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TAILOR-MADE TOURS
FROM THE BALTIC TO THE BLACK SEA
Itinerary for Between Shades of Gray School & College Tours

'Between Shades of Gray' School / College Tours

Baltic Holidays are delighted to be the official organiser of the Between Shades of Gray Schools’ Tour of Lithuania.

Between Shades of Gray is an incredibly moving, historical novel based on true events. Set in 1941, this haunting story, inspired by first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors, tells the story of 15 year old Lina, who is hauled from her home in the middle of night by Soviet guards with her mother and brother, and taken to Siberia.

This critically acclaimed novel now appears on the curriculum of schools throughout the USA and is a firm favourite of book clubs all over the world.

Between Shades of Gray provides a great introduction to the history of that period. Now your students can experience and learn first-hand, the history of Lithuania with our fascinating and in-depth Between Shades of Gray Schools’ Tour.

Their learning will be brought to life by visiting the places where all this happened, meeting the people and understanding how modern life today could have been very different.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to support your student’s classroom learning.

SO WHAT EXACTLY WILL WE SEE AND DO? Here is a sample itinerary: Between Shades of Gray Schools’ Tour:
 

DAY 1: Arrival to Vilnius airport. Welcome transfer to your hotel in Vilnius old town.

Accommodation in Vilnius old town hotel in a mix of single, twin & triple rooms to suit your group.
 

DAY 2: Vilnius walking tour & Parliament tour

Your guide will meet you after breakfast at the hotel and take you for a walking tour of Vilnius. See modern day free Lithuania, beautiful and cultural, educated and prosperous. Visit the Lithuanian Parliament for a Democracy, Independence & Freedom tour. See the walls that were put up by the people to protect the parliament from the Russian tanks in 1991; now a memorial wall to freedom. Meet with an MP to talk about modern Lithuania and how the country got their independence from USSR in 1991. Discuss modern politics and enjoy a general introduction to the country and history.

Accommodation the same as previous night.

DAY 3: Vilnius to Kaunas, via Rumsiskes ethnographic museum & Ninth Fort former prison camp

Our guide will pick you up from the hotel with suitable transportation depending on your group size.

AM: Visit ‘Rumsiskes’ the Lithuanian open-air ethnographic museum, a wonderful introduction to the culture, traditions and history of Lithuania. Explore the Laptev sea deportation exhibition – a cattle truck, memorials and a yurt from Siberia, which is what people built as their ‘homes’ in the labour camps.  It was here that Ruta met Irena, the inspiration for the character of Lina in the book, and she told her the story of how her family had been deported to Siberia. It may be possible for some groups to meet Irena.

PM: Visit to Lithuania’s second city of Kaunas. Learn about the stark realities of Lithuania’s recent history at the chilling Ninth Fort former prison camp – torture, interrogation and execution – building up the fear for all locals that they could be next. This will be followed by a tour of Kaunas old town. Accommodation is in Kaunas city centre hotel.

DAY 4: Kaunas to Zemaitija via the Hill of Crosses & Cold War Museum 

Leave Kaunas and city life behind and travel up to the traditional region of Zemaitija. Students will visit the iconic Hill of Crosses. This pilgrimage site was bulldozed several times by the Soviets but always reappeared with Lithuanians bringing crosses to the site. The hundreds of thousands of crosses makes for an impressive site and is symbolic of this nation’s strength, hope and resilience. This will be followed by a tour of the fascinating Cold War museum and former missile base at Plokstine. Built in secret during the night by the Soviets, this is where the Cuban missile crisis missiles were pointed at the UK and other European cities. Students will learn about life in Soviet times and get a sense of the constant threat and fear felt by citizens from all walks of life.

Accommodation will be at rural accommodation with the opportunity to enjoy a traditional sauna or steam bath.

DAY 5: Kaunas local school/college get together

Return to Kaunas and have a day with our partner school/college meeting possible pen-pals that have been established during the school year. Accommodation in Kaunas city centre hotel.

 

DAY 6: Kaunas to Vilnius via Sabonis Basketball School & Trakai Castle

Visit the Sabonis Basketball School in Kaunas, a great experience! Visit to Trakai Castle, one of the most attractive and popular sights in Lithuania. Accommodation in Vilnius old town hotel.

DAY 7: Vilnius

Free day in Vilnius. Time to do some sightseeing, visit museums or galleries and buy some souvenirs. There may be additional opportunities to meet with volunteers from the charity ‘Mission Siberia’ who maintain the graves of Lithuanians in Siberia, or with Zilvinas Naujokas of Tauras Films and producer of ‘Ashes in the Snow’. Accommodation at the same hotel.
 

DAY 8: End of the tour

Transfer to Vilnius airport for your flight home.

 

Here is a great video by Montgomery Bell Academy of their Between Shades of Gray Trip 2015 to give you a taster:

 


"Reading Between Shades of Gray opened our minds to the truth about the Soviet deportations to Siberia during and after World War II.  Experiencing Lithuania today, we see the enduring spirit of a people who lived through the harsh realities of Nazi and Soviet occupation.  The BSOG Tour is a perfect marriage between the historical accounts of Ruta Sepetys’ novel and real places and faces that witnessed the bitter truth of life under Communism." Emmett Russell, teacher of English at Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville, Tennessee

Overview

VISIT some of the locations that inspired the book.
DISCOVER the culture and traditions of the Lithuanian people, past and present.
EXPLORE a former prison camp and uncover the stark realities faced by prisoners.
UNCOVER the truth about what life was really like during Soviet times.
FEEL the fear under which everyone lived.
EXPERIENCE real relics from these dark days, leaving nothing to the imagination as to how horrific the conditions actually were.
COMPARE the past and the present. Understand how modern Lithuania could have turned out very differently.
REMEMBER AND HONOUR the casualties and lost relatives from the atrocities.
REALISE that we can all learn from these historical events and ensure that these mistakes are not repeated.

CONTACT Linas or Sally at info@balticholidays.com for more information.

Notes

On days 2,3,4,5 & 6 you have our guide with you.
Lunch venues will be pre-booked at Rumsiskes, Hill of Crosses and Trakai but are payable locally (a set menu can be arranged and included in the tour if preferred).
Evening meals are left free, although reservations or set menus can be arranged.
Itinerary will be tailored to suit your group size, interests and dates.
Quotes available upon request.

 

More Reviews

THE TRIP WAS AMAZING - WE HAD A FABULOUS TIME!

Well what can I say! The trip was amazing-we had a fabulous time! Everything went like clockwork.You chose brilliantly with the accