Today we journeyed northeast by way of Bialystok towards Augustow and Suwalki and then our final destination was Vilnius.
We travelled through the forest where the infamous Treblenka Concentration extermination camp was built by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II. It was located in a forest north-east of Warsaw in what is now the Masovian Voivodeship. It is estimated that between 700,000 and 900,000 Jews were killed in its gas chambers, along with 2,000 Romani people. More Jews were killed at Treblinka than at any other Nazi extermination camp apart from Auschwitz. There is only a memorial and the old train tracks remaining. We stopped at Bialystok for morning tea and the headed for Augustow Kanal where we had a few hours free time. The Kanal is over 100 kilometers in length. The reason for the construction of the Kanal was Prussian customs restrictions that prevented the transport of Polish goods down the Vistula to Gdansk. Pete and I walked along the Kanal and found a lovely spot to have our lunch. There was also a monument shaped like a chair and stone commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II in Augustów in 1999.
We continued on our coach and reached the biggest of the three Baltic states, Lithuania. We stayed at the Grata Hotel in Vilnius. After dinner Sandy, Martin, Dolly, Pete and I walked into Old Town.
The Old Town area was rich in variety of architectural styles. Gothic, renaissance, baroque, classicism and a bit of modernism coalesce into one spectacular architectural ensemble. The most impressive building was the Vilnius Cathedral and its Tower of classicism style located in Cathedral Square. The recently rebuilt Royal Palace of Lithuania is spectacular and Gediminas castle erected on the Castle (Pilies, lit.) hill, is an outstanding monument.