Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 01:57:42 -0800
> I am doing a whirlwind tour in June hitting the highlights of Latvia,
> Lithuania and
>Estonia - 3 days in each country. My traveling companion is a dear
>non-Jewish friend ... Can we do a day trip to Kaunas/Kovna? Do you
>think it is
>possible to see Gudel? It looks ... far. For those who have gone to
>Lithuania, what do you recommend?
>Is there any recommended reading I should do before I go?
Having spent a total of 6 months in Lithuania on 4 visits, speaking Lith
and Russian, I can't imagine doing very much in 3 days in the WHOLE country.
But to answer some questions... Kaunas is about a 1 hr drive by car >from
Vilnius. Avoid buses or trains if you want to save time. Try to hire a
Jew, perhaps a Jewish student with access to a car, for the day. People
on this list might have some names and phone numbers...He can drive to
Kaunas and back and take you to cemeteries, etc.
Don't know where Gudel (current name?) is but the coast is a lot
farther >from Vilnius. You would need to get a driver who knows the
area. I've been to my gfs' village, and wouldn't plan such a trip on a 3
day stay. Re recommended reading: there are lots of informative web
sites now, including some with Lith language lessons. Learn to
communicate--at least please and thank you in Lithuanian. The more you
learn the better. Assume the people have good will, even if you don't
understand them. If your travelling companion is a non-Jew I can't
imagine her preferring to spend 3 short days seeing Jewish sites instead
of cathedrals, museums, castles, etc. If she has an opportunity for a day
trip, she should go to Trakai. (If you were there for a week, you could
go too--there are still a few Karaites there, and a Karaite museum and
cemetery.) Good luck.
Professor of Linguistics and Russian, Emeritus
MODERATOR'S NOTE: If anyone has specific suggestions regarding guides
or drivers, please respond privately.