Tuesday, September 20, 2011

EuroBasket 2011 is over

The basketball event in Lithuania is over. For Lithuanian team it was over earlier than anyone expected. Sad.

Lithuanian team after losing to Macedonia

But it’s time to move on. We had a really great time here in Lithuania during EuroBasket 2011. Basketball was our life. I know that guests and basketball players from other countries were quite happy about the organization of the event. It’s a relief… The only ones disappointed were Lithuanian businessmen. Not so many fans as expected came to Lithuania. And those who came were not willing to pay cosmic prices for hotels, beer and food. It’s a good lesson for Lithuanians: maybe basketball is a religion in Lithuania, but in some countries people don’t even know about EuroBasket.

Friday, September 9, 2011

EuroBasket 2011: so far, so good

EuroBasket 2011 continues successfully for Lithuanian team. I believe Lithuanian team is getting better every day. We will beat French team today!

Lithuanians celebrating after beating Serbia

You can feel that there is a festival in Lithuania these days! People are crazy about basketball in Lithuania!

I live not far away from the hotel Le Meridien Vilnius where all teams (except Lithuanian) are staying. So I can hear police sirens when they escort teams from and to hotel at least 20 times a day. It’s really annoying cause it wakes me up in the morning  (I love to sleep till late…).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mushroom picking time!

Today I will tell you about interesting phenomenon in Lithuania – mushroom picking. I know that in many western countries this is not popular at all, so I hope you will be interested about mushrooming in Lithuania.
Mushroom picking time in Lithuania starts in the middle of summer and lasts till first frosts. I believe that mushroom hunting is second favorite sport in Lithuania after basketball :) When rumors start to float around that mushrooms are starting to grow in the woods, Lithuanians take baskets, get up at 6 am on Saturday morning and go to the woods. You can actually get into traffic jam at that time :D

Mushroom picking in 2010. I have never seen more mushrooms in the woods than in the fall of 2010!

Dzukija is a region in southern part of Lithuania known of its mushrooms and berries. We even have a saying in Lithuania: If not mushrooms and berries, girls of Dzukija would be naked. People in Dzukija often gather mushrooms and berries, sell them and make money for living.

I picked all these mushrooms myself on one autumn day in 2010!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

EuroBasket 2011: the beginning is fun!

EuroBasket 2011 has just started! And I will be updating you on most interesting moments. I won't give you results or analyze games, but I will definitely tell you most interesting stories about life in Lithuania during EuroBasket 2011.

Just look at the photo. And please comment what was your first thoughts.

Basketball players from Spain in their hotel room in Panevezys, Lithuania
Spanish Marc Gasol tweeted this photo of his hotel room in Panevezys... Do you think they live in some ugly old house? No! It's art on the wall! Lithuanian art is very very original... I am afraid most of the world will not understand it...

Another funny story widely spread in media these days: Lithuanian basketball team lives in a hotel not far away from wastewater treatment place. So the smell is so wonderful... But most Lithuanian players grew up in  the country, so they are used to the smell of manure... Real Lithuanian smell is not a problem and we will win!

And here is a photo of the EuroBasket 2011 opening show in Vilnius. Our local celebrities are very very sexy... Photos of singer Mia's panties was all over the internet...

Lithuanian singer Mia is a very sexy girl

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tourist route of Neris left bank


Yesterday I had a wonderful bike tour in Neris Regional Park!

Neris Regional Park

If you want to see the beauty of Lithuanian nature, I recommend you to visit Neris Regional Park. If you are coming to Lithuania just for a few days, Neris Regional Park is not the top place you should see. But if you have time and love nature, you should visit it.

The river Neris

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Allotment gardens in Lithuania


Hi, everyone! I hope you had a nice summer. I surely did ;) The weather in Lithuania was not very pleasant with lots of rain and not too warm. But I had great vacations. Now I am back and ready to write more blog posts.

Most of my summer I spent in the allotment garden outside Vilnius, so today I will explain you what it is, because I know that in some countries allotments do not exist.

