Vilnius to Kaunas

A nicer view than the one I got yesterday I won’t probably get again during my stay in Lithuania. But since I still have one day I decide I have to get the most out of it and so some more sightseeing. After searching for some great side trips from Vilnius, I stumble upon the city of Kaunas. The second biggest city of Lithuania.

The old city center of Kaunas is small... But cosy!

The old city center of Kaunas is small… But cosy!

Vilnius to Kaunas

With the train it takes about one hour to get to Kaunas from the Lithuanian capital. For a single ticket I paid €5,60, for my return ticket I paid €6,20.
There are trains quite regularly scheduled from Vilnius to Kaunas (or the other way around). You can count on at least one train every hour.

When I arrived in Kaunas, I don’t immediately see a lot of ‘beauty’ around the area of the train station. The old city center still lies about five kilometers from the station, so I decide to take the bus (€0,80 – $1) to get there. After about twenty minutes, I get dropped off at an almost empty city.

There is absolutely nothing that gives away that it is weekend!
The streets are pretty much completely abandoned and the shops and stores are empty as well. You can’t call it a ghost city since there are actually some people around, but they’re definitely not in big crowds…
The old city center is a lot nicer than the area around the station. The central square has built a christmas market for the occasion. And here you can see some people, but still… Not that many.

Around the small market with the huge christmas tree there are a couple of stately buildings. A beautiful city hall (which is also a museum at the same time) and of course some more churches… I still am in Lithuania of course!

A little bit further you can also see the castle of Kaunas (Pilas Kaunas). Just like in Vilnius, there isn’t much left of the original castle besides the guard tower.

The... Castle of Kaunas. It doesn't really look like a castle anymore, but it is still a nice sight.

The… Castle of Kaunas. It doesn’t really look like a castle anymore, but it is still a nice sight.

Ninth fort

You can see the small city in the blink of an eye and soon I have visited pretty much everything that is worth seeing.
About then kilometers away, you can also visit the IX fort. A place where more than 30,000 Lithuanian Jews and locals were killed during WW II.
Because I still have plenty of time until my train back to Vilnius departs, I decide to spend a little time in this fort.

Lithuania definitely isn’t a country that is used to many tourists, because -again- the busses are not very regular and so I wait for about twenty minutes until the bus (once an hour) takes me up.
When I arrived at the closest bus stop, I still need to walk for fifteen minutes. After that I arrive at a giant domain.

At my right side I see the remnants of the fort. You can enter it, but because I probably won’t have enough time I skip the entrance and just walk around it. From outside you get to see the fort quite well and I can already imagine what atrocities took place during the nazi occupation of Lithuania…
About one hundred meters further, there is a giant monument. Very raw, but beautiful nonetheless.

The huge park is gorgeous! Because of the low hanging sun and the green, gras carpet sprinkled with snow it gets something magical.
Weird maybe… Since there were a lot of people who got killed at this exact place…

With the next bus I head back to Kaunas which lies a lot lower than the fort, and a bit after four I’m already back on the train to Vilnius.
With the sun slowly going down, beautiful wintery landscapes and amazing memories I head back to the capital of Lithuania for the last time.

Tomorrow morning I head a little more to the north, to Riga, Latvia!

The ninth fort, just outside of Kaunas. A huge park with a beautiful memorial monument and a gruesome bunker.

The ninth fort, just outside of Kaunas. A huge park with a beautiful memorial monument and a gruesome bunker.

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