By Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - The resort town of Anyksciai is situated some 110 kilometers north of Vilnius. Anyksciai can offer many unusual attractions: summer sledges, wine tasting in the local wine factory and romantic train travel via the ancient narrow-gauge railway in beautiful surroundings. On July 23-25, the traditional city fiesta will be held in Anyksciai.
Anyksciai is part of the region of Aukstaitija [Highlands, in English]. The town is situated in the picturesque surroundings of hills, rivers, lakes, and forests. No wonder that these inspirational surroundings were the birthplace of four major classics of Lithuanian literature - all Lithuanian schoolchildren are obliged to study their legacy. The town’s territory is located in the protected area of the Anyksciai Regional Park. The area is worth exploring on foot, on bicycle or on horse (the phone for renting a horse: +370 618 84810 – there is even the Museum of Horses near Anyksciai). Information about the most interesting routes can be obtained in the Anyksciai Tourism Information Center on Geguzes Street 1.
The city’s fiesta will start at 10:00 on July 23 in the center of Anyksciai, with a process of creation of carpets of flowers. They will not be as huge as the flower carpet on the Grand Place in Brussels, but it is really worth seeing that process of creativity on that day, until 20:00. The creator of the best carpet will be announced the next day at 11:00 in Baranauskas Square, when the fiesta will be announced to be officially open. Starting from 9:00 on July 24, the town will be occupied with the fair of traditional crafts. At 20:00, the recreation of a medieval battle will be staged in the town’s park. On July 25, at 12:00, the Mass will start in the local church to celebrate St. Ann’s feast, which is an important religious holiday in the town. The town’s fiesta will include numerous outdoor concerts and their schedule can be obtained in the local tourism information center.
It is worth visiting Anyksciai at any time - the variety of attractions there is huge. The summer sledges, which last year was constructed by a German company on Kalitos Hill, became the top entertainment in Lithuania. The length of the summer sledge route is 380 meters. The difference between the highest and the lowest points of the route is 40 meters. The speed reached is 40 kilometers per hour. It costs just five litas (1.45 euros) to go that route once, while 10 trips cost 35 litas. The attraction is situated at Kalno Street 25. Phone number: +370 381 78144; e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org ; the map of the hill’s location can be found on the Web site www.kalitoskalnas.lt
Anyksciai is also famous for its wine. In 1926, businessman Balys Karazija established his winery there. Anyksciai wine is made of fruits and berries. There were persistent rumors during the Soviet-era that Queen Elizabeth II of England got Anyksciai wine for her dinner table. The source and reliability of such gossip remains unknown. The gossip was rather weird because, during the Soviet rule, Anyksciai wine’s quality dropped and only alcoholics were buying it then in Lithuania.
Currently the wine’s quality is good for those who like wines of fruit and berries. Now the company also produces some stronger spirits, like Bobeline, which is named for the author of its recipe, former Christian Democrat MP Kazys Bobelis, who spent most of his life as a physician and surgeon in the United States. The guided visits and tasting of wine in the winery Anyksciu Vynas can be booked via the following phone number: +370 381 5 0313 or via e-mail email@example.com
It is also worth visiting the Anyksciai railway station (its phone number: +370 381 54597).
An old locomotive, made by the Skoda factory in 1949, stands there. It is possible to travel via the narrow-gauge railway (“Siaurukas” in Lithuanian) by a not very speedy train for a romantic trip, from Anyksciai to the big Rubikiu Lake, which has 16 islands and various water-sport attractions. The train’s first class carriages have tables and are quite comfortable. For some extra money the tasting of Anyksciai wine, the accordion-playing musicians and even the performance of a bandit attack on that train can be ordered – more info on www.siaurukas.eu