Another day out today.

Kaunas is the country’s second city (300,000+ population) and was its temporary capital from 1920 to 1939, while Vilnius was occupied by Poland (a long story, like most things in this part of the world). Its character is different from Vilnius in many ways, one being its slower economic development since independence was regained in 1990.

I had one memorable piece of work centred on the city in the late 90s involving the municipality’s district hot water and heating facilities (another long story), so coming back always brings memories with it. Every time I wash my hands, if nothing else.

Kaunas is 60 miles (96 km) west of Vilnius, so it’s a comfortable and short trip by train.

Today’s main event was a sumptuous lunch of šaltibarščiai (cold beetroot and cucumber soup - a Lithuanian speciality) and venison medallions in a mushroom sauce. The plan was to try to lift my spirits in the face of some news from the UK political scene. I was alternating between rage and despair.

It worked. These things are usually better dealt with after a good lunch. It’s nice to be on holiday and able to use that particular therapy.

The Blip is that soup...

One extra is one of the main streets in the Senamiestis (Old Town). Cafe culture. Locals may not have as much € in their pockets as in Vilnius, but they seem to spend just as much time sitting around drinking coffee!

The other extra is a corner of the main square in the Senamiestis.

Lastly, please don't try to pronounce šaltibarščiai unless you've undergone suitable health and safety training. You'll swallow your tongue.

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