After a cold night, we awoke to another beautiful day. We enjoyed or coffee and tea along with some pasta my brother-in law cooked over the fire. We even filled some of our empty bottles with water from a natural spring close to the lake. Wow, was that water cold. After a morning swim, we finally torn down our campsite, put our gear in our kayaks, and off we went for day two of our adventure.
Today was a bit different. We spent less time on the lakes and more time kayaking in the rivers. Of course, it was easier to kayak on a river than a lake. It seems on the lake, when I was oaring, I was using too much power with my right arm and when I was oaring with the left, I was not putting enough strength into it. Instead of kayaking straight across the lake, we ended up zigzagging across it.
The river was a whole different story. Less oaring was required when going down the river. We just need to compensate more for the bends in the rivers. The scenery was spectacular going down these rivers. Looking into the water you see a whole different world than what was above the water.
We made it to our first stop. It was a point where we had to take our kayaks across a road. There river did continue under the road to the other side. The other side was a little recreational area where many of the locals enjoyed the water gushing out. There was a little market and place to grab a bit to eat. We enjoyed some beer, saltibarsciai (fresh beet soup), and some ice cream. We picked up a couple of snacks and continue with our journey down the river.
After a nice time floating down the river, we finally made it to another lake. We kayaked a little further across the lake to our final stop of the day. It would be here where we would set up camp for the night.
This summer I had the opportunity to spend three days kayaking through various lakes and rivers in the Aukštaitija National Park in Lithuania. This was my first time going kayaking and I was not too sure about this adventure. We were kayaking with family and friends which made it easier. Our friends have been kayaking in this area for about 10 years and knew all the good spots to see and what areas were good to set up a camp site for the night.
Day one was a nervous one for me. I was terrified to go in the kayak since I have never been on a lake in a kayak. I had once been on a lake with a houseboat and a friends power boat but never a boat that required someone to use oars. I was even afraid to put my oar in the water. I don’t know what I was afraid about since I did have life preserver jacket on.
The weather was perfect to go out on the lake. If you know anything about Lithuania, you know it rains in Lithuania. It was very fortunate that it was not raining this day. So as we set out on our journey, I learned that we were going to be kayaking across multiple lakes and a couple of rivers for about four hours. Say what????? Part of our group was unable to make it until later that evening and I was informed that they were going to have someone drive them to the campground we were going to. So let me understand, I could either be confined to a two man kayak for four hours or I could have had someone drive me to the campground. I would have gone with the second option. I was not able to choose the second option.
Half ways through our adventure, I was told we were going across the deepest lake in Lithuania, Lake Tauragnas . I started to think this would be a bad place to tip over the kayak, so I better start oaring harder. We finally made it to our destination for the day. The lakes we traveled across were beautiful and it was well worth the four hour kayaking adventure.
Once we made it to our destination, we set up for camp for that evening. Since it does not get dark until about 11 pm, there was plenty of daylight left to swim in the lake. We cooked Šašlykai (kebabs) over the fire and enjoyed a good meal. We were up late and had fun that evening.
Hey, I was flipping through channels and I saw the latest episode of the Amazing Race on CBS. The person read out their next destination and it was Vilnius, Lithuania. Wow, that was cool. I can’t believe I was just there and now it is on the Amazing Race.
After watching the entire episode I have some thoughts. The first part of the episode, where the contestants became Lithuanian messengers, showed much of the old town area of Vilnius. Although one the Lithuanian women who gave the contestants their task, mispronounced the name of the person they needed to locate.
The second part of the episode where the contestants attend an authentic summer festival and must either count the pieces of wood on the fence or walk on stilts was funny. I have never seen that during my trips to Lithuania. Even my wife, who is from Lithuania never seen anything like that. I believe they added that to make the show more entertaining.
On my European vacation I was exposed to a lot of Lithuanian music. It seems every other day there was a concert on television. To be honest it was not all that bad. Here is a youtube video of Agne and Radzi.
Just wanted to share some highlights from Lithuania playing in the Euroleague Championship in 2007. Lithuanian took bronze. Lithuania lost only once during the tournament. Lithuanian has qualified for the 2008 Olympics in China. Watch out! I won’t be surprised if Lithuania takes home a medal in the 2008 Olympics.
Well I had the opportunity to see some movies this year. I am the type of guy who likes to see the blockbuster movies. Usually the movies I like, are not even mentioned during the Academy Awards. Well here is my list of favorite movies.
The best movie so far had to have been The Bourne Ultimatum. Is it me or does it just get better and better with each new installment. I have to admit I did see this both in the United States and Lithuania. Great action flick and the story was great.
The next best movie had to have been Transformers. I just picked it up on DVD today. Yeah, I did grow up on the cartoon and this movie did not let me down. Great visual affects and a fun movie to watch.
Next on my list would be Shrek the 3rd. I love the first two movies. I use to think the first one was the best but after watching the second movie countless times with my son, I think the 2nd movie was the best. I did not get to watch the whole movie, just parts of it. We took the whole family and when my youngest got bored, I was walking around the movie theater complex with her. My son enjoyed it and what I saw of it, I liked.
Next decent movie was Die Hard or Live Free. I like the Die Hard movies a lot. This had many great action scenes. The story was not bad. I guess I was disappointed not in the movie, but the day I went to see this flick, I really wanted to go see Transformers but it was sold out. It was a fun movie.
The last flick on my list was Rush Hour 3. It was ok. I don’t know if it was me but it seems that the Rush Hour franchise is getting old. I love Jackie Chan movies but something was lacking. I am looking forward to watch this again when it comes out on video. I just came back from Paris and I want to see all the footage from Paris.
I missed all the new movies from mid August through September. I would love to hear what others thought. Again here is my list.
I have almost been back for over a month. So many things I haven’t done yet. I guess I will start blogging about my trip to Lithuania.
The flight over was not that bad. I had to make some last minute arrangements for my trip. I booked my vacation in January and it seems that route was no longer in service. After a brief discussion at the desk I was accommodated for this problem. To keep my schedule, I was given a first class ticket to Detroit and there I hopped onto my international flight to Amsterdam. I made it in time to Amsterdam to catch my flight to Lithuania.
Quick note to anyone who will ever fly Lithuania Airlines. It may be a cheap airline ticket but if you want a snack or a beverage, such as water or soda, then you have to pay for it. I understand business but let’s get real. I cannot take any drinks on the plane due to security restrictions but then when I get on the plane if I want a refreshment I have to pay for it. This is a horrible business practice.
Well after that little disclaimer, I made it in time to Lithuania. I was a little thirsty when I got there but I made it. Currently the airport in Vilnius is under a renovation. Every person leaving or coming must exit the airplane and board a bus to and from the terminal. Hopefully they will be done with this renovation soon.