Kaunas Walkabout

Well that was easily the best Devil’s Museum I’ve ever been in. Fun little detour, we exit back to the streets of Kaunas with lots of time in the day left for a walkabout. I still don’t think we’ve actually gotten to Old Town yet so we set our bearing towards that and the Kaunas Castle. On the way we start to pass by a growing collection of graffiti, like this vibrant pink elephant mural.

And it looks like some socially conscious vandal with a black spray paint can decided to have a go at getting their message across.

These left MacKay and I wondering what would be next. Climate change is real. Spay our neuter your pets. Call your mom?

The graffiti seems to be crescendo-ing towards something. It’s getting better and better and then we come to an alley with all sorts of goodies lining the walls.

Passed these we come to the backside of an apartment complex that is all decked out with art, vines and bright colors

Another giant pink elephant is here in the corner as well, below a… Hammock and Pilates Balls installation?

The underside of the window sills all have unique graffiti to them as well

A doorway in here has this collection of found objects all stuck to it. Oh actually it’s a ‘Memory Board’, I guess they’re saying to post something sentimental or that you’d otherwise throw away up here (eg: An ex’s gifted earring, a souvenir from Paris, or dentures?). The card at the bottom right reads that they’ve made a 3D montage of such things. I don’t really have anything to add to this on me besides maybe Narcopiggy. But that sure as shit ain’t gonna happen. This is a fun collection of randojunk to peruse though.

Well that was a cool little square. Kaunas is turning out to be quite random. I’d say so far it doesn’t have the old-feel-appeal like Vilnius had, but we still haven’t quite hit the Old Town yet.

Oh sweet we’re back on the trail of the Vegan Vandal. We’re on the case…

After a few more of these public graffiti notices we come to an art gallery that seems to be the real art version of the message our Vegan Vandal was leaving behind. Maybe all that graffiti was a subtle form of advertising for this exhibit? Case solved.

As we continue towards the Old Town and Castle, thing’s have gotten a little older building-wise now. I still wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near the meandering cobblestone streets, castle, museums and general charm of what Vilnius had to offer. It is a nice city though, slightly more modern feeling I suppose. We are definitely enjoying all of the graffiti.

Hmmmm maybe we’ve wandered into the old Jewish ghetto?

We get down to the heart of things by the castle. There’s a great mural on the side of a whole building just across from it.

There’s a God-like statue guy here too

A #Kaunas sign has people rotating in and out for insta-ops. MacKay and I can’t be bothered so this pic with other people looking pleasant will have to do.

MacKay can sense my fomo and gets a quicky of me partly in front of the castle and hashtag, looking like about 6 bucks in the wind (Red on red is so hot right now).

The Kaunas Castle is very similar stylistically to the Trakai Castle we hit up just the other day.

Behind the castle they’re doing some sort of military dog training demo. Lots of ADKA advocates in attendance.

The castle doesn’t look open and I don’t think we need a redo either since we had a thorough history lesson in Trakai. The Kaunas Castle grounds open up into a park area with a long walking path along the shoreline of where the Nemunas and Neris Rivers converge. This seems to be where all of the dogs in Lithuania are currently being walked. So many dogs.

The path leads passed this statue named Laisvės karys (translates to Freedom Warrior) which was just erected in 2018. A monument to Vytis and symbol of Lithuanian freedom. The armored knight with sword and shield, known as a Vytis, also adorns the Lithuanian coat of arms.

Standing in front of the Vytis, this young lady uses her Cookie Monster medium to contact her ancient relatives for math class advice as the waters of Neris trickle calmly behind.

There’s a nice church just across from Kaunas Castle too. The Church of St. George the Martyr. Overcast and cool, it’s a good day to just walk around really.

This relief carved into the church’s side door is rad.

Walking down the leaf-covered road by the church makes for a nice scene.

This brings us out into the main square of cobblestoned Old Town. It’s called Town Hall Square and it looks like this here clock tower building is the Town Hall. There’s a concentration of people out front having wine. Maybe there was a wedding today or something.

Just to the left of this is the Church of St Francis Xavier, looking peachy today.

(Fun fact: St FX is also the name of a university in Nova Scotia and their grad ring is believed to be the third most recognizable ring world wide, next to the Super Bowl and Papal rings).

Well mission accomplished, we found Old Town and the Kaunas Castle. Time to reward ourselves with a beer break. Bardar on. Just off of Town Hall Square there is a patio with stone steps leading down to a pub called Antis Rusy. Seems to have a duck theme? That’s good enough for us.

Antis Rusy

We get down the steps and open the door to a completely empty bar. It’s got a great underground, brick arches vibe with some jazzy notes thrown in. There are a couple of tall Lithuanian gents prepping for the day over behind the bar. We saddle up and ask for a local lager. The bartender pours one and hands it to MacKay. “Where you guys from?”, “Canada”, “Ah not so far. I’m kidding, kidding. Gotta change out the keg. It’s going to be freeeeesh.” Having just poured the last of it into a glass for James he leans over my shoulder, “Don’t tell your friend” and he walks away laughing. Nice, funny dude, Bardar victory again. 

The jovial joke-tender comes back with a keg and starts getting it situated while continuing to chat. “Ahhhh so why Lithuania?” This is turning into a common question for us. What the hell are you doing here? We tell him about the adventure thus far. “Ahh the Polish, fuck”, “Really, you don’t like the Poles?”, “Not that I don’t like ’em. Just always problems with the neighbors, you know? I don’t think it matters where you are”, “Well our neighbors are Americans.. so there’s that”, “Haha. Yes, yes lots and lots of problems haha.”

It’s nice to take a breather after all the walking. The pints are going down easy and we round up another. We’ve got no great ambitions today really, just need to figure out how to get to Latvia a bit later on.

The bartenders tell us that they’re recovering still from last night. “There was a basketball game here last night and it was fucking crazy. Free game at the stadium and everyone went out after. Bar was packed and everyone was drunk”, “Sounds like a good time. Basketball is big here, eh?”, “Oh yeah. I remember when Lithuania bested the USA national team I was working a night club and a guy ordered 70 vodka red bulls.”

Bartender guy continues to set up shop while joking and going on with us. MacKay asks him, “Have you been to kaliningrad?” and his face wrinkles up. “Ah no, it’s Russia. Fuck Russia! Nice girls though. I think over the course of this generation the kids will no longer learn Russian. During Soviet Union everyone learned Russian. Now it’s all English and fuck Russia.”

“What does the name mean?”, “The name?”, “Something about a duck? Antis Rusy?”, “Ahh yeah, I don’t know in English.. down into the underground.. something like that”, “Cave Duck?”, “Yes yes Cave Duck!”, “It’s a nice spot, Cave Duck”, “Hah yes, it’s not bad is it?”

We finish up at Cave Duck and thank the bartender for the drinks and intel. A little wobblier than before we take the stone steps back up to the Town Square.

Just down the street is this fabulous old building. A plaque outside claims it’s the House of Perkunas, the Baltic God of thunder.

We take a spin down to the waterfront on the Nemunas River side of things. There are people fishing in the river and joggers doing the rounds. We decide to make a left and start heading back to the Magnus and bus station in the hopes of catching an afternoon ride into Riga to meet up with our forward scout in Latvia

Another nice church down by the water

We get down some back alleys away from Old Town w lots of graffiti. Some dude is really pushing a nihilism agenda round these parts.

Midway back we come to a small island with a park on it. Looks like it could be a shortcut of sorts if there’s a bridge on the other side. Looks nice over there, we decide to check it out. I like the street lamp sculptures along the riverbank

Super pretty in here too. Kaunas is shaping up to be a pleasant spot for a walkabout.

We get back to Magnus, pack up our bags and head back over to the bus station. Walk straight up to Eurolines and ask about Riga. Bus Lady tells us that it leaves in 8 minutes from platform 21 and we can pay on the bus. Fucking perfect. We relay the info to our contact in Riga, “4 hours until touchdown!”, “Sweet!”

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