During the times of the Soviet Union people living in the cities were given small (6-8 a) plots of land outside the city. The areas of these plots were called “collective gardens”. Usually people grew vegetable and fruits in their land and they also could build small houses. Building big serious houses in allotment gardens was forbidden, so the houses there were suitable to live only in summer.

Nowadays allotment gardens still exist near all the biggest cities in Lithuania. But the times have changed, so the primary purpose of having a garden now is not growing vegetables, but having a country-house and a nice place to spend weekends. Now many people build big houses in allotments and move to live there all year long.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hill of Crosses

Today I will present you a unique sight you MUST visit if you come to Lithuania. It’s the Hill of Crosses. I have never heard about other place like this on Earth…

As you probably know, we, Lithuanians, are Catholics. We are a very godly nation. So in 19th century some devout people started building crosses on the hill not far away from the city of Siauliai. The origin of the tradition to leave a cross on the hill is not known. But it is thought that it is connected to the Lithuanians uprising against Russians in 19th century. Families did not know where the bodies of some dead rebels were, so they started building crosses in a place of a former hill fort.

During the times of Soviet occupation Russians tried to destroy the Hill of Crosses three times, but Lithuanians did not stop bringing crosses to the hill. Only in 1985 the Soviets finally left the Hill of Crosses in peace.

In 1993 Pope John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses.

Now hundreds of thousands of crosses are on the hill. Actually, the hill is too small for so many crosses so nowadays they are built around the square near the hill. The variety of crosses is amazing! If you come to the Hill of Crosses leave the cross there too and ask for God’s blessing for your family.

Here are some photos of the Hill of Crosses I made this summer:

Hill of Crosses

Crosses near the path to the hill

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Festival "Summer of Naisiai"


Last weekend I visited my grandparents. They live in a small town near Siauliai called Naisiai.

In Naisiai

Cherries in Naisiai

Sunset in Naisiai

Sunset in Naisiai

A few years ago Naisiai was one of hundreds small towns in Lithuania no one knew. Naisiai was just a cozy village with about 600 residents. When I was a child I spent great summers there. Naisiai was always special because people there were very active, friendly and hard-working.

A few years ago Naisiai became famous in Lithuania! Rich farmer from Naisiai and the member of Lithuanian Parliament Ramunas Karbauskis had an idea – to make TV series “Summer of Naisiai”. Now “Summer of Naisiai” is on TV for 2 years and it is one of the most popular Lithuanian TV series. Now everybody in Lithuania knows the name of Naisiai! Moreover, you can buy milk, butter and cheese called “Summer of Naisiai” all around Lithuania! And you can watch the life of storks in Naisiai online 24/7! And there is a modern paintball center in Naisiai.

Storks in Naisiai

Friday, July 1, 2011

Klaipeda (part 2): sights you must see!

In my last blog post I presented you 3rd largest city in Lithuania – Klaipeda. In this blog post I present you most interesting sights in Klaipeda.

Klaipeda old town

The old town of Klaipeda is small but very cozy and very beautiful. It is very different from other Lithuanian towns because Klaipeda was a part of Prussia and German at the times the old town was built.



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Klaipeda (part 1): German city in Lithuania

Klaipeda is the 3rd largest city and my 2nd favorite city  (1st is Vilnius) in Lithuania! It is situated near the Baltic Sea, in the western part of Lithuania. Port of Klaipeda is the only port in Lithuania! Klaipeda is a nice modern city with very interesting old town. The old town is very different from other Lithuanian towns and is more similar to German towns. About 180,000 residents live in Klaipeda now.

Don’t forget to visit the Curonian Spit if you come to Klaipeda! Just take a ferry and in a few minutes you are in the wonderful land of sand and dunes!

History of Klaipeda

Klaipeda was founded in 1252. At the time the Livonian Order built a castle there called Memelburg and the town Memel began to grow around it. In 1323 Lithuanians led by the duke Gediminas conquered the town and forced the Livonian Order to sue for a truce. Knights from the Livonian Order were replaced with knights from the Prussian branch of Teutonic Order. The town was attacked by Lithuanians again later in 14th century.

