We planned on nipping in to Kaunas for a quick toot and then shoot but the weather was glorious, so a change of heart. Lets stop here, putting our feet up and enjoy the sunshine, so we did….starting with breakfast in the sun.
In the afternoon, we ventured in to the city. We wasn’t too fussed about it really but as we sat by the town hall square we had a small taste of Lithuanian culture. From every direction brides and grooms with their small congregation marched across the square to the town hall. I have never seen so many brides in one day, it was bazaar but beautiful. Once inside the town hall the couples registered their arrival and then joined the queue to be married. The queues and the crowds increased and the registrar was under pressure to remain punctual. Once the official ceremony is complete the newly weds exit the side door and ring the bell in celebration before being showered in confetti (click to zoom in on the photo’s).
In the corner of the square, I went in to the tourist office to find out where the nearest post office is and at the same time I asked about the weddings.
“Why are there so many weddings?”
“On a beautiful summer days like this, it’s common in Lithuanian culture for people to flock to the city to get married” he said.
He paused, looking for a simple map of the city.
“First they go to the Town Hall to register and then some go to the church. Why they do both, I do not know. Where do you come from?”
“Good, now go down here and turn right but not today, it is closed, good day”
As we stepped outside the city cathedral was to our right and sure enough another 3 weddings on the go. One just exiting, one just entering and one waiting in the hall. Inside the priest conducted the service, whilst all around people came and went. Tourist wandering around talking photo’s, people praying and workmen doing a few odd jobs. It was bazaar. Slightly different feel to the weddings in Goldegg that we watched.
The city with rustic buildings and tree lined avenues made for a rather pleasant and interesting place. Streets lined with hip bars and cafes with wedding parties mingling in with the Saturday shoppers. I couldn’t get over the number of brides and how they just nipped to the local high street cafe (albeit very chic) for a celebration but to the average Lithuanian clearly it was normal. On every corner, we saw dozen of other parties in suits, wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos.
Watching the Lithuanian wedding reminded me how complex and expensive our weddings have become. The big day followed by 100’s of guests and the celebration to impress. Here bride, groom, one or two bridesmaids and half a dozen people. Simply turn up, queue, get married and then nip to a restaurant for bite to eat and a celebration drink. How a simple thing like a wedding party can be a window into a culture and tradition.
We no idea what was here or where we were going, so we aimlessly wandered around, but it all looked inviting in every direction. It was a hot summer’s day and people were out eating ice creams and browsing in shop windows. I was pleased to find myself among them, whist Craig studied the architecture and found quirky little shop signs to amuse himself.
Back at base and time for a dip in the pool followed by a BBQ to accompany our selection of supermarket beers. Slurp!
Our Bumble Verdict: Worth a visit especially on a Saturday.
Our sleepy spot: same as last night Kaunas camping and tonight, we have some Italian neighbours.
Paid Camping GPS position N054.934926, E023.917061