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Published: January 29th 2013
The only reason for my visit to Siauliai was to see the Hill of Crosses (Kryziu Kalnas) in the district of Domantai, 12 kilometers from the city, easily reached by scheduled bus in the direction of Joniskis.
The day was all about buses, the first one taken from Sigulda to Riga, the second one in thirty minutes from Riga to Siauliai (a minibus). I bought the ticket via the Luxepress website. Everything everywhere on both sides of the highway was snowy.
The third bus was the bus from Siauliai station to Domantai. I had some fifteen minutes before departure, asked in the inquiry window where the luggage storeroom is, and it looked more like a small office. The payment of 2 litas entitled me to storage until 7 o’clock in the evening.
Near the Domantai bus stop there is a road sign to Kryziu Kalnas where I went on foot. It was a marvelous experience, in the heart of snow-covered nowhere with a neat row of trees along the road, and the white sun bathing in a sea of overwhelming all-pervading whiteness. It really felt sort of pilgrimage to a sacred place, which Kryziu Kalnas in fact is.
It looks like a cemetery but it is not. The belief is if you leave a cross there success will attend you. Wikipedia says it has 50 thousand crosses, but who counts them, I wonder, and how? People are guessing how and when it appeared. I wanted to leave a cross, but was then unsure whether it was advisable.
The Hill of Crosses is the most peculiar place I ever saw. The crosses are of every form, size, pattern, from huge ones towering over smaller ones, and the smaller ones becrossed with myriads of other crosses, smaller, smaller, and even smaller.
On coming back (I had to hurry to catch the next bus to city) I had a sandwich in Hashburger café, bought maps and started exploring the sights. I walked Vilniaus gatve, the first pedestrian promenade in the former Soviet Union, Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Katedra, several statues, and Sv. Ignaco church. Some of the important sights I missed, being pressed for time.
The bus to Kaunas went out of order so I had to wait 45 minutes for another bus where the driver had to consult the authorities as to whether allow me onboard
The Hill of Crosses
or not, because I was advised to his bus by the inquiry person and he seemed to know nothing about the broken bus.
Upon arriving to Kaunas I went to R-Hostel but there was no receptionist, only a sign “be back in 20 minutes”, therefore I waited on the staircase landing. The room and facilities were quite decent, and I slept well.
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