In 1422 border between the Teutonic Order and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was stabilized and remained unchanged until 1919. At first Memel was part of Prussia and since 1871 it became most northern city of Germany.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lithuanian girl in London

Last week I visited my friend who lives in London. It was my first trip to such a huge city. London was interesting, I had a great time there. So today I will tell you about my feelings and impressions after this trip. Of course, I am not going to describe London. It is not the purpose of my blog! But I can tell you how London is different from Vilnius and how British people seem different from Lithuanians. I would be really grateful to all British for comments about this blog post!

I took a flight to London from Vilnius with Wizzair. It really surprised me that only a few passengers were not Lithuanians. I guess cheap flights do not attract many tourists to Lithuania… Passengers mostly were young Lithuanians living in London and travelling back home to UK after visiting their relatives in Lithuania.

When I got off the plane in London I experienced something I can call… cultural shock. I had been told Luton is a small airport. Well, it was not very big, but the crowds of people were huge! I had to wait in line for about half an hour to have my passport checked at the boarder!

When I got in to my bus to London I was also very surprised. This time by the behavior of the driver. He was nice and helpful! He was joking and laughing. It was something you don’t usually see in Lithuania. British people seem really relaxed and happy. Lithuanians mostly are sad and worried…

At first I was really confused by the system of public transportation in London. But it took me only one day to get used to it. Metro is really a great way to travel in such a big city. In Lithuania we also have discussions if we need metro in Vilnius. After visiting London I can say that metro in Vilnius is a bad idea. Vilnius is small, the amount of passengers is quite small too, so building metro would be waste of money.

Another thing that surprised me in London was prices. They were not as high as I expected. The prices of food in supermarkets are almost the same as in Lithuania. And some products are really cheaper (like cheesecakes and cheddar cheese). My friend lives near the market and I was absolutely amazed by the low prices of fruits and berries there! 2 pineapples for 1 pound! A bowl of cherries for 1 pound! Unbelievable!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are Lithuanian girls most beautiful in the world?

Yes, they are!

I believe Lithuanian women really are the most beautiful in the world. I am sure most men who live in Lithuania or have visited Lithuania agree with me.

Lithuanian girls

Why are Lithuanian girls so beautiful? Because they want to be beautiful! In many countries where feminism and fast food are popular women just don’t care how they look, what they wear, how fat they are. It is not like that in Lithuania! We want to be beautiful and we try!

Also Lithuanian girls have good genes. Blue eyes, blond hair and pale skin are considered beautiful in many countries and these features are common among Lithuanian women.

Lithuanian girls

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sights in Palanga

In my last blog post I presented a famous Lithuanian resort Palanga. Today I will describe most interesting sights you must see in Palanga.


Basanaviciaus street

Basanaviciaus street is the main pedestrian street in the centre of Palanga. In summer t is very crowded and noisy place with many restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. In winter Basanaviciaus street is dead and most restaurants are closed.

Basanaviciaus street, Palanga

Botanical park and Amber museum

Batanical park in Palanga is very beautiful! It has many cute ponds with ducks and swans. You can also find a copy of Lourdes (a place where Virgin Mary appeared in France) in the park. In the centre of the park palace of Count Feliksas Tiskevicius is situated. It is surrounded by beautiful roses... The palace is also Amber museum which is really worth visiting!

Swans in botanical park, Palanga
Amber museum, Palanga

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Famous Lithuanian resort - Palanga

In this blog post I will tell you about famous Lithuanian resort near the Baltic Sea - Palanga. A few months ago I published photos of Palanga in winter.

Last weekend I visited Palanga again. It was an opening of summer season. The festival was not very successful because of typical Lithuanian weather: rainy, windy, +12 C…

Palanga in summer is a busy, crowded and noisy place. I am not a big fan of it… But it is much cheaper to spend holidays in Palanga than in other much more beautiful resort near the Baltic Sea – Nida. If you love to party, Palanga is for you! Otherwise, one or two days in Palanga is enough time to see it.

If you travel on a tight budget, I don’t recommend you to book a hotel in Palanga in advance. It is much cheaper to rent a room or a flat from grannies who will attack you when you get off the bus in Palanga :) They also stand near the road to Palanga with posters “Rooms for rent”. Don’t you ever believe when they say their houses are 100 meters away from the sea, they lie!

