On the road to Vilnius

On the way to Vilnius we visited Druskininkai, a nice spa resort and the Grutas Park where Soviet time monuments are gathered after being removed from all the public places in Lithuania.

The roads in Lithuania were very different from the ones in Poland – straight and wide, with no massive trees on both sides – much more relaxing to drive on for us.

Joy of all who Sorrow Church in Druskininkai
This beautiful church was the main reason to visit Druskininkai for us. It’s an Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to the icon of the Joy of All Who Sorrow built in 1865, after Druskininkai become a highly popular spa town visited by many wealthy Russians. Such a lovely postcard church with its turrets and blue and white exterior! When we arrived a service was held so we didn’t go inside, From the door we watched a little and listened to the singing.
The music fountain in Druskininkai moves according to a piece of music you can select from a list and request via SMS. We didn’t manage to do it though, you might need a Lithuanian Sim Card. But we could watch the fountain accompanying a rock song somebody else had selected.
Abandoned hotel 

Druskininkai still seems to be a very popular spa town. We saw nice parks, a cable car line which takes you through the forest, an inside ski slope! and of course a big thermal bath with many slides. Nice modern hotels are scattered around town with a lot of pine forest between them. 
Old villas mixed with modern buildings
Old style hotel
In Grutas a wealthy Lithuanian opened a park where many of the Communist statues of the Soviet time are on display. 
On 11 March 1990, Lithuania was the first Soviet occupied state to announce restitution of independence.  The Soviets imposed an economic blockade by ceasing to deliver supplies of raw materials (primarily oil) to Lithuania. Not only the domestic industry, but also the population started feeling the lack of fuel, essential goods, and even hot water. Although the blockade lasted for 74 days, Lithuania did not renounce the declaration of independence. Today the country is member of the NATO, the European Union, the Schengen Agreement and has the Euro as currency.
The Soviet time monuments of Lenin & Co where demolished, decapitated and removed by the Lithuanians with great pleasure. Some of them found their final resting place in this park as a memory of the history of Lithuania.
Entrance fee of Euro 7,50/person!
Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin
Circular routes through the extensive park lead you to all the monuments
Giant Lenin 
Karolis Požėla – founding member of the communist party of Lithuania
Vincas Andrulis-Andrulevičius
Wladimir Iljitsch Lenin
Leonid Iljitsch Breschnew
Glorifying the technical development
Flower of the Day

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