secret luxury eco-resort in Lithuania


less than an hour's drive west from the capital, vilnius

deep in the Lithuanian woods (30% of country is forested)

suddenly, an unexpected and incongruous word, did we wormhole into canada?

in fact, the owner, who fell in love with Le Château Montebello in Quebec, imported Canadian cedar to build the resort

surrounded by 11 hectares of pristine forest, silence speaks here

all the rooms overlook Lake Ungurys

the villas replete with full kitchens, and private butlers

fine china in a log cabin, of sorts

a divine plan unfolds

wine cellar: 3865 bottles from 18 countries; largest collection of champagne in Baltics

downstairs, one of the largest game rooms in resort history

including a bowling alley

then there is the spa

not your mother's spa. it features a vitamin D lamp, a collagen lamp, infrared chairs, a binaural beats water bed, a libra horizontal shower, and a hot sand bed...

and the cloud 9 treatment, one of six in world. float in the cloud and hear colors and see sound.

they say 20 minutes replaces 2 hours of deep sleep. I drifted off for 2 hours; now I have insomnia, but of a pleasant variety.

the resort is just 16 kilometers from Lake Galvė

upon which lords Trakai Island Castle, once the home of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

inside, dial back to the 15th century.

will you live, or will you die?

Trakai is also home to a surviving community of Karaims, 60 of about 2500 in world

Karaims are Turkic-speaking adherents of Karaite Judaism, who fled Crimea 600 years ago

the owner of adjacent Kybynlar restaurant is a Karaim

and his eatery features kibinai, traditional pastries filled with meat and onion

washed down with Karaimu trauktine, a potent secret-ingredient Karaim bitter

and if there is time, drive to Kaunas, once home to 40,000 Jews and 35 synagogues. now it is an art, cultural. and remembrance center.

then back to esperanza for dinner

how sweet it is...

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