Grannies offer rooms for rent near Palanga

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sights in Kaunas (Part 2)

In my previous blog post I described a few most interesting sights in Kaunas. Today I will give you information and pictures of other interesting places in the city.

Laisves Avenue (Avenue of Freedom)
Laisves Avenue is the main pedestrian street in Kaunas. It connects new and old parts of the city. Laives aleja is a nice and lively street with many shops, reastaurants, casinos, nightclubs, museums etc. And the street has more than 500 lindens!
Laisves Avenue

Laisves Avenue

Kaunas funiculars
Kaunas has two functioning funiculars. It is the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport. Not many functioning funiculars are left in the world nowadays.
One funicular connects the old town and Aleksotas district. It takes people up the Aleksotas hill. Taking this funicular is very entertaining and you can see a wonderful panoramic view. Another funicular connects the centre of Kaunas and Zaliakalnis district. Zaliakalnis funicular is one of the oldest in Europe!

Funicular in Kaunas

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sights in Kaunas (Part 1)

In my previous blog post I introduced you to Kaunas – second largest city in Lithuania. Today I will give you the list of the most interesting sights in Kaunas. All sights described in this article are in the old town and in the centre of Kaunas, so you can visit all of them in just a few hours and you can easily reach all of them on foot.
Kaunas Castle
Kaunas Castle was built in 14th century at the confluence of rivers Nemunas and Neris. It was the first stone castle in Lithuania and it is the oldest building in Kaunas now. This Gothic building helped to protect the town from Crusaders’ attacks.
Kaunas castle is in Papilio str. 17. Today tourism information center is located in Kaunas castle. You can visit exhibitions and buy souvenirs there.
Kaunas Castle

Town Hall
Town Hall’s construction began in 1542. This building with Gothic, Baroque and early Classicism elements is called the White Swan. Nowadays the Town Hall is the Wedding Hall, where marriages are registered. In the basement of the Town Hall Kaunas Ceramics museum is situated.
The address is Rotuses sq. 15.
Kaunas Town Hall

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter eggs and Easter traditions in Lithuania

The most important symbol of Easter in Lithuania is Easter eggs (marguciai). Painting, dyeing and decorating eggs is a tradition popular in Eastern European countries.  It is a very ancient custom. Although Easter is a Christian feast, the tradition of painting eggs is much older than Christianity.

The tradition of decorating eggs is still very alive in Lithuania. You can find Easter eggs in every home. I remember that dyeing eggs was very fun when I was a kid. It was so special to paint eggs together with all family members!

Easter eggs can be dyed in a single color or in patterns.

The most beautiful eggs are those painted with wax. A stick is dipped in hot wax and then patterns with the stick are painted on a warm egg. When the painting with wax is completed, the egg is dipped in dye. Later the egg is placed into hot water for wax to melt.

Easter eggs painted with wax

Easter eggs painted with wax

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visit Kaunas - hearth of Lithuanian culture, tradition and history

Kaunas is situated in the center of Lithuania at the confluents of two largest Lithuanian rivers: Nemunas and Neris. It is 2nd largest city in Lithuania with 350,000 inhabitants. Kaunas is very Lithuanian city - 93% residents in Kaunas are Lithuanians. This city is often called the hearth of Lithuanian culture, tradition and history.


Confluence of Nemunas and Neris
History

The settlement here was first established between 4th - 5th centuries B.C. In 14th century Kaunas castle was built. But shortly the castle was destroyed by Teutonic Knights. It was rebuilt in the beginning of 15th century. At the time Kaunas became the major trade center in Lithuania. In 16th century it was one of the main towns in the country.

During centuries Kaunas was several times attacked by Russian and Swedish armies. In the end of 18th century the city was taken over by Russian Empire. Napoleon with his army passed through Kaunas twice devastating the city.

In 19th century two Uprisings against Russians took place in Kaunas. Russian authorities placed large military garrisons to suppress it.

After Vilnius was occupied by the Russian Bolsheviks in 1919 and captured by Poland in 1920, the government of Lithuania established its main base in Kaunas. Kaunas became temporary capital of Lithuania. Between World Wars Kaunas was a very modern city.

