All of the Baltic countries are very proud of their new independence. The student on the right

is holding a Lithuanian flag. I encountered these two on the street in Vilnius, the capital. The

Lithuanians are very outgoing. They have the reputation of being the Italians of the Baltics.



Ethnologic Museum

The Ethnologic Museum in Lithuania has examples of traditional architecture from every region

of the country. Catholicism is the main religion.



Modern Kitchen

A woman in rural Lithuania would have been proud to have a kitchen like this one hundred years ago.



Another Wedding

There were a lot of weddings while I was in the Baltics.



Vintage Car

Even Eastern Europeans consider this fifty-year old Russian car a joke. It is being decorated

for a wedding party.




Each of the Baltic countries has a museum of the Soviet Occupation, which lasted fifty years.

Tens of thousands were murdered or deported to Siberia. This is a village of Lithuanians in the

Gulag. Many never returned to their home country.



Partisan Fighters

Partisans fought the occupation up to about 1950, by which time they had been crushed

by the Soviets.



The KGB Prison

The KGB prison in Vilnius is now a museum. It is pretty shocking.



Torture Chamber

This is a straight jacket in a padded torture cell of the prison. I entered

the museum with a noisy group of tourists. The tour proceeded past

the holding cells to the processing room, the prison cells and then the

torture cells. Each step along the way things got quieter. By the time

we got to the execution chamber you could hear a pin drop.



Stalin World

Grutas Park, sometimes referred to as Stalin World, is a open air

 museum created by a Lithuanian entrepreneur using sculptures

of Soviet era heroes that had been pulled down with the fall of

communism in 1991. The park is surrounded by a moat, an electric

fence and guard towers, from which loud speakers blare patriotic

socialist music. Performances of socialist opera are put on by a

troupe of Young Pioneers in the evenings, preserving an art form that

can hardly be seen anywhere in the world today.




This ten meter statue of Lenin was rescued from the scrap heap

after it had been violently pulled down at the time of independence.

Although the broken legs were welded back together, Lenin's right

thumb and foot were lost in the confusion.



Little Lithuanian

Stalin World is a full service theme park. Hot dogs and ice cream cones are sold, and there

are even rides for the children.