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WH Travellers meeting in Vilnius

During the weekend of 27 & 28 August, the lovely Lithuanian capital of Vilnius was the venue of this year’s WH Travellers meeting. The location provided ample possibilities for sidetrips to the Lithuanian coast (for Curonian Spit), the other Baltic States and Belarus. We were 15 travellers from 8 countries, including for the first time someone that flew in from outside of Europe (Hi Kelly!). There were even spouses present from 2 further countries, plus 3 tiny globetrotters.

A captive audience at the Trakai courtyard

On Saturday we did a customized day tour by minibus, stopping at Trakai TWHS, Kernavé WHS, the geographical centre of Europe at Purnuskes and finally one location of the Struve Geodetic Arc WHS. We had to share Trakai with the tourist masses, but from then on fortunately it got more and more quiet and remote. The visitor experience at Kernavé was a surprise with no less than 2 new museums. One of them is Open Air, and the timber building style of the huts gave us the idea for a new Connection called No Nails. And we were all awarded with a certificate that we visited “a” geographical centre of Europe.

Our guide for the day Agnes did well in sticking to the programme, time schedule and answering odd questions about Lithuania. We ended late afternoon at the Struve site ‘Meschkanzi’ with celebratory drinks. Beforehand the tour company had suggested to me doing the itinerary in the reverse order, ending at the more impressive Trakai. But I was adamant that for our group of travellers a Struve location was the icing on the cake. I’ll leave it to Nan to write up a review of this WHS (his 300th), but I can disclose that he could not stop laughing when he saw it.

A highlight for many: Struve location #023

On Sunday morning, we finished it all off with a leisurely guided walk through Vilnius. The sizeable German-speaking WH travel contingent was present again, despite a late beer tasting session the night before. A few others had to catch early flights, but we welcomed Clyde as a new participant in our midst.

An occasion like this of course also is meant to exchange travel ideas and ‘learn from each other’. Had we always considered Iain’s self-imposed rule about ticking WHS only after they are included in the List as overly strict, his pure focus on stringing together WHS without ‘waisting’ time on TWHS now suddenly seems very efficient. Wojtek made a good case about Kazan, gateway to the Kazan Kremlin and Bolgar but also very close to next year’s Russian hopeful Sviyazhsk. It now has made at least my list of travel plans for the near future.

Strolling through Old Vilnius

So will there be another meeting next year? I guess so, if we manage to find a destination that is attractive to both seasoned and developing WH travellers. We would like to get into a difficult-to-access site, use the group leverage to make things happen that are off-limits for the individual. Gorham’s Cave has been mentioned. St. Kilda also has supporters. I am open to ideas, and especially to people with the right connections to make it happen. P.S.: Thanks to Hubert, group photos can be found here.

Els - 31 August 2016

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Wojtek 2 September 2016

It was a pleasure to be there. Thank you Els for organizing the meeting and all the participants for interesting talks.

vantcj1 1 September 2016

Great to know that you all had such a great time together! I hope to be able to be with you all on another occasion.

Kind regards and good WH travels!

nan 1 September 2016

>> write up a review of this WH


Not sure if this counts as review.

>> [H]is pure focus on stringing together WHS without ‘wasting’ time on TWHS now suddenly seems very efficient

Agreed. Seeing how many TWHS I visited and how few get actually inscribed.

>> WHS #300 -- at Struve Geodetic Arc, no less!

Not a coincidence. I had gone to Chrstianfeld before to get to 300 during our meeting. And Struve is such an iconic site.

clyde 31 August 2016

I think you can add the Silk Road to the No nails connection. I recall that the Xian Drum Tower and some structures at the Xian City Walls are also built without the use of nails

Colvin 31 August 2016

Sounds like you all had a great time, and I hope everything works out to continue these get-togethers in future years. Congratulations to Nan on WHS #300 -- at Struve Geodetic Arc, no less!