Saturday, August 15, 2009

DAY 36 EUROPE TRIP - LITHUANIA – Ragaišiai to Ilguva and surrounding area

21 June 2009

LITHUANIA – Ragaišiai to Ilguva

It was a lovely day – no rain, warm and sunny. After breakfast the owner Rimas took us on a guided tour of the local area. In a little clearing in the forest an old wooden church stands on top of the hill.

The locals get their drinking water from this spring as it is said to be the purest water to be found, very clean and unrelated to other waters in the area in its composition. The spring maintains a steady cold temperature throughout the year and it never freezes even during the coldest winters. Locals believe it has healing properties.

Not too far is a suspended walking bridge leading to a lovely forest camping area. I was going to say leading to a bush camping site. That was not an appropriate term in this setting.

We drove through forests to the banks of the Šventoji River

then onto the beautiful junction of it and the Jara River.

We came back to "Tarp Liepų" to visit the area being set up as the camping area with ‘traditional’ outdoor stone table and stools.

After bidding our host goodbye we headed for Ilguva. The beautiful old wooden church was open so we were able to visit it.

We visited the local cemetery as my grandparents and aunts’ graves are here.

Not far from here is my grandfather’s property that is leased to a family friend. We met our family friend and made our way to the property. Winter wheat crops are growing on the property and we had a very interesting and unusual walk through the wheat fields to get to the family cross. (See the first photo in this blog.) I don't think I will ever have that experience again.

We then made our way to where the house used to be. The old well is still here. The top ring of the well is missing but the more important ring with the date of when the well was sunk is still here. The well is now covered over for safety reasons and also easier to find.

Several hours later, after lunch at a local café we said goodbye and went to another ‘kaimo turizmo” place for the night. The setting was again beautiful but this place was very neglected inside. It used to be the hunting lodge during Soviet times.

A place of much opulence at the time with pictures painted on the ceilings. The entertainment hall walls were adorned with hunting and fishing trophies. These days it looks very tired, the carpets are stained and threadbare, the walls need painting. We arrived at the agreed time but our rooms were not ready for close to two hours. So hubby sat outside planning the next part of our trip

whilst brother-in-law set his sights on the elusive basketball hoop.

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