So after a long and careful planning a time to go to Lithuania’s Žemaitija region and a bit of Latvian seaside finally has dawned. Come Friday morning we were up and ready for a three day car trip adventure (an original route plan can be found here).
We haven’t visited some of the places we intended to visit, but we’ve been to the majority of the ‘must see’ ones from that route plan. Must say, that no matter how carefully you plan a route, in the end there are always modifications to it. Say we could not locate any of the two places I’ve put to my route for our first night campsite, so we had to look for an alternative. A mobile GPS navigation app which ain’t even close to a decent navigator should probably take some blame for that, but, well, that’s all I’ve got at the moment and having some GPS navigation in the end is still so much better than going with old fashioned maps. Especially when you’re the dedicated driver for the trip, and also like the only person on board at least somewhat decent with maps 😉
Our first stop at a point of interest (POI) for the day was at Pakruojis manor. The manor and its auxiliaries have been recently renovated, so it sure looks great on the outside. Unfortunately the exterior is all there is to see at the moment, so if you happen to visit the manor skip going inside the main building as there’s nothing really to see there at the moment. You’ll save yourselves 4LTL/person entry fee thus and won’t miss much. If you happen to come to Pakruojis on Saturday, then there would be some more action there – staged performances, manor life re-enactments, craftsmanship demonstrations, etc. Since we were there on Friday, we missed all of that with the only available attractions being a horseback ride around the manor park or having your picture taking with a 19th century like still camera.
Our second POI for the day was Hill of Crosses. Must say I was expecting a somewhat bigger place, but in the end it was truly great and interesting place to visit. A definite Must see.
Šiauliai: late lunch time
Sorry, Šiauliai, but your tourism information center sucks, and when I was at the drawing board and just planning the route I wasn’t convinced at all that there was anything worth a visit in the city. So in the end I’ve settled for a stop to get some food over there and to visit two of the city’s best known (probably) statues. If there IS anything else of to see and visit in the city your tourism center should make a better attempt at listing those places and providing a decent description of where to find it and why it is worth a stop for at the moment most of the places listed there were advertised so badly I almost fell asleep reading about them.
Camping near the Plateliai lake
My smartphone GPS navigation app has failed us entirely when it came to locating any of the two campsites I’ve mapped for our trip for the first night. The evening was fast approaching, and it was quite clear that there would be some rain during the night so we kind of really needed to get to a campsite and unpack our tents before it started to rain. Alas none of the campsites were anywhere to be seen when the navigator declared ‘you have arrived to your destination’. Or if THOSE places WERE the campsites we were looking for… well, we probably did better at looking for the alternatives I guess. Here I come to my point biggest disappointment for the trip – campsites. The ones we could not locate were the ones supposedly with proper showers and WCs on site, but since we did not find them either due to limitations of my phone’s GPS app, either to the fact that these campsites suck at providing decent coordinates or putting out a signboard for travelers to see. Since I was aware that there are plenty of campsites around the Plateliai lake initially I wasn’t concerned by the fact that neither of the mapped ones was to be found. But when we started to actually look for an available alternative for the night, I grew worried. Oh, not to worry there are PLENTY of campsites there, but if you’re looking a a decent place to pop-up your tent AND have a decent shower/WC you may find yourself with no options. All of the places we stopped by offered a nice spots for a tent, but none had showers, and some offered just a heart shaped holey option for the WC, so in the end since none were really tempting and any better than the other we just went for the cheapest option available – 7LTL/person or 35LTL in total for 5 persons, 2 tents and a car (places for tents and car parking included) plus an arbor, and I doubt it was worth even that much. If campsites around Plateliai is what one can expect from camping in the whole region, then sorry but there ain’t gonna be a second time. One night stay at a shitty campsite is more than enough, so the next time it’s either an upgrade to some hotel/ farmstead option or there won’t be ‘the next time’ at all. This was my worst campsite experience ever, and I thought nothing could be worse than my some 14 years old experience in an outdoors music festival 😀