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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Palanga and a Palace

It has been such a crazy week and I never got to tell you about last weekend!
Last Friday we got on a bus and drove four hours to the small beach town of Palanga. The first thing when we got there (no, it wasn’t go to the beach) was go to a small brewery. A woman (she might have been a brew master but I am not sure) who works there is a former graduate of ISM so we got a tour of the brewery. I couldn’t help but compare it to the tour of the Budweiser plant back in Fort Collins because it was very different. When we first got there we sat down at the restaurant and they gave us different beers to sample along with this fried cheesy bread that is one of their specialties. They also gave us this drink that was pretty much bread soda. We found out later that when they make it they let it ferment for only two days as opposed to three weeks so essentially it is beer that is weak enough for even children and pregnant women to drink. I did not like it though because it was very sweet tasting. So they gave us a tour of part of the plant, which in comparison to Budweiser is very, very small. Although it was small it was very interesting to hear the business side of it. The tour guide told us that in the peak season they will brew two tons of beer each day. The most amazing thing is that they don’t bottle it and sell it in stores. Pretty much all the beer that they brew is sold in their restaurant. That goes to show just how popular this place is, and let me tell you why. It is not just a brewery; it’s like a small scale amusement park as well. They have a huge adventure course that you can do along with tons of shopping. I opted out of going on the adventure course (not really my thing) but had fun watching my friends do it.

After the tour and lunch at the restaurant on site we went to our hotel which was only a couple blocks from the main strip. We walked down the strip that is loaded with street vendors and at the end of the strip the street turns into a pier that goes out into the Baltic Sea. It was cold and windy but it was very beautiful. We didn’t do much of anything the whole weekend besides lie out on the beach, shop, and sleep (partially because most of us girls were starting to get colds). I loved the beach though. I have never been to that sort of beach before and just loved how soft the sand was. Sunday morning was the best, it was cold and windy still but that just made the waves even bigger and more beautiful.

After our relaxing weekend we had to go back to our last week of classes. In between classes and studying on Tuesday we went to the Duke’s Palace. This palace is under renovation and is not open to the public for tours but an Uncle of one of the students that is in the Summer University program is on the renovation committee and got us a tour. We found out that the building standing now is not actually on original structure but is modeled after a palace that stood there in the sixteenth century but was completely demolished. After I think they said twenty years of research and excavation and another ten years of building they hope to have part of the palace open next year.
In the cellars they do have some original brick walls as you can see in the picture along with a well that dates back to something like the thirteenth century. The two things that I liked best were the furnaces and the tower. The furnaces were very decorative (as you can see in the picture) and were different in every room. In the top of the tower you could see over much of Vilnius. I think that Vilnius is beautiful from the street view but from up above it is even better.

I hope that someday in the future I can come back to see the completed palace because from the looks of it, it is going to be an amazing place.

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