In 1940 Lithuania was annexed by the Soviet Union. In 1941-1944 Kaunas was occupied by Germans. On 1 August, 1944 Kaunas again became a part of Soviet Union and was in Soviet Union till 1990, when independence of Lithuania was restored.

Basketball

Kaunas is famous for basketball. Very first official basketball game in Kaunas was held in 1922. Kaunas has  famous Zalgiris team and its NBA superstar Arvydas Sabonis.

Arvydas Sabonis

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Facts about suicides and crimes in Lithuania

Suicide in Lithuania is a huge problem. According to data from World Health Organization Lithuania is 1st in the world by the number of suicides. Total suicide rate per 100,000 people per year in Lithuania is 31,5 (58,5 for male and 8,8 for female). Suicide rate for men is the highest in the world in Lithuania, but by the number of women suicides Lithuania is in 11-12 place in the world.


Why Lithuanians commit suicides so often? Life is difficult in Lithuania: unemployment, alcoholism, poverty. Lithuanians also often have problems with mental health, but getting help is not easy. It is still considered a shame to go to psychiatrist or psychologist in Lithuania. Most people with mental health problems need long term psychotherapy. Lithuanian health care system does not provide it for free. And average Lithuanian cannot pay for therapy, because it is very expensive compared to our income.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lithuanians - educated nation!

In this blog post I will give you some interesting information about Lithuanians’ education. Statistics show that we are very educated! 

In Lithuania almost everyone enters a university, some other higher education institution or college after finishing school. Only 7% of 18-24 years old people do not study anywhere after finishing school in Lithuania. The average of EU (European Union) is 15%. The number of universities in Lithuania is very high for such a small country.  Lithuania is 1st in EU by the number of university graduates each year! 30% of Lithuanians (25-64 years old) have university degree. It is more than the average of EU!

Is it good for Lithuanians that almost everyone can get university degree? Not really… University degree is not such valuable as it should be. Someone of important people (I don’t remember who) working in Vilnius university once publicly said that in Lithuania even idiot can get a university degree…

Monday, April 4, 2011

Surveys show Lithuanian children are unhappiest in Europe

When I started looking for interesting facts about Lithuania, I was actually surprised how much negative information I found. I knew economy in Lithuania was bad and I knew Lithuanians had problems with mental health. But some statistics really scared me… As I mentioned in my previous blog post Lithuanians are pessimistic people and I believe that in some surveys they say situation is worse than it really is. I hope I will not scare you off coming to Lithuania with all this negative information. I can assure you that Lithuania is a very interesting country worth visiting. Maybe it is not the best place on Earth to live, but really great place to travel.

Today I will give you some interesting information about Lithuanian children:

Taunting in Lithuanian schools is a huge problem. 27% of schoolchildren say they suffer from taunting and insulting 2-3 times a month or more frequently. I finished secondary school 8 years ago. And I remember that taunting was really a problem. But I am not sure that situation in other countries are much better. I have never been to USA, but what I see in American TV series and movies makes me believe that in USA it should be even worse. Or is it just on TV but not in reality? Anyway, I am sure that being popular at school is not as important in Lithuania as it is in USA.

Surveys show that schoolchildren in Lithuania feel unhappier than children in any other European country.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interesting facts about labour and wages in Lithuania

Today I will give you some interesting facts about labour in Lithuania:
  • Labour productivity in Lithuania is one of the lowest in EU (European Union).
  • The executives in Lithuania earn more than their colleagues in other Baltic States. But the wages of workers in Lithuania are lower than in other Baltic States.
  • Minimal wage lower than in Lithuania is only in Bulgaria and Romania in EU.
  • Lithuanians have more days off than most of other nations. Some sources state that Lithuanians and Brazilians are leading in the world by the number of days off! Workers in Lithuania have 28 days’ holiday a year. Lithuanians get another 13 days off because of various festivals and occasions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

About Lithuanians' health and Lithuanian health care system

In this blog post I will give you some information about Lithuanians’ health and Lithuanian health care system. Sadly these facts are not very optimistic…  Lithuania has the lowest rate of residents living healthy way of life in European Union (EU). The results of our unhealthy way of life are reflected in following statistics:
  • Lithuania has the highest mortality rate in EU – 1034 mortalities for 100000 residents. The average of EU is 696 mortalities for 100000 residents.
  • Average life duration of men in EU is the lowest in Lithuania - 65,1 years. The average of EU is 74,3. And the average life duration of Lithuanian women is 77,2 years. It is 4th worst rate in EU. The average women life duration in EU is 80,8 years.
  • Lithuania is in 1st place in Europe by deaths caused by heart diseases and among the leaders by deaths caused by cancer.
  • Lithuanians have more harmful habits than other European nations. 26,5% residents of Lithuania smoke, in Europe this rate is 24,2%.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lithuanian women power!

Lithuanian women have what to be proud of:
  • In Lithuania women gained equal political rights in 1919 (in France – 1945, in international law - 1948).
  • Lithuanian women are more educated than in any other EU (European Union) country. 92,3% of Lithuanian women (25-64 years old) have secondary or higher than secondary education. It is the highest rate in EU!
  • 59% of Lithuanian students in universities and colleges are women.
  • In 2010 21,800 or 65% of all graduates who finished higher education institutions in Lithuania were women.
  • In 2009 69% of all master’s degree graduates in Lithuania were women.
  • President of Lithuania is a woman - Dalia Grybauskaite.
  • Lithuania is among the leaders in the world by the number of working women.
  • But… in private sector wages of men were 20,5% higher than wages of women, in public sector men’s wages were 13,1% higher than women’s wages in 2009.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Statistics about sad reality in Lithuania

In my last blog post I gave you some facts and numbers about Lithuania being a leader. Readers thanked me for being so optimistic and for posting something positive about Lithuania. But truth is that when I did my research I found more negative than positive statistics. So today I will give 10 facts illustrating the sad reality in Lithuania.

  1. Lithuania is the first in EU (European Union) by the numbers of emigration.
  2. In the beginning of 2010 Lithuania was last among 52 countries by The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index (the index is calculated considering residents thinking about job and personal finance perspectives in 12 upcoming months, also residents opinion if now is a good time to buy). At the end of 2010 Lithuania rose to 47th place.
  3. During the economic crisis in Lithuania wages and loan portfolio decreased more than in any other EU country.
  4. Forbes announced that Lithuania is 8th country in the world which suffered from economic crisis most. In 2009 GDP in Lithuania decreased 4 times more than the average decrease rate of new EU members.
  5. Lithuanians are first in the world by worrying about rising prices of utilities (electricity, gas, heating). This concerns 20% of Lithuanians. The average of the world is 7%.
  6. Average Lithuanian spends 51% of his expenses for necessities and food. It is 285 euros a month. The average of EU resident’s expenses for food and necessities is 327 euros a month. So Lithuanians have one of the lowest wages in Europe, but expenses are almost as high as average European’s. Some sources say that even British, Dutchmen and Germans spend less on necessities!
  7. Lithuania is the most corrupt country in EU. In 2010 34% of Lithuanians said they had bribed someone during the lats year. 2/3 of Lithuanians think the level of corruption rose during the last 3 years. 78% of Lithuanians believe that government’s efforts to fight corruption are not effective.
  8. Lithuanians donate to charity less in the world. Only 4% of Lithuanians have donated money to charity. Even poorest African countries have higher rate.
  9. By the number of divorces Lithuania is 1st in EU: 3,2 divorces for 1000 residents. The average in EU is 2,1 divorces for 1000 residents.
  10. Lithuania is in 51st place in the survey about taxes for business. In Lithuania business has to pay 12 taxes in a year, it takes 166 hours (21 days). Burden of taxation is 42,7% (I couldn’t decide if this is positive or negative).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lithuania is leading!

