Visit to Vilnius, Lithuania

18 07 2011

One of my interests in life is travelling and some years ago I thought that it would be interesting to see what life was like in the Baltic states. These are geographically so close to Sweden, yet, in some ways, so far away, in terms of culture and politics, and after their last 70 years of history, in a completely different situation to other countries in Europe.

We visited Estonia in 2005 and Latvia in 2006 but in neither cases did we look for caches. It’s difficult to remember why, but it could be because there were none in the places we visited. Now five years on we finally got around to visiting Vilnius, the capitol city of Lithuania. Unlike the other two Baltic states this capitol city is not on the coast. We flew in on a direct flight from Stockholm, a flight that took only ten minutes more that the flight from Stockholm to Copenhagen that I have flown dozens of times.

Most of the caches in the central part of Vilnius seem to have been hidden by the same cacher. One with the nickname “ly2kw”, and as a fellow ham with the signal “sa3arq” I realise that geocachers often have multiple technical interests in common. The main difference between my caches and those of ly2kw is that mine don’t include so many urban caches and none of them are nanos! ly2kw is also much more prolific in that he has hidden 259 caches to my sixty one!

In the three days that we spent in Vilnius we found fourteen caches and either DNF’d or DNA’d about the same number. I have become less “enthusiastic” over time and in a city environment and dressed reasonably smartly I don’t bother to climb walls or grovel in dirty cramped spots any more. Another factor that affected the number of DNA’s was the high number of muggles that we saw. In some cases they could be safely ignored but in other cases it would have been inappropriate to start hunting for a nano cache under a window ledge at a restaurant, for example. If a cache is out in the wilds it doesn’t bother me in the least if I get dirty and muggles are seldom a problem.

On day one we found
A Night At The Opera

A night at the Opera. Vilnius Opera House


ITD

ITD


The Church of St. Ann

The Church of St. Ann


Medininkai Gate Micro

Medininkai Gate as seen from the cache


Pan Stanislav

Himskatti logging Pan Stanislav


McVelsen logging Pan Stanislav


The last cache of the day was a cooperative find with a group of Finnish cachers called Himskatti. I had just made a preliminary check of the bench and moved to the next one to get a different view when a bunch of kids with mothers in tow arrived at the bench with the cache and started looking all over it. I sat that they had a GPS and papers so I said hi and that we were also caching. It wasn’t long before one of the kids found the well hidden cache and we could all log the find. After that we looked for “Drambliai. The Elephants” but gave up after a while. We bumped into the same cachers the day after and they said that they had succeeded in finding the cache but that it was across the square from where the GPS pointed.

On day two we found
Vilniaus kalnai/Vilnius Hills

View from the hill


Literatu Wall

Nano in hand at the Literatu Wall


Art


Art II


Sirvydo Square
Bitinelis
books.de

Another nano at books.de


KGB

Yet another nano at KGB

Of the day’s finds three were nanos. I usually find them to be a frustrating experience, mostly on those occasions when I can’t find them. The three that we found were in sensible places and there were good hints. The hint for “KGB” didn’t make sense until I got to GZ. The hint read “no4ta”. It was only when I saw it on the postbox and realised that I was looking at Cyrillic characters did it make sense.

On day three we found
The Yellow Shark my crow
Drambliai. The Elephants
Vilniaus Rotuse/Vilnius City Hall

As we arrived at the first cache we were joined by a couple from the Netherlands who were also hunting for the same cache. McVelsen as they were called were just starting out with caching and were using a Nokia smartphone as a GPS. It was clear that they found caching fun, and had been picking up caches along the route of their Baltic trip. We walked down to Pan Stanislav and gave a hint on where to look then made a joint effort to find “Drambliai. The Elephants”, based on the hint that I had been given by the Finnish cachers. It still took a few minutes of hunting but the little container was given away by a wire hanging out of a hole.

Reminder of a former era

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