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MIA in Vilnius

Free hugs


Today we travel to Lithuania , the next stop on our itinerary. Vilnius, a university city and the capital, is one of the oldest and largest cities in the Baltics. Located here is the infamous KGB museum. We've all been waiting to see this. This was a political prison, the KGB headquarters that housed people who wanted freedom against the occupation. It contained 57 cells which held 300 prisoners. in 1951 there were 451 prisoners held here.


Here are some facts regarding life behind these walls..

Food was given just to keep the prisoner alive..a slice of bread in the morning, a cup of soup at noon and a cup of porridge in the evening.

The were on average 300 prisoners in these cells and at one time they contained 450.

The bathroom could be used only once per day - in the morning only

They were only allowed to sleep for 5 hours

No speaking

There was a room that they could walk around in a circle..(a small room) for exercise for 15 minutes
A dog was nearby for extra security

Secret agents watched the prisoners families and informed KGB if they were becoming partisan.

Executions were done at night and they were random. KGB would just go to cells, call a few prisoners and take them to the execution room in the basement They were executed in 10 minutes, bodies pushed through a window from the basement, loaded on a truck and brought to a mass grave.

In 1945 there were 45 executions in one night. These executions continued until 1963!

1000 prisoners were executed here

Michael, our guide has left the building so we venture out and make our way around town. Tried a donut at Holy Donut...not bad! Tonight we celebrate a birthday for someone in the group complete with "potato juice". It is potent! The vodka is very strong here! For some it was no problem to drink it right down...a few sipped it and others didn't care to try it at all! Michel referred to it as potato juice and had no problem with it at all. He was actually surprised to learn that some people did t know what potato juice was
We have a full day of touring ahead of us which includes a city tour and trip to Trakaii Castle. Our local guide arrives, waits for Michael and is not happy. Michael is not answering his phone. The guide needs the microphone for our listening devices and Michael has it! The bus driver finally goes to Michaels room to retrieve it. He's "out cold" apparently! Too much potato juice can do that too you. We are told Micahel will catch up with us
along the way. We start the tour without him and he does eventually show up


The flowers were not blooming yet but we were told that on the banks of the river in town...one side says "I love you" and on the opposite side it says "I love you too" (in flowers)! This river separates the Old Town from the new.

The Baltic Human Chain was a peaceful political demonstration that occurred in 1989 where people joined hands ( @2 million people) to form a human chain across the three Baltic States approximately 420 miles to show solidarity in their effort towards freedom. August 23 is European Day of Remembrance or Black Ribbon Day commemorating victims of Stalinism/Nazism. Miracles do happen and dreams do come true,

Fun Facts:

The president is a 62 year old woman who is very much admired and in her second term. She deals with foreign affairs. The Prime Minister deals with internal affairs.

Flag: 🇱🇹 Yellow represents the sun
Green - the forest
Red - history - bloodshed

On the University library doors are two handles -they are symbols of grass snakes which represent wisdom and good luck.

The average salary here is @ $800 per month

School starts at age 7..English is a must and studies for 10 years, German and French are studies for 4 years.

So many of the Jewish community were executed. ...there are only 3000 Jews today in Lithuania, (2000 in Vilnius) and only 1 synague left.

We walked to the artistic district which reminded me a little of Woodstock. It's a very small version and has its own government...

It's time to explore the Trakaii Castle on Glave Lake. It was built by Lithuania Dukes as their residence. (I'll have to "I'll have to google this out" when I have a moment). It is made of red brick and stands alone on an island surrounded by water. We spent quite a while in the museum Looking at the medival exhibits on display. This location gives the feeling of going back in time.

Four of us walked thru town when we returned and decided to have dinner at an authentic Lithuanian restaurant. We ordered tapas and share all. Very interesting...we had blood sausage, potato pudding, herring salad with beets, pierogies and dumplings. Oh, and Lithuanian bread! Delish...and the company...exquisite.



We walk back and the rain begins again. We had a gray cloud over us during this trip and it followed us to Lithuania as well. We duck into the local mall for cover and as soon as we enter we run into 3 young girls with a sign that says "free hugs"! Well, we took the free hugs! A bit of fun in Vilnius.


Posted by Linda Fluckiger 11:57 Archived in Lithuania

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What a depressing place. Don't know how I missed this post before. My grandmother left Vilnius in 1910 before much of this, but it doesn't sound as though poor Vilnius was ever a happy town to be.

by teethetrav

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