Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Fresh Start

Day 203
I got up at 6, I wanted the heck out of this town. By 10 am I was in Kaunas. I figured that Lithuania and I just got off on the wrong foot, it was time for a fresh start and a new city.

Lithuania, however, didn't feel this way. I knew what bus to take to get to my hotel but not when to get off. Usually I just ask people and they tell me when to get off. This time my questions were ignored and it got to the point that I knew I had passed it.

I got on the next bus in the right direction. Luckily there was a woman who was friendly and she told me when to get off. I'm actually staying in a hotel here, there aren't any hostels in Kaunas. I was pretty excited to find out that I had a tv with loads of channels in English. After resting for a bit I headed to the city center.

The first thing I found was the St. Michael the Archangel church. From a distance it looked amazing, up close though, I could see that it really needed a lot of work.

Wandering a bit more I found a very strange sculpture garden and the Devil Museum. Pictures were not allowed but I managed to sneak a few. There were over 2,000 devil images here. The devil is prevalent in Lithuanian folklore and various stories were scattered among the horned figures. My favorite story was of the man who was asked by the devil to do a favor. The man said yes as long as the devil would fill his had with money. The man then took the hat, put a hole in it and put it on top of his chimney. Soon his house was full of money and the hat was still not full. Tobacco is thought to be an invention of the devil and calling alcohol fire water is a devil reference. In folklore witches are the devils wife. The most interesting object showed Stalin and Hitler as devils.

After strolling down the main street and grabbing a cup of tea I headed to the Museum of Pharmacy and Medical History. I was a bit surprised to get a guided tour. The guy didn't speak much English, but he was nice. While explaining how a water distiller worked he told me that the first president of Lithuania was from Leipzig. I really didn't understand and tried to get him to explain, but my questions just confused him. I let it pass. He then told me that the president of Lithuania was from Luxembourg. This is when I realized that he wasn't saying president, but rather present.

The museum was small and filled with creepy skulls and outdated medical supplies. The last room was a recreated pharmacy from about 1900. My guide opened up the cash register and showed me Stalin era Soviet money as well as Nazi money. I don't really know what that was doing in a pharmacy museum, but it did make sense that it was being kept in the cash register.

When I was done I took a stroll around Santakos park and checked out the remains of a castle. It was starting to get dark at this point and I decided to head back to the hotel. On the way I stopped at the grocery store for dinner. There was a stand that I thought made smoothies and I went to get one. The woman told me that she made juice. I couldn't read anything so I just asked for her favorite. I ended up with carrot juice.

Back at the hotel I watched Field of Dreams and Globetrekker before falling asleep around midnight.

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