Laisvės Alėja (Freedom Avenue)

Memories of (the mother of) Laima Jarašūnienė about Kaunas: The brightest memory about Kaunas from the childhood. It was a day, when I came to Kaunas with my friend. I remember like it has happened today. It was the last day of summer in 1991. My friend Inga and I, we came from our little town Vėriškiai to spend some time in Kaunas. We spent that day in Laisvės Alėja. It has probably remained as a popular place in Kaunas as it was in those times. So, we were walking in Laisvės Alėja eating ice cream and two guys followed us all this time. Only at the end of the avenue they plucked up the courage to approach us. They were soldiers living in some barracks that back then still existed in Kaunas. They were allowed to spend some time in Kaunas and they were of course dressed as civilians. We talked to them. We did not exchange numbers, because at that time there were only numbers for landlines people had at home available, and you could not distribute it to everyone in Laisvės Alėja. It seemed different from what it does today. There was also a big convenience store called Merkurijus where we went with my friend to buy some ice cream. I don't even know what is currently standing in that place: maybe nothing remains, just a construction site surrounded by a fence. Of course, back in those times, there were no MAXIMAs and IKIs, just small stores. Well, I could not say that Kaunas would be very different from what it was when I was sixteen. By the way, in Kaunas of that time, I remember Laisvės Alėja very well. I think that everything is the same. And the fountain is in the same place. I have a picture, where I stand in front of it. Of course, we would go to Kaunas often with friends. There were no shops in the village, so going to Kaunas was very entertaining. I would always wait until I can go there. There were other cities not so far away: Panevėžys or Šiauliai but I wanted to go to Kaunas the most. So, it’s really good not to live so far away. You can go there any time you want. When I arrived at Kaunas, I would always go to Laisvės Alėja. We would also go to the Zoo, if I arrived there with my nephews. Most of often, with your cousins, Julius and Marius. They loved the zoo very much. And now I go to Kaunas to do some shopping or watch some movie. (Akvilė, 2018)