It was still raining as we left Minsk this morning. It was a two hour drive to the Lithuania border. You wouldn't believe the long line of trucks waiting to go through customs. It had to be a least two miles long. The wait time for the truckers is 48 hours. It took us about 90 minutes to clear customs on both sides of the border. It was only about a half hour drive to Vilnius, the capitol city, after we crossed the border. We got to our hotel at noon. We got our rooms and had lunch and then had a sightseeing tour of the city. Our first stop was at Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church.
Next we took a walking tour of the historic district.
There is a church about every ten feet.
Below is Town Hall Square.
Lots of very narrow cobblestone streets.
Vilnius is not a big city. It has a population of a little over a half million people.
Lithuania was of course once part of the Soviet Union. They are now set to join the Euro Zone next year. Below is the Presidential Palace.
Below is the Cathedral of Vilnius.
After our walking tour we came back to the hotel. We're staying at a very nice hotel right on the river. The hotel is the tallest building in the picture below.
It rained all the way over here this morning. Since we got here the weather keeps changing. Bright and sunny one minute and then cloudy the next. The picture below was taken from my hotel room window.
Tonight we went to a tavern in the old town for dinner. It was a nice five course meal. The zeplin was the best. That a large pork dumpling. We were also entertained with a local folklore show.
This is our only night in Lithuania. We are moving on to Latvia tomorrow afternoon after lunch.
This morning after breakfast we visited Trakai Castle which is just outside Vilnius, Lithuanaia on an island in the middle of a lake.
This place was the old Lithuanian capitol.
We went back into Vilnius for lunch and then hit the road for Riga, Latvia. About three hours out from Vilnius we stopped at the hill of crosses.
This place was started during the dark Soviet times. The KGB would come and burn it down and it would be started back up again. Now that Lithuania has their independence the crosses aren't being burned down anymore. Pope John Paul II was here about 20 years ago and consecrated the place.
The rest of this email is on the Riga page.
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