Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


WHAT WITH recent executive hawking of an apparel brand tweeted and then promoted by an alternative-facted underling, I thought that perhaps my ancestral homeland might likewise profit from similar hype: that jewel in the crown of Northern Europe, that pine-festooned paradise on the Baltic, that vacationers’ wonderland, Lithuania!

Wouldn’t you know, according to BBC News, February 10, 2017, somebody beat me to it. Jurgita Kazlauskiene, Lithuania’s tourist chief, stepped down, er.., make that tripped over the country’s recent “Real is Beautiful” campaign promoting tourism.

The problem, like others I might mention, is that the facts were alternative. Several of the images shared on social media weren’t actually Lithuania, they were of Finland and Slovakia. The initial doublespeak, brief though it was, said the non-Lithuanian pics were there merely to “communicate emotion.”

They sure communicated something. BBC News reports that “Local Facebook users have seen the funny side, with many posting shots of international landmarks, captioned as Lithuanian, with the hashtag #realisbeautiful.”

Even Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis joined in: He shared a photo of the EU Commission’s Berlaymont building in Brussels with the caption, “From tomorrow, we start working in the new government building in Karoliniskes.” Karoliniskes is a suburb in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.


This is not a Lithuanian national building; it’s the European Commission’s Brussels Berlaymont headquarters. Photo by Andersen Pecorone.

As an entertainment for SimanaitisSays readers, here is a collection of world photos for #realisbeautiful. Some of the captions are facts; others are merely alternative. Enjoy the tour.


Above: Sailing on the Galvė at Trakai. Below: The Danube wends its way through Budapest. Source for these and three of the following: Tour the World.


Actually, both of these are genuine Lithuanian locales, as depicted in “Touring To Lithuania (Fun).”

Trakai was a Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 17 miles west of the country’s capital, Vilnius. The website suggests, “Those who come to Trakai … must taste Kibinai. These are Lithuanian pastries, typically filled with mutton and onion.


Kibinai, the Lithuanian analog of Cornish pasties. Image by Zorro2212.

The second scene is not Budapest’s Danube, it’s the Vilnia wending its way through Vilnius. This city has been recognized as the capital of Lithuania since 1323.


Above: The French Riviera, near Juan-Les-Pins. Photo by A. Varanka. Below, the emerald beauty of Ireland.

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This is not the French Riviera; it’s the Lithuanian Riviera, sort of: The Curonian Spit is a 60-mile thread separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic in southwestern Lithuania.

The emerald beauty isn’t Ireland; it’s Kernavė, 22 miles northwest of Vilnius. Archeological evidence suggests this might have been Lithuania’s capital before Trakai or Vilnius. Kernavė shows signs of a medieval settlement dating back to the 1100s.


Above: The Hill of Crosses, near Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania. Below, Watson Lake, British Columbia, Canada.


The Lithuanian Hill of Crosses is for real. Indeed, given that Lithuanians were among the last in Europe to cease worshipping trees, it isn’t surprising that this pilgrimage site is relatively recent: It’s believed the first crosses were placed there after the Lithuanian Revolt of 1831.

The other photo has an even more recent history. Indeed, it is the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The first sign was erected there in 1942 by a homesick U.S. soldier involved with the construction of the AlCan Highway. I traveled there in 2007 when I co-drove a Toyota FCHV fuel-cell vehicle from Fairbanks to Vancouver.


A Toyota FCHV fuel-cell vehicle and me on our 2300-mile adventure on the Alaska Highway.

Safe and fact-filled travels to you too. And, remember, #realisbeautiful. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Frank Barrett
    February 11, 2017


    Are (or were) there any car makers in Lithuania? Any famous drivers (besides Vic Skirmants) from there? Any race tracks? The Grand Prix of Lithuania could be a fun topic for April 1st!

  2. Michael Rubin
    February 11, 2017

    I only ask that the Grand Prix of Lithuania isn’t scheduled the same weekend as the F1 race in Finland.

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