there & back

I took the train to Kaunus today (and back). 65 minutes each way.

all aboard!

all aboard!

I’d been to the city twice before. The first time was when I was being “introduced” to the country by local lawyers back in 93-94.

The second was for work, in 1998. I arrived at midnight after traveling from Scotland, and was at the work project (a privatisation) for 8am next morning. Turned out all the paperwork was in Lithuanian, so after a couple of hours making sure my local colleagues knew what was needed, I could head off back to Vilnius.

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (the national railway) has invested a fortune since I was last in Lithiuania. Modern, fast, comfortable trains. Stations modernised and sparkling. Staff too. No more Intourist style customer service.

outstanding

outstanding

To be honest, its better than Scotland.

Kaunas has changed a lot, but compared to Vilnius it still has a long way to go.

Laisvės Alėja

Laisvės Alėja

I didn’t see a single tourist sign – for the castle, for example. The tourist information offices were shut – OK it’s Sunday, but that’s when city break visitors will be there or folk like me who’ve just made a day trip from Vilnius.

Castle

Castle

The castle was shut, needless to say…

In some ways that introspection is good – it’s almost a tourist free city. On the other hand, so much is either run down or falling down. It has a lot of potential, but doesn’t have the tourist Euros to invest.

time warp

time warp

I had a totally enjoyable day, including a superb lunch on Rotušės aikštė (Town Hall Square).

lunch spot

lunch spot

So glad I did the Muir trick and just jumped over the back fence…

© iain taylor 2015

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