Baroque week in Lithuania

authors: Anna Dubnová, Simona Špádová

In the week from September 29 to October 6, students of František Palacký’s Gymnasium visited the town of Šilalė in Lithuania within the Erasmus+ project ‘Waking up in Baroque’. It was focused on various topics from the Baroque period.

After we had arrived in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, we had an opportunity to spend almost 2 days sightseeing and experiencing its exciting atmosphere.

On Sunday afternoon, our Czech group arrived in the town of Šilalė, which is approx. 300 km away from Vilniu. Students and teachers from the local gymnasium (Šilalės Simono Gaudėšiaus gimnazija) were waiting for us and took care of us. They often made their beds just for us and slept on a couch.

The main part of the programme started on Monday at the school, where the reception by the headmaster and intro speech took place. The Lithuanians, as the hosts, prepared a programme for us with an original touch of the Baroque atmosphere.

During the week, we got involved in lots of activities like producing Baroque tiles from ceramic or making men’s and women’s wigs from untraditional materials – cotton wool, chemlon, newspaper… We have also tried a traditional Lithuanian craft – straw art.

The Lithuanian students prepared an evening with dance performance on ‘Four Seasons’ by Vivaldi, during which they recited Lithuanian poems, accompanied by Baroque live music.

Besides that, we also went to see the Curonian Split, including the Hill of Witches, the herons and cormorants colony near Juodkrantė and the Thomas Mann Museum. In addition, we travelled around the district of Šilalė – we visited the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the Aukštojas Hill with a height that almost equals the highest top of Lithuania (293 m), a local ski slope (which is just 100m long – and that means a lot for the Lithuanians!) and the oldest Lithuanian museum located in tree trunks.

We had a cultural programme in the last joint evening with a degustation of traditional food and Lithuanian national dances and games show. We all have taken part in it and given a try to all the activities with other students.

On the last day, we went on a trip to a bird ringing station and then we had free time in Klaipėda, a town 80km away from Šilalė. We have also celebrated the Teachers’ Day (October 5th in Lithuania). The lessons were leaded by students and furthermore, one student also took the post of headmaster.

We enjoyed the entire week and were going back with a plenty of unforgettable impressions, new friendships and with a promise of continuing with this interesting international project, which will take place at our gymnasium from March 31 to April 6, 2019.