If you are on the road with your truck in Lithuania, look out of the window to the left and right. What do you see? Fields and forests! Most of the country is agricultural land, a third is covered by forests and over three percent is made up of bogs and swamps.
Take a sniff – The smell of Lithuania
Hold your nose in the breeze and you might smell it: sandalwood and cedar, musk and meadow flowers and a hint of wood fire. At least, that’s how the national perfume Lietuvos kvapas (Lithuanian fragrance) smells.
In a former park near the town of the same name you will find the Stelmužė oak. At an estimated 1,500 years old, it is the third oldest in Europe and has already experienced the logistically demanding time of the Crusades.
Steeped in history
Old is also the Lithuanian language. With a history of more than 5,000 years, it is considered one of the oldest in Europe. Worldwide, there are only about four million native speakers left. But don’t worry: you don’t have to learn Lithuanian now to converse with the locals. Most Lithuanians speak several foreign languages.
Cepelinai – Potato dumplings like airships
Now, let’s get something decent to eat. You’ll find rest stops at all the petrol stations of the big chains like Circle K, EMSI and Orlen petrol, as well as around the restaurants near motorways and country roads. You should definitely try the cepelinai. These are potato dumplings filled with minced meat or cottage cheese. They get their name from their shape, which is reminiscent of zeppelin airships.
Freshly fortified, you can now loosen up a bit. In Lithuania, you can do this by playing a game of basketball, the national sport. You’ll find baskets at many rest stops and squares. And you’ll never have to wait long for a teammate.
Panieriai Tunnel in Vilnius – Bats’ paradise
Let’s continue in a relaxed manner. No extremes await you in Lithuania: no steep roads, no high mountain passes and certainly no endless tunnels. The longest, 427 metres, is the Paneriai Tunnel in the capital Vilnius. However, it has long since become impassable, and it is a protected area because many rare bats live here.
What do you think of the Lithuanian national scent? And how do you like cepelinai best? Tell us in a comment!