|The gravestone of a learned Jewish man|
|Running in the rain towards the wall|
We accessed the Jewish cemetery, which was mostly an overgrown field, by walking through its neighboring Russian Orthodox cemetery in the down pouring rain.
|The wall of broken tombstones|
We huddled under rain ponchos and umbrellas behind a wall plastered on both side with fragments of Jewish gravestones that appeared to have been harvested from the ground and combined into one massive memorial. The Jewish section also contained a memorial to the Holocaust victims but there were no post-war graves.
|Jonathan quietly thinking "I could climb this."|
Now it was time for a brief lunch break and an exchange of currency. We learned that ATMs dispense large bills that restaurant cashiers are not able to break. They demonstrated remarkable patience as many students placed their orders and walked outside in search of smaller bills.
|The beautiful bend|
Our day concluded with a drive into Kaunus, the former capital of Lithuania that contains many tall and nice buildings. After settling into our hostel, we embarked on a short walk to Old Town. In the city’s main square, which is home to many old churches, we learned town’s historical significance before our group dinner. This was our introduction to the Lithuanian cuisine, which included a main course of a chicken breast stuffed with a grilled plum, vegetables, and for dessert a delicious vanilla ice cream with a raspberry topping.
This very long day included beautiful scenery, two cemeteries, ruins, a solemn mass grave site, and the big city of Kaunus. We slept well in preparation for the next day’s full tour of the city.