|Last stop: putting bikes aboard and leaving more than 20 km behind.|
I started my preparation well in advance. Often, this was done by looking at the sky and begging it not to rain. The temperature forecat was jolly good, +30'C -meaning +15'C on Saturday and +15'C on Sunday. Serious debates took place wheter a raincoat or an umbrellla should be employed. To make matters worse, no public transportation ran so early in the morning (I needed to catch a bus from Vilnius to Panevezys, 1.45 hours away). I got up at 4.00 a.m. A colleague hiker/cyclist managed to organize a lift to the bus station. The ticket offices were still closed but we got our tickets from the bus driver (35 LT; 1 EUR is 3.45 LT). It took us 1.45 h to arrive in Panevezys, where Vytautas (media relations officer at narrow gauge railway) met us and gave directions how to reach the railway station, that is located quite a distance away. At the moment of my arriving there, the bikes were being put aboard. Mind that the railways WC is for regular train passengers only (but if you wail badly enough they'll have a heart and give you the key to it).
|Narrow gauge railway train from the viaduct.|
|A. Barauskas (left) reminded us of rules how to behave on the road, G. Kerbedis presented the route.|
Since the train is going at án incredible speed, it's difficult to take photos. I didn't know heritage can move so fast! Also, safety comes first, so I get held by my belt every time I stick my camera out of the door:-)
|Anyksciai narrow gauge railway station.|
|Staff is personally seeing off the train.|
|Me. Need to get ahead of the cyclists because I cannot cycle. The intro photo is just basking in the event's glory :-)|
|Unloading the bikes.|
|Moving towards St. Matthew's church.|
|By the monument to our poet A. Baranauskas the cyclists honour him and the city.|
|The largest bell.|
|The view from the viewing platform.|
The interior of the church is very beautiful. I had a chance to have a look after the Mass had ended. It's pretty dark inside and the candles are burning in front of several statues and it creates a cozy, quaint atmosphere, inviting to sit down and spend some time quietly. This is a very, very beautiful church indeed.
|See the angels?|
|It says: in the honour of the parents of famous people in Anyksciai.|
There's an Angels Museum right across the street. Angels are present in many important scenes from the Holy Bible and in lives of many prominent saints. Arcangel Michael is a very popular angel to depict. He's the one you can see fighting a dragon. It's interesting that many pre-Christian winged creatures like victory goddess Nike are also considered to be angels. The founder of the museum Beatrice Kleizaite-Vasaris became interested in angels in 1989. A late writer Jurga Ivanauskaite gave her a painting of an angel as a gift. Ever since the collection grew. The museum was opened in 2010 and it is the only museum of this kind in Lithuania. An angel is also a symbol of St. Matthew. Entrance ticket 3 LT, photography-for an additional fee.
A small but well-kept museum. The staf was still clearing up after an educational programme with the little ones.
I had planned to visit an Anyksciai Wine speciality shop but, unfortunately, it is closed on Sundays. The capital of wine was titled to Anyksciai because in 1929 an agronom B. Karazija came there. Wine wasn't made in Lithuania at the time and imported one was very expensive, so B. Karazija got the necessary permits and started making local wine from fruit and berries. This wine was bought very well. Where the trade was slow, a special marketing method was used: a couple of men would come and demand for this wine, should it not be for sale they would complain loudly and leave withoug buying a thing. They say, sales increased soon after :-) This wine was a medal-winner even back then. It is known that Queen of England Elizabeth II received this wine as a gift on her visit to Lithuania in 2006. Her mother also tasted this wine back in 1930s. Black currant wine (from 2007 called "Voruta" in the honour of a castle of our first and only king) was recognized as our cultural heritage.
One more place of interest in Anyksciai for both hikers/pedestrians and cyclists is the left bank of the River Sventoji. This river is very beautiful and even three regional parks are set up around it. It starts to rain but I have a raincoat -my main worry is to protect a borrowed camera because mine is with my parents in the Northern Poland. There are benches to sit down and have a snack from one's travel bag.
|Am I seeing dinosaurs here???|
|Another viewing platform.|
|There's a funpark for children to climb different things.|
|The plice is going to lead the cyclists to safety.|
|The River Anyksta that has become a fall. It's the cleanest river in Lithuania (2006 data).|
|Water mill ruins.|
|He was such a flirt!|
Then our road leads us to Andrioniskis. There we can have a look at a local church and buy local goods, including home-grown raspberries (that were gone in a second, so delicious!). The place is known for its resistance movement against the tsarist occupation and distributing banned book during the time of banned Lithuanian press. This is the third church in this place built in 1935 and it is now a protected monument of architecture.
Some useufl links:
Narrow gauge railway of Aukstaitija http://www.siaurukas.eu
St. Matthew church http://www.anyksciuparapija.lt/anyksciu-svento-mato-baznycia/
Angel Museum http://anyksmc.lt/
Anyksciai Wins http://www.avynas.lt
Have you ever travelled on such a train? Have you ever travelled on a special train? Have you ever travelled by any train? :-) Do leave a comment.Also, feel free to browse through the lovely section of books and films that's on offer at Amazon.