Discover the Baltics

Discover the Baltics, means finding treasures everywhere – well hidden and known only to few and, for sure, unknown to many foreigners who are living in those countries or just visiting them.
I am based in Vilnius, Lithuania – so most of the articles will be about Lithuania – still, this blog title is to express a will to expand my knowledge about the Baltics including all of three states. But, who am I?

Few words to introduce myself, and what I’m doing here.

I grew up in Amandola, an old town in Central Italy. It was a magnificent place to spend a childhood, the chain of the Sibillini mountains is visible right out of my window. The picture below is real. Among those I knew are Monte Vettore, the highest one, Priora with the cross on one of its peaks, Sibilla with the cavern and all its legends, Castel Manardo the widest one, calm and quiet like a sleeping dinosaur.

Sibillini Mountains
Sibillini mountains, as seen from my garden. From right to left Vettore, Sibilla, Priora, Castel Manardo.

There was one hill, which name I didn’t know and I couldn’t ask around because nobody knew it. I was so curious about it and I kept wondering what was the view from its top, what was on other side. That was a time when we had no Google Maps, Open Street maps, GPS or similar stuff – you knew things only if somebody you trusted told you. No way to know that mountain’s name. 

Somehow along the way that boy went to live in France and then Vilnius. His curiosity about the world around him could only grow with the change of his surroundings.

But why then discover the Baltics?

The mosaic of the Baltic countries is rather unique. Digging a little bit in history it’s so easy to lose track of all the different cultures that inhabited the Baltic region – in different historical periods, alternating peace and war but still, all of them, leaving tracks behind them. Invasions, adventures and tragedies of humankind – all of this took place in this part of the world, the corridor between Europe and Asia, close to the steppes but also close to the European centers of power.

discover the baltics
Bradeliškių Hillfort, one of the impressive remains of the Ancient Lithuanians. Those hillforts are part of a track around Dukstos.

Imagining how so many different cultures, languages and religions originated from the dawn of Europe and lived so close together for so many centuries can leave you simply breathless. 

Archaeology and history while hiking. 

I always loved to discover new places, rediscover the old ones. To me it’s like finding stories hidden under the dust. Once I arrived here, I was surprised how many of those stories are there, covered just with a little bit of soil (literally) and ready to be discovered. Of course I had my challenges. One of them was learning this unique language, Lithuanian, which did require patience. However, I was very much motivated to do my hikes by this amazing feeling that you have when you are doing something nobody has ever done before. Surely I wasn’t the first one to go to all these places, but sometimes it felt so.

This blog is an account of my walks, explorations while I discover the Baltics. I will be combining my passion for sightseeing with my other passions for archaeology and history to tell the stories about my trips. I invite you to follow me in discovering this incredible region.

PS. Thanks to the Openstreet era we’re living in, I now know that mountain’s name (the mysterious one from my childhood). It’s Monte S. Pietro, a sedimentary hill not higher than 1000 meters. I still haven’t checked the view from its top but, you can bet, it’s on my “to hike” list!