Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Vilnius, Lithuania - Day 61: Biking to the Green lakes

Vilnius has a vast network of bike lanes and car-free parks that make it an ideal city to explore on a bicycle.

After having traveled through the better part of Eastern Europe, I now know that a city that has dedicated bike lanes and biker friendly roads speaks volumes of its respect for the environment. It is also indicative of a certain lifestyle - chances are that the locals do not suffer from obesity, spend a lot of time in the outdoors and live a simpler life. A biker for example will only buy provisions sufficient for tonight's meal which can fit in his bike basket. Compare this to an average American who needs all the space in his SUV to transport his monthly supply of groceries from COSTCO. I don't want to make this an essay about the benefits of non-polluting vehicles, but suffice to say that I hope this current global financial crisis gets people to rethink the cost efficiencies and health benefits of riding a bike to work, school or the local grocery store. We spent all of today biking nearly 40 kms around Vilnius' main park and then to the beautiful Green Lakes nestled in the thick forests of Verikai Regional Park.

There was a certain energy that filled the air as we approached the lakes - echoes of children laughing as they jumped into the water rang through the trees and suddenly the forest cleared up and the sun lit up the clearest green waters I have ever seen.

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