Kaunas, Lithuania: Laisvės alėja and Šv. arkangelo Mykolo bažnyčia

Kaunas, Lithuania: Laisvės alėja and Šv. arkangelo Mykolo bažnyčia

Laisvės alėja (Liberty Boulevard) is a pedestrian street in the "new town" of Kaunas, Lithuania. When people go to Kaunas, they tend to gravitate towards this street, as it's very central to the most touristy parts of the city, connecting the old town to the new town. We were very lucky to stay in a relative's apartment just a couple of blocks from where this photo was taken. It's interesting to note that in a case of horrible irony, this street was re-named "Stalino prospektas" for a period during the Soviet occupation.

At the east end of Laisvės alėja is Šv. arkangelo Mykolo bažnyčia (St. Michael the Archangel Church). Built at the end of the 19th century, it provides a stunning focal point at the end of the tree-lined street.

Lithuanian elephants running wild

July 14, 2009: An elephant sculpture in Gintaras' yard, near Nemunaitis, Lithuania.

Reminds me of that elephant on the front lawn of a Yarmouth Rd. house here in Toronto.

Old Lithuanian farm house

Another old Lithuanian farm house near Nemunaitis, Lithuania. This is the oldest building on Gintaras' property, and is still in very "original" condition. It has a funky old kitchen, fireplace radiant heating, and a spooky attic and cellar. Now I wish I took some interior photos.

Balloon ride in Lithuania: Countryside and Nemunas River

Near Alytus, Lithuania, July 14th, 2009. Yesterday's photo showed us preparing for liftoff, and this photo shows the view from above the Nemunas River and countryside outside of Alytus.

Balloon ride in Lithuania: Looking into the flame

Near Alytus, Lithuania, July 14th, 2009. Jen and I woke up early and headed out with my mom's cousin Gintaras and a couple of other helpers for a balloon ride over the Lithuanian countryside. We were busy helping launch the balloon (it's quite labour-intensive!) but of course we managed to snap some photos whenever possible.

I took this photo shortly before takeoff. You can tell we're still on the ground because of the silhouetted trees on the sides of the balloon (we launched from a clearing in a forest).

Another yellow farm house near Nemunaitis, Lithuania

July 13th, 2009. Jen and I went for an evening walk in the countryside near Nemunaitis, which is a small village next to the Nemunas River near Alytus, Lithuania.

We didn't walk that far, but we really took our time enjoying the beautiful scenery around here. It was just a simple gravel/dirt road, but it offered up fantastic views of the Nemunas River valley on one side, and idyllic farms on the other. Of course, I had to stop and take photos of this nice yellow farm house!

Cow on a farm, near Nemunaitis, Lithuania

We spent a couple of days visiting my mom's cousin Gintaras at his rural property near Nemunaitis, which is a small village next to the Nemunas River near Alytus, Lithuania. Hanging out here was a nice break from the last two weeks of somewhat fast-paced travel through European cities.

Here, we were able to go swimming in a pond, walk along quiet country roads, gaze out over the Nemunas River valley, eat fresh fruits and veggies from the garden, and just plain relax. Oh, we also went for a balloon ride. I'll share some of those photos soon too.

A walk in the woods in Šeškinė, suburban Vilnius Lithuania.

Walking through the woods with my mom's cousin Rasa and Jen, in Šeškinė, a suburb of Vilnius, Lithuania. Instead of heading into the city on this day, we went for a walk around Rasa's neighbourhood. We walked through the residential areas, as well as the local outdoor market, and some nearby woodlands.

Trakai, Lithuania: Yellow House #1

Yeah, here I go again with the yellow houses. I will post another one tomorrow too!

A typical Karaim house in Trakai, Lithuania. Karaims are a minority ethnic group in parts of Lithuania, most notably in Trakai. Read more about them on Wikipedia.

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