Kayaking in Lithuania – Day Two

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.

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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.

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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.


Kayaking In Lithuania; Day One

IMG_2837 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.


My wife wanted to take a vacation, so she decided to spend about three weeks at my Mom’s house in Washington state.  She was planning to drive up from California to Washington with the kids earlier in August.  I drove up with her that weekend and I flew back the following Monday to go back to work.    The plan was that I would fly back up the Wednesday night prior to Labor Day and we would drive home that weekend.

My brother planted the  idea about coming back earlier to spend some extra time in Washington.  My workload was extremely light at my job and so I secretly planned to come to Washington five days earlier than planned.  My brother was the only one who knew of my plan, since he was going to pick me up from the airport.  My brother will often times go into work over the weekend, so he could say he had to go to work to finish a project. I wanted desperately to keep this a surprise from my wife.  I knew I need an excuse to ignore all phone calls for two hours during my flight, so I told my wife I was going to see Clone Wars that Saturday.  On a side note,  I still haven’t seen Clone Wars yet.

After arriving in Washington, I was not sure how I was going to surprise my wife.  My brother called my wife and mom to see what the plan was for dinner that night.  My wife needed to go to Target to pick up some diapers for our daughter prior to dinner.  My brother and I arrived at Target before my wife.  I spent a few minutes wandering the back aisle of the store.  I wanted to find the right opportunity to surprise my wife.  I was concerned that my bright Lithuania Basketball shirt would give me away but I made every effort to keep out of my wife’s and kids’ line of sight in the store.  When they finally arrived I saw both my mom and sister at the front of the store. (My sister and niece were visiting from Eastern Washington that weekend as well.)

It took them awhile to reach the back of the store but I knew eventually my kids would want to check out the toy section.  If the kids went to the toy section then my wife would be there as well.  It is funny as I was standing in one of the aisle, I saw my sister and niece pass by and they did not even notice me.  My mom also walked by and she did not notice me.  This was quite fun but the ultimate question would someone notice me first or would I totally surprise my wife?

As I heard my wife and kids approach ( both my kids are loud), I took precautions to hide between the aisle to conceal my whereabouts.  I waited patiently for the right opportunity and it came.  My wife went to take a look at some toys in a different aisle without the kids.  The rest of my family were scoping out the toy cars.  (My kids can spend hours looking at toy cars. )  With my wife’s back to me, I quickly swooped in behind her.  I think at that moment my mom and sister noticed me but my brother kept them quiet, and they were a little shocked and surprised.  I was behind my wife and then I tapped her on her shoulder.  The shock and surprise on her face was worth it all.  It had only been about two weeks but I truly missed my wife and i was very happy to hold my wife in my arms again, even in a Target store.  My kids were like there is dadda and then the went back to checking out the toys.

My wife, mom and sister were very happy to see me.  I had not seen my sister and niece for over two years so it was a great weekend to get together.  This was a great vacation and i am so happy that i went up early to spend some extra time in Washington with my family.  I even got some time to play basketball on the X-Box 360 with my brother.

Lithuania wins first ever U18 European Championship for Women

FIBA Europe reports in an article that the Lithuanian girls beat Russia to capture their first U18 European Championship.  The final outcome of the game was 63 -57.

Any time Lithuania wins a tournament in basketball, it is time to celebrate.  It is even better that it was against Russia.  I enjoy the fact that Lithuania continues to dominate at basketball internationally. 

I enjoy the fact that the players who play for Lithuania are Lithuanians.  I noticed some countries have players who are not natural citizens.  They are made citizens so they can play for their national team.  For example, on the German Olympic team, Chris Kaman, was made a citizen so he could play for their team during the 2008 Olympics. 

Go Lithuania!!!!!!!!!!

Can USA Basketball capture gold in 2008 Olympics?

Lebron James has guaranteed that the US will capture the gold medal for basketball in the Olympics.  This is a bold statement coming from an NBA player who has yet to win an NBA title.  This US Olympic Basketball team is a great collaboration of NBA talent.  It comes down not to talent as the US learned at the last Olympics in Athens but it comes down to how well they can play international basketball. 




I think the US Men’s Olympic basketball team will compete for a medal.  Will they get a gold medal, silver medal, or bronze medal?  Who knows.  I am still standing by Lithuania to win a gold medal.  I think it would be great if Lithuania played the USA in the final game to determine who gets the gold and silver medals.


GO Lithuania!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!