Tuesday 8 July 2014
Labas rytas (good morning), Marijampole. A warm, slightly muggy, tropical morning in south Lithuania. The town square next to Mercure hotel is new, fresh, open and pleasant. I woke up at early and went outside in the morning sunshine for a morning run. I tried to follow Sesupe River upstream or south. First everything was new, then I came to a dam wall with a building on the city side. Cracked concrete, asbestos sheets, blocked windows. I think the words cracked concrete can be used to summarise the former East Bloc. The Communist East lasted as long as the concrete, or one generation. I crossed the dam wall, ran up a street with cracked concrete, up to a series of concrete apartment blocks with cracked concrete. Later on I came to some memorial with Hebrew writing, slightly overgrown down by the river.
Overgrown tracks, a crcked concrete wall and rubble and cracked concrete buildings behind, probably from old military barracks. The footpaths are cracked, overgrown and it’s a culture – or ideology - that has ceased to be and walked out through the back door of history. Maybe the same is happening in Sweden? The million apartment housing programme badly needs to be restord, streets cracking, shops disappearing, trains not working well, and new mega malls are being built. A constant leaving of ruins and rubble piles behind, be it communist or the market economy that was – before the new global market economy.
While driving through Poland and Lithuania it was still obvious that the small towns still kept on going. I wonder though, ir ideologies are as short lived as the cracking communist concrete? Leninism, Stalinism, the Swedish ”folkhemmet”, all abandoned and left among other cracked ideologies. The global market economy, held together by the internet web, is that just another fad?
I only know that I have enjoyed this road trip through Europe, from Bratislava in Slovakia, right on the Austria / Hungary border, up through Poland and now in Lithuania.
On the train from Kaunas to Vilnius now. Next to the Zasliai train station a couple of goats are enjoying the greenery along the tracks. The signal before the announcements of stations is in the form of two tones from a church bell or deep, old, grandmother’s clock in a giant ballroom with deer antlers above every doorway.
It was terrific seeing Vilnius again. It’s such a lovely city and I understand Anders now when he’s saying that he could live here. A hot 30 degrees the whole day, but a short shower with very big drops falling, making me take shelter by the Town Square in Vilnius Old Town.
Back to Kaunas and a late evening walk to the enormous Akropolis shopping mall to buy some food. Simon had spent the day in Kaunas working, Emelie and Robert were back and Anders was still in Vilnius. My legs were tired and I was astounded at all the very attractive women in Vilnius and Kaunas. They look friendly, natural and good hearted and very few sport strange hair cuts or tattoos. I think I’ll stay here instead of continuing the tour north.