In this blog post I will give you some interesting facts about Lithuania leading in the world or in Europe! Lithuania is the best!
  1. Lithuania is among the leaders in European Union (EU) by the growth of export. It is predicted that Lithuania will have the highest GDP growth in EU in the nearest future.
  2. The percentage of residents owning their home (not renting or having loans) in Lithuania is the highest in EU.
  3. Lithuania is the leader in EU by using money of EU structural funds. Lithuania got 7,9% of all EU structural funds’ money for 2007-2013.
  4. Lithuania is the leader in world’s laser industry.
  5. Waters in Lithuanian lakes, rivers and the seaside 100% comply with safety requirements and are suitable for swimming. Waters in Lithuania are one of the clearest in Europe.
  6. Air in Lithuanian capital Vilnius is clearest among all European capitals.
  7. The strongest man on the planet is Lithuanian Zydrunas Savickas.
  8. Lithuania is among countries having the fastest Internet connection in the world. Lithuania is 1st by speed of uploading and 4th by speed of downloading in the world.
  9. Lithuania develops next-generation Internet access technologies at the fastest rate in Europe and is the 5th in the world. Fiber-optic Internet access is used by approximately 21% households in the country. Lithuania is about two times ahead of Sweden, Norway and Slovenia.
  10. Lithuania is the 1st in the world by the number of cellphones for 100 residents. The number of mobile connection subscribers for 100 residents in Lithuania is 138,1.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

10 interesting facts about Lithuania

  1. In 14th century Lithuania was the biggest country in Europe: it included present territories of Belarus and Ukraine, part of Poland and part of Russia.
  2. Lithuania was the last country in Europe to become Christian in 1387.
  3. Lithuania organized a unique protest in 1989 August 23. Residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formed 600 km long row of people holding hands! This event showed the world that Baltic States want to be independent.
  4. Lithuania is the only country in the world having national perfume. “The Scent of Lithuania” is perfume for home. It holds the entire history of our nation…
  5. Lithuanian languages is the oldest living language of the Indo-European family.
  6. Lithuania is the oldest and the largest Baltic State.
  7. Lithuanians first in the world invented way to make vodka from corn.
  8. Lithuania is 1st in the world by the number of hot air balloons per resident.  And Vilnius is one of a few  European capital where you can fly with hot air balloons.
  9. Lithuania owns the world record of blondes. 1016 blond girls participated in the opening of night club in Lithuania.
  10. A Lithuanian company plans to set up a holiday island in the Maldives run entirely by blondes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shocking photos of the members of Parliament in Lithuania: naked, in cow’s costume etc.

Lithuania is a strange country… And Lithuanians are strange people… Why? Just look at these photos of members of Parliament in Lithuania. Yes, we voted for them and elected them…

How did it all start? How did these clowns become members of Parliament? A few years ago they founded a new political party. Its members were Lithuanian show business celebrities. For us, Lithuanians, it was just a joke. I believe for them at first it was just a joke too… But surprise! They were quite successful in the elections of Parliament.

Did Lithuanians truly believe that these celebrities can govern Lithuania? I don’t think so. I believe that voting for them was people’s protest against traditional political parties.

So here are some photos of members of Parliament in Lithuania:

Arunas Valinskas. He had a popular show on TV and was a presenter in occasional TV shows and awards. After he was elected to parliament, he looked surprised and he said he won’t try to become the Speaker, but… later he was the Speaker of Parliament in Lithuania for a while.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras (Uzgavenes) celebration in Lithuania

Today Lithuania celebrates Mardi Gras or Uzgavenes (in Lithuanian). It is a festival celebrated 7 weeks before Eastern and before the beginning of the Lent. Uzgavenes represents the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The festival has deep pagan roots. People make and put on scary masks and carnival costumes. The most popular characters are witches, devils, goats, beggars, horses, cranes, gypsies. The masks in Lithuania are very different from those in other countries.

Pictures are made in celebration of Uzgavenes in Vilnius, 2011.







People celebrate Uzgavenes dancing, singing, playing games and competing in various competitions. The celebration must be loud to scare off the winter. The defeat of winter is also represented by a theatrical battle between Lasininis (Porker) and Kanapinis (Hempen man). The fat Lasininis represent winter and his opposite Kanapinis represent spring. Of course Kanapinis always wins :) The celebration also includes the burning of the effigy of winter, named More.

Uzgavenes dancing

Singing

Lasininis and Kanapinis