Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Nov 15, 2007

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Krysiu Kalnas - Hill of Crosses

As we left the caravan park in Latvia, we decided we would spend the last of Lynn's Lat's at the local large shopping center. Unfortunately, spin us around 3 times and we loose our sense of direction, we ended up walking around the whole complex with our heavy bags of groceries. We were sure the boys moved the cars!

The stork nests in Lithuania are gargantuan, a huge feat of feathered engineering. The people actually put up large discs on appropriate poles for the storks to build their nests on. Some are even on the traffic light poles. Many had 2 storks in them, tending chicks.

Looking for locations in this country was a nightmare. Firstly our maps have the English spelling and secondly, some of the towns only use about 5 of the usual 8 or so letters, so we had to presume the names of many towns.

The Hill of Crosses is a symbol of suffering, hope and undefeated faith of the Lithuanian people. After uprisings of 1831 and 1863 rebels were secretly buried there and crosses were erected for the dead and lost. At the beginning of the 20th century, over 100 crosses stood on the hill. During the years of Soviet occupation of Lithuania, they tried to destroy the Hill of Crosses. In 1961 it was devastated for the first time. The Soviets tried to destroy The Hill for almost 2 decades but after each time the people would erect new crosses from whatever they had. It was more moving here than I had expected. Thousands upon thousands of crosses all shapes, sizes and material.
On 7/9/1993 Pope John Paul 11 visited The Hill of Crosses and gave the people a huge Crucifix with thanks for their tremendous faith and prayers. With an inscription which read "Thankyou Lithuanians for this Hill of Crosses which testifies to the nations of Europe and to the whole world the faith of the people of this land".

We drove through the drizzle a little longer till we found a forest to turn into and settle for the night. We noticed quite few mozzies, but I guess it's their forest. We could also hear the cuckoo birds and woodpeckers but could not see them, it was peaceful and enjoyable.
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