on the road – Kulionys (May'18)

Everybody loves the sunshine – just bees and things and flowers. so. do. we. But today we make a plan to wake up really early and avoid the sunshine, in our faces, as we drive to Kulionys (Lithuania) to play a show tomorrow at Postcosmos Festival’18. Although driving from Estonia to Lithuania can easily be done in a day, we plan to spend two days on the road and camp in the woods somewhere at the Latvian-Lithuanian border. Simply, we like to take a chance on an adventure and also we don’t want to get straight on the stage after a sticky. hot. all day long. road trip. across. the Baltic States. We don’t succeed in starting the trip early, it’s past noon when we get on the move with plenty of heat blasting at us through the windshield. It’s a very hot end of May in the Baltics this year and the first heat wave of 2018 for us. We make the transition from Estonia to Latvia through the village of Ramata – a less common point of cross over traveling from Estonia to Latvia. It is a good crossing. The first time we crossed to Latvia through Ramata was some years ago. There is an architecturally unique looking house exactly at the border on the Latvian side. We have seen just one more building along the Estonian – Latvian boarder that resembles the Ramata house – a house at the Mõisaküla boarder crossing. We have tried to find out if there are more similarly built houses at some other cross over points but have not come upon any relevant clues. From Ramata we drive to Mazsalaca to our favourite swimming spot in the Salaca River beside Igauņu (Estonian) Cemetery. From here we continue to Cesis. We pay a surprise visit at Mākslas Telpa MALA – a cultural centre where we played a show just 2 weeks ago in the beginning of May. Besides the urge of surprising people we are also starving and will have late lunch here. After Cesis we don’t stop until we find a camping spot at the eastern side of Latvian – Lithuanian border. Normally on road trips we use analogue paper maps (Kalle’s phone has a GPS but we use it just in the case of total plus state of confusion). Using a paper map can get you lost or can get you in an adventure or most often both. sO, today looking at the map and the speed of the setting sun we try to get to a lake side public camping area. Luckily we get lost as we follow a road in the woods that leads us to a long ago abandoned village (only one house of this village seams to be in use as a summer house, but nobody is home now). We will camp here, close to this village on the side of a forest road. We set up the tent and eat something. We discover many impressively huge ant nests surrounding our tent. The ants are very charming and respect our privacy by not invading our tent – sO, tonight our sleep is guarded by this (most probably ancient) colony of ant people. We sleep well. Morning greets us with pure sunshine. We have a quick breakfast and exit our home in the ant village. As the plan was, we are now at the Latvian – Lithuanian border. We enter Subate – a small border town still on the Latvian side. It would be very simple to drive just through it and enter Lithuania. Of course we do not do it. On the map it looks like there is some sort of castle close by. We take the lead and go looking for it. After circling round a few times we don’t manage to find a castle anywhere. Instead we find an alternative entrance route to Subate and see this super small town in a way we would not have seen it if we had not gone chasing for the castle. We are driving through Subate in slow motion mode, admiring the view of this super quiet old town with crooked streets going in all directions when all of a sudden it simply spits us out into Lithuania onto a ruler straight highway in the middle of extra large agricultural fields. Kalle has driven through Lithuania often and knows well the ruler straight highways in the middle of extra large agricultural fields. eleOnora has only heard of those as it’s officially her first time in Lithuania today. And the first stop in Lithuania for eleOnora is in Obeliai, where we get out of the car to look at the catholic cemetery. We are traveling on the eastern side of Lithuania and this means the landscape becomes hilly plus curvy very soon. The driving manners in Lithuania are quite hot compared to Estonia. sO, it’s a bit scary in this sense but other wise we get to see a landscape of Lithuania we did not know exists. This kind of landscape is also seen in the south-eastern part of Estonia, and looks like it stretches down from there through the eastern parts of Latvia to Lithuania. We make several stops along the way to admire some more cemeteries – Estonia and Latvia have cemeteries surrounded by trees, Lithuania is the first country traveling south from Northern Europe that becomes Catholic (so this is a bit exotic for us). We buy Lithuanian ice cream and soon arrive in Moletai – a small town close to Kulionys. Here we will spend a couple of hours chasing for shadows and a place to eat. For some reason most of the restaurants we find are either closing (in the middle of the day?) or reserved. Finally we manage to find one place that offers pizza. In Moletai we spend some time around one abandoned looking house. Looks like somebody quite eccentric used to live here. The garden of the house goes up the slope. We enter the garden and discover it is filled with many fantastic stone sculptures. This used to be a very beautiful garden. Unfortunately nobody is taking care of it now and many plants have recently died of the heat. There is a large thermometer on the side of the house, straight in the sunshine – just as the plants used to be. sO, after pizza, tourism and some thrift shop stops we exit Moletai. Postcosmos Festival is happening on the area of Kulionys Observatory and Ethnocosmological Center in the middle of a nature reserve. We share the stage with mosquitoes. I am ok, I can jump around the stage like Mick Jagger (after the show one member of the audience also confirms this mickjaggering thing). For Kalle it’s not so simple. His hands are where his guitar is and after each song he smashes a mosquito busy sucking blood on his face. Actually, we are lucky to have those annoying creatures. Scientists say not too long from now many insects will be extinct. This will not be very good for us. But at the moment we don’t see so clear what they are saying – we still see bees and things and flowers.

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