Monday, May 27, 2013

Varnikai botanical cognitive trail, Lithuania

Monday, May 27, 2013
It's pretty difficult to start writing anything smart about nature. We all know that nature is beautiful. We all agree that being in nature has a positive effect on one's health. We go to nature when we want to have a break from the city.  However, it's difficult to convince people to have a day trip in nature because what's so interesting in watching rocks and grass? No, seriously? Lithuania doesn't have extreme nature. Our longest river is 475 km, our highest hill is 293,84 m, a third of territory is covered in forests. However, the variety of the landscape compensates the lack of extremes. Many protected nature spots now offer cognitive walks to get to know our nature: wildlife, plants, mushroom, bugs...The main problem is how to access them because some can be reached by car only.

Trakai island castle.

I am glad to give some recognition to a trail in nature near one of our tourist hotspots -the Trakai island castle- in Trakai, which is located about 28 km away from the capital city Vilnius. Trakai is worldwide famous for their XVth century castle, but those who don't take a good look around miss out on many beautiful sights. The only drawback is that this trail isn't signposted properly. In this protected area there are 16 plants enlisted into our Red book, 118 kinds of moss (4 protected, 3 newly discovered), 15 species of protected insects, etc.

This is so far a major headache for trekkers. Where do those arrows lead to?

Fly eater plants and berries. 
You can bring your own picnic. 

Beauty and convenience combined. 
The photos above are from my hike last year. Since the core information stays the same, I decided to experiment with my camera.

You can pick up a copy of the map at Trakai tourist information centre . The hike itself takes about 3 hours, so you will have plenty of time to explore the rest of the town if you arrive early. There are buses and trains from Vilnius that arrive in 30-45 min. time and are really affordable. More photos of nature can be viewed here on my Lithuanian blog post about this hike, but photos don't need translation, I suppose.

P.S. bring a mosquito repellent, you might need it. :-)

Have you ever been on such a hike?

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