First we had to drive up into an empty forest to get close and then walk for a little ways, until we passed through a barbed wire fence that in Soviet times I guess was electrified pretty strongly. The Soviets paid off the Lithuanian people that had homes near this site. It was a pretty top secret base. And you can tell. Aside from 2 big mounds--like the one Peggy and I are standing on in the picture--there's not much indication of anything there.
Then we stepped into the bomb shelter--it was huge. Aside from being extremely cold and dark, the most interesting place was when we climbed up into the room where the Soviets launched their nuclear bombs. Apparently this "bomb launcher" as it was translated by our guide could do more damage than Hiroshima. Scary. I can't describe the feeling of standing there, looking down into the depths of that hole--it was 60 meters deep--and realizing how @ one point in this exact spot, bombs were set for all major cities in Western Europe. All it took was pressing one button and bah bam...what the heck?!
Well from the extremes of War times, we traveled to the winter gardens in Kretinga. It is a small palace that has been converted into a museum. Attached to one big room is a huge greenhouse--basically they created a rainforest. It was absouletely beautiful, I don't think I've ever been so excited to see plants everywhere in my life--mostly due to only having seen snow for the past two months. Yeah, I went crazy! I smelled everything, touched everything, and just sat and was so happy. The really cool thing is they have a small restaurant right around the "rainforest" as I like to call it, so Peggy and I decided we'd grab a bunch of girls, get dressed up fun, and go back there next weekend for dinner.
Speaking of dinner, that night we went to a traditional Lithuanian restaurant, Veskmingas. It was in the country, with a beautiful lake behind. After riding the zipline and playing with the random farm animals--including a yak, a yak! haha--Peggy, Polly, and I had some great banana crepes. After dinner, we were standing outside on the road looking at the lake and this man pulls up in his car. We were like, "great another drunk guy that is gonna talk to us." Oh but we were wrong. Instead he pulls up, makes sure he has our attention, and then peels out as he races off. Awesome, way to impress the ladies! Now we get to stand there smelling burnt rubber, which is one of my top 3 favorite smells in the world--not! Man, Lithuanian guys.
Today was a day of extreme contrasts.