travellers. I like everyplace that I visit: Poland old towns and fastinating history; Berlin events and graffitti and Latvia nature and sweets. It´s still in my agenda to visit Estonia, but I will go with a friend when I finish here, so I'm very exited about it!

  In addition, I also some visitors  and I always find very interesting their impressions. No one had a very clear idea of what to expect from this country, so they are always surprise. Negative impresions like the lack of smiles on the people and positive ones like the nature and the homemade products. One of them best wast my family. My parents, sister and aunt come for one week visit and I had the chance to show them around. We laught, talk-talk-talk, travel, have car problems, argue...I wouldn't change it for anything! 

I left the best for the end: aukstiatija at summer. I honestly enjoy each one of the seasons here, but in the summer I had the chance to spend all day long outside and it was just perfect. What would be better that going to swim in the lake next to the offfice in the lunch break? I fell so lucky in those ocasions. What else? Kayaking, biking, discovering new spots in the park, meeting very interesting visitors, etc. And those very long days of lithuanian summer where it seems that you have time for everithing...

But after my elegy to the summer, I have to confess that this autom with yellow and orange colours, mushrooms in the forest and sunny days are starting to grow on me.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The holliday camp

 I used to work with kids teaching them outdoors activities, art and craft and also couching trouble children. I love spending time with them, maybe because, at my 23 years, I'm still a kid.

That´s why I had a great time in the summer camp organize in Reskutenai. We were spending there two nights with 14 children of different ages. The place where we spend the night was spooky: an old priest house full with crucifixes and photos of Benedic XVI. But maybe because of that was more fun to sleep there!

I really conect with the kids. They were in love with the hot potato game, so we play a lot and it was a lot of fun. I also draw a kid a tatto of a skull and it look nice, so he was very proud of it. One evening I made a fire and we roast marshmallows and sausages there. Later we dance and sing tradicional songs.

Other day, a few villagers came to give us a show with dated instruments and talk about the life in the old days.

The last day we went to Reskutenai museum, where there are a Nalš ia Ethnographic Museum Reskutenai Branch, where you can find a lot of different objets; from a metheorite to old soldiers uniforms.

I spend a brilliant couple of days with the kids. Thanks guys!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boat trip

 Last week, we went on a boat trip organize for the winners of a poster contest on the park. This very creative girls who keep us company were Eglė, Livija, Monika, Ieva and Erika. Congratulations!

 We part from the rental boat bussiness at Paluse. The plan was to arrive to Gianučiai campsite, spend there the night there and come back the next day. For that we needed to pass first the lake Lušiai , then go across the channel which conects it with the lake Asalnai, then Asalnykštis and finally Linkmenas.

 We divided in three boats, I went with my mentor, Linas, and his son, Martynas. It was my first time in a real boat trip (I just have beenin the ones on the lakes of city parks!) so i was quite clumpsy at the beggining. But when I stop thinking about it, I start to get the rythm of the rowing and actually enjoying it. It was nice to see Meironys village, with it´s trail with wooden sculptures from the lake . Also we could spot a lot of birds: swams, ducks, goosander, etc. It's a beautifull spectacle seem them with their babies.

 We stop at Puziniškis for some snack/rest.We also visit Puziniškis Oak, a tree of 400 years old. The leggend says that a big treasure it´s buried under it. And when we were contemplating the magestuosic tree....it start to rain cats and dogs!! We wait for a while, but as it didn´t seem to stop, we had to go back on the boats. When we were arriving to the campsite it stop raining (I know, perfect timing!) but by then I was an human drop.

 So, as we were already wet, we decided to go for a swim on the lake. It was very fun: the water was warm and when we went out the fire and an amazing vegetarian curry were already waiting for us. 

 After dinner, we were playing some games like hot potato and bulldogs. Then, they surprise us (or at least me) with a mini excursion to Gianuč iu piliakalnis and Ladakanis. It was beautifull to walk at night, without any sounds beside the crickets and the birds.

 When we arrive to the campsite, we went straight to bed and I felt sleep after 5 seconds. Next morning, when Calum and me wake up, the rest of the team had already pack the tents. After fithting with ours for half an hour, we decided to carry it outside the bag :-P (Mini-point for the foreigeners!). We were a little bit scared about the weather, because the forthcast for that day was awfull, but at the end was a beautifull journey. We even could stop at Puziniš ko piliakalnis, to visit it and pick some strawberrys and blueberrys (the first that I eat in Lithuania!) In three hours, we were already back in Paluse. And when we arrive to the visitors center, it start to rain really hard . This time yes, perfect timing!!

 By the way, sorry for the quality of the photos, but they are from Calum´s phone...Thanks to the bastard person who took my camera!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


  Keeping with my good rhythm of blog post, I write about our canoeing trip almost a month later ;)

 The 26 of April there are in different parts of Lithiuania a lot of activities about picking garbage . People go to the natural parks with bags, clean the area a little and have a nice day in the outside. I think it´s a bright idea that shows how much lituanians apreciate their land. I would love to export it to Spain!

 In Ignalina district the local action group organize a kayak trip with the porpouse of cleaning the river Kiauna. It started in Pakyaunys and finish at Kukliai.

  The day couldn´t be better: sunny and bright, without a cloud in the sky. And here it is a our cleaning team, small but very powerfull! (thanks girls for the photos!)

 We divided in couples fro the kayaks and, even if he tried to avoid it, Calum had the bad luck of ending with me, sorry mate! We decided to start with a certain organization: one team cheeking the right side, other the left and the third making sure it was alright. But after a while, the river was so beautifull that we forgot about it and just relax and enjoy the view (or it was just me?? )

We spot some animals, like swams, ducks and a very relaxed grass-snake, taking a sun bath in the shore. I don´t know if you hear about the lithuanian leggend about Eagle and the grass-snake, but if you didn´t here it is Ms. Wikipedia to help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egl%C4%97_the_Queen_of_Serpents

There was a lot of threes in the midle of the river, so we had to avoid them.Calum and me were complaining about the person who cut them in such a stupid way...and ten minutes latter: ahhh, beavers! (yes, we are kind of slow)

 One of this trees cuted by mean bevers was cuting the pass. Intersting to see the differents ways of acting of our group . Some decided to go down and carry the kayak. We decided to pass the kayak under the tree and surpinsingly it work!!

A nice moment of cooperation was when we had a little bridge on the way. Algirdas and me went down the kayak and keep it up, so the rest could pass down. Garei dirba!

But the best moment for me was the furius fight for a can that was floating in the midle of the river. All the three kayaks run in to it like if it was made of gold. When we reached it, I expected music and fireworks: I felt like if I had the most important thing of the world between my hands!

  When we arrive to the meeting point, we were proud of ourselfs for our seven bags full of garbage (even if it sounds strange when you read it outloud!)

 Then it was time to rest and enjoy the day...

Monday, May 5, 2014

All together now: PA-LAN-GA!!

 This is the story of our holidays-schoolar trip (excursia) to the seaside. Astra, our lithuanian teacher, invite me and Calum to joy her in this trip. After a month, I already miss my atlantic sea, so I say yes without thinking it twice.

So, right after my arrival training, I meet my travel buddies at the stotis and we took the train until Šiauliai. Our first stop, still far away from the see, was this quiet and lovely city. I really enjoy walking by the streets full of sculptures and green spots.

 Of course, we also went to the famous hill of croses. The day was dark and cloudy, and this even make the visit more impresive. Walking between the croses, like in the midle of a labyrinth, creats a feeling that I will not forget. Sorry I didn´t took photos, I didn't even think about it. Our three little (handmade) crosses are resting there, if you dare to find them.

 When we arrive to Palanga, right after going down the bus we already could feel the brize of the see. One hour later we were already on the beach, staring at that amazing Baltic sea while the sun was setting.

 Next day we were all day long walking by the beach: searching for amber, drawing in the wet sand and just enjoying the view.  

After a quiet dinner we went to sleep early, because next day we had to get up early to go to very special place. We took the bus to Klaipėda and a ferry to Smiltynė.:we were arrive to the Curonian spit (Kuršių nerija) The legend tells that this sand spit was form by a gently gigantess call Neringa, in order to protect the village from a sea monster wich was tormenting them.

 After a lovely picnic on the beach, we took the bus to Joudkrantė. I really like this village, we walk by the lagoon shore, were there are a lot of sculptures from international artist, and tradicional protected houses. Latter on, we visit the hill of wiches, a path full of both beutifull and scary wooden sculptures. 100% recomendable!

 We spend the night in a lovely rental house, full of nice details like this:

Promise, I´m not paid for doing advertisement, but I totally felt in love with the place!

Next day we pack our things and take the bus to Nida, trying to pay attention because there is a part
where you can see the see and the lagoon at the same time. Once in Nida we went up till the sun clock on the top of the dune. Great views up there! In Nida, we also visited the amber gallery, where we learn about the diferent types of amber and how to check if it is authentic, and the cementery, with the tradicional tombstones. Then we went back to Klaipėda and latter Palanga.

Back in Palanga we visited ANTANAS MONČYS HOUSE-MUSEUM and I felt in love with his sculptures and masks. We also went to the Amber Museum and the nice gardens around it.

 And it arrive the sad time to say goodbye to the sea...But before taking the train to cross all lithuania, we stop by Kretinga at the amazing winter gardens. It was the perfect ending of our mini holidays.

 And before saying goodbye, it´s time to thanks (yes, this is like the Oscars):

Labai ačiū, Adutė, už lietuvių kalbos pamokas!

  Labai ačiū, Živilė, už skanią žolelių arbatą!

 Labai ačiū, Astra, už šią kelionę or už šias atostogas!

And in case I forguet to tell you...spring has arrive to the park!