Sunday, October 11, 2009

My first trip into Lithuania

Elder and Sister Gubler had friends from Cedar City UT (their hometown) visiting last weekend and they invited Sister Humphrey and me to go along with them on Saturday to Lithuania to see the Hill of Crosses. Lithuania is a very Catholic country and the people erected this hill full of hundreds of crosses to declare to the Russian and German invaders that they are Christian. The Russians bulldozed it at least once during their occupation and the people re-built it. I admire their determination to declare their Christianity. There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of crosses of all kinds, and a couple of statues of Christ. The crosses and statues mostly portray him on the Cross, although one did not. There is also a larger than life statue of the Virgin Mary. Interestingly there is Star of David also, commemorating the genocide of the Jews by the Germans.
After spending a little time at the Hill of Crosses, we drove into Siauliai (pronounced Shall-lay, kind of), to a very modern mall. Sister Humphrey found a restroom that had very blue lighting (we'd seen the same thing in Estonia). We wonder if it's to hide the dirt?
We all had lunch in a restaurant and our table looked out on an ice rink. There was a hockey game going first, and later just free skating.
The food was probably the best I've had since my arrival 11 months ago. It was a nice piece of chicken breast with a pesto sauce, served with a carrot/cabbage salad and a very small bowl of potatoes that tasted very good, but I don't know how they were prepared. Afterwards, we went to an Italian ice place in the mall to "cleanse our palate"--at least that was the excuse. The Italian ice is very good.
And then back to Riga in time to watch the Saturday morning session of General Conference (at 7p.m. here).
It's a very good thing the Gublers were with us because neither Sister Humphrey nor I had even thought about the fact that Latvian money wouldn't be any good to us in Lithuania. Elder Gubler had thought of that and took some Lits. The friends from Cedar City (Wayne and Maria Smith) treated us all to lunch--using a credit card. So, we got along fine without Lithuanian money.
We were disappointed that we weren't stopped at the border. We had been told that you HAVE to have your passport on you to cross into Lithuania. In fact, one of our missionaries didn't and wasn't allowed into Lithuania. But, we just drove right through--so no stamps on our passports.

No comments: