On Monday, I was supposed to take a day trip to Kedainai with several history doctoral students. Unfortunately our driver cancelled that morning because his son was sick and one of the other students also dropped out, so only two of us were left. We had two options: 1) take the opportunity to get work accomplished or 2) figure some other way to spend the day given that neither of us has a car and museums were closed because it was Monday. Not surprisingly, we chose option two — who wants to work when you’ve already expected to have a day of fun? So off we went to explore Kaunas on foot on what turned out to be a hot summer day.
First we walked to Karmelitų island in the Nemunas River. I expected a park with benches and other amenities, but it is an undeveloped island with grassy areas, trees, and dirt roads. On one end of the island is a half-finished sports arena that is supposed to be ready for the European basketball championship finals in August.
We then walked up to a viewpoint on Aleksotas hill for a view of Old Town and stopped by a nearby school to visit my friend’s aunt. We headed back down to Town Hall Square, where we re-lived our Italy experience from last September with pizza and red wine for lunch at Piano Piano. Finally we walked up to Peledės (Owl) Hill, across a bit of Žaliakalnis and back down to the university. We ended the day with limonada from the Buon Giorno deli. I was exhausted from all the walking in the heat — it hit 30C/86F today — and took a short nap when I got home, before getting some actual work done in the evening. I might not have made it to Kedainai, but I got to see some sections of Kaunas that I hadn’t seen before and to hang out with a good friend.