Sleep. Beautiful, uninterrupted, un-drunk sleep. Normal Sleep and about 8 hours of it. So good.
I reach over and wiggle James’ big toe. The giant stirs, “Hey, Fuck you!” Whoa there, Bucko, cool yer jets. Wonder what’s got him so riled. Let’s just try another toe wiggle, here we go.. MacKay jerks his legs towards his chest, “Fuck you, man!” Damn, he’s legit pissed. I give him a second to chill. Is he back asleep? Ok, maybe try that toe wiggle thing just one more time, I’m sure he’ll enjoy a third wiggly waggly. Nope, “What the fuck man! I thought the plan was to sleep in until whatever”, “Well… it’s 9ish. Is that whenever?”, somehow this immediately appeases the beast, “Oh ok. Yeah. Fuck. I stayed up way too late watching fucking K-Pop videos.”
Alrighty, we’ve got the morning to see what Kaunas has to offer before making our way into Latvia to meet up with Oogie.
I start packing up my stash and crack goes another zipper pull on my bag. Shit! Larger front pocket down. Thankfully there’s a second one, I’ll just go around the other way.. SnaaaP! Fuck off, you’re joking. Two zipper pulls down and my main section will only zip the one way now. I’ll be lucky if this bag finishes the trip.
I’ve got Spirit Airlines to thank for the structural integrity loss. When I returned from the Maritimer dude’s trip to Ecuador and Columbia last year (a story for another time..) my bag came off the conveyor looking like it was dragged behind the plane on landing. Straps hanging off, ripped from their rightful places and the face of the bag all torn up. They of course wouldn’t respond to my complaints and what am I going to to do, take Spirit to court over mishandling a bag? Fortunately, Tortuga backpacks has had my back in the past over such occurrences. Feel bad asking for another round of repairs/replacement but I’m not sure this pack is gonna make another adventure. (Ps – Tortuga Backpacks, the company and the bags, are the beez kneez.)
We exit Magnus to the chilly Kaunas sidewalks. It’s a brisk morning with people catching buses into work. Being a couple of GIS experts, we aim for Old Town and walk in the exact wrong direction for a few blocks giggling about silly shit before finally figuring it out and correcting ourselves. Ship righted we cross through a large central park area. There is a collection of stark black crosses jutting from the grass like it’s a graveyard and a larger black metal cross with spikes in the center of them.
Interesting park ‘art’. You just don’t get this sort of thing in the Western Hemisphere. That daily reminder of past war atrocities and the effect it had. During WWII the Lithuanians were, like the Poles and the Ukrainians, what Dan Carlin has called “double victims” – they were invaded and had atrocities befall them from the Nazis moving east looking for Lebensraum, then were similarly victimized by the Soviets moving west to smash Berlin a couple years later. It’s unfortunately much easier to be detached from that history in North America.
We get to a more downtown feeling locale. It’s super quiet, no one around. Is it the apocalypse already? Where is everyone? There’s lots of construction going on, blocking off the sidewalk and views, but no one working. We turn down a pretty, tree-lined and pedestrian-only boulevard beside rows of shops and boutique-y shit. Everything is closed. Maybe it’s a holiday?
A few of these walking streets culminate in this Neo-Byzantine beauty, St Michael the Archangel’s Church (popular character round these parts). Previously a symbol of imperial authority of the Russian government the church now observes ze Roman Catholics.
Round the horn and we find a spot called Vista Puode that looks to be bustling with other apocalypse survivors. Nice spot. Simple decor. Check the menu at the front. Food looks dope. We’re in.
The server speaks perfect English in a deep British accent. He recommends the Benedict which is what I wanted anyways. MacKay goes for a breakfast sandwich, “with, like, veggies and shit.” They’re both beautiful.
The server is a talkative chap. I compliment the food and the space. He says it’s cool, they have various events here. Sounds kinda artsy and chill. There’s a wine and vinyl event tomorrow. Winyl? Sounds right up my alley. He invites us to try some traditional Lithuanian dessert thingy at the front. It’s kind of like a baklava. Numz!
Vista Puode is killing it, only thing that sucks is the adult contemporary music with terrible, terrible face-palm inducing lyrics.
We finish things up and get back out into the lonely Kaunas streets. A few more people out and about now, not so apocalypticalish. That Devil’s Museum we looked up yesterday isn’t too far from here. En route to it we pass by another museum that looks closed, The Vytautas Great War Museum. Lots of statues and crosses smattering the grounds out front. When Kaunas was temporarily the capital of Lithuania (1918 – 1940) this square was a place of dancing and celebration.
Probably would have been a cool thing to check out if it was open.
We find the Devil Museum on the backside of this area. Super creepy devil guy right in the window out front. Let’s take a look…