On our second day in Lithuania we went on a day trip to Šiauliai to visit the Hill of Crosses. I'm not a religious person but I was fascinated by this small hill in the middle of the Lithuanian countryside where over 100,000 crosses have been planted. Whilst the site was originally used to signify Catholicism in the country it has more recently became a tribute to hope when the country was occupied by the Soviets at the end of last century. Walking around the area you can feel the sense of love and respect the Lithuanian people had for each other during these hard times. If you ever visit the Lithuania I highly recommend taking a day trip to this area, it doesn't take long to walk around and for a country that was ravaged by the Nazi and Soviet regimes (it was destroyed in 1961 and 1975) it is an incredible testament to the people's beliefs that it is still standing today, stronger than ever.
We caught the bus from Kaunas to Šiauliai which took about 3 hours. We pre-booked our tickets online and it cost about €9 per person for a single journey. You can book from the Lithuania national bus service website. The bus leaves from Kaunas bus station which is just around the corner from the train station and drops off at the main bus station in Šiauliai which is also next to the train station.
The Hill of Crosses is 10km north of the city so once in Šiauliai we walked up to the tourist office and asked them to book us a taxi to the Hill of Crosses and back including a 30min stop. This cost a total of 50 Lt and for us half an hour was plenty of time but you can pay 60 Lt to spend an hour.
The taxi dropped us off at the bus station where we caught a bus to Vilnius. We had to pay on board this time which cost about €14 per person and took around 3.5 hours. The bus stopped at the main bus station which is a few minutes walk from the Southern gate of the old town.
The buses were never full so you don't have to pre-book but if you want to save a little money it's definitely worth doing. Student tickets are available but drivers can be fussy about what they think is acceptable or not. Steve has his NUS card declined at one stage because it didn't look exactly the same as the pictures in the Driver's student card book.
Before catching the bus to Vilnius we popped into the Finnish burger chain Hesburger to grab a quick bite before our 3 hour journey. It wouldn't be me to try out this Baltic burger chain and I'm glad I did because the double cheese burger, despite being incredibly small albeit cheap, was pretty tasty. We saw the chain in every city we visited on this trip but I'm glad to say we only tried it the once.