Monday 17 July 2006
Highlights: Gediminas Square, St Peter & St Paul Church
We left the dark and dreary Belarus for the more energetic Lithuania which is the first of the Baltic States and a former republic of the USSR (Belarus is not Baltic and wants to be a republic again).
The first thing you get from this place is just how much people are bitter at the former USSR. Over 25% of the population was lost in WWII and in many ways the country is still suffering from this and the efforts of communism up until 1989. Lithuania was the first ‘republic’ to declare independence from the USSR and at first suffered for this declaration (this was 2 years before the breakup of the USSR).
Lithuania however did enjoy a good period of independence between the two World Wars. Vilnius has embraced the capitalist world these days. The busy streets are full of traders is probably the best demonstration of this fact. Highlights during the day included; St Peter & St Paul Church and the Jesuit University. In Gediminas Square I stood on the stone / step that says if you make a wish it might came true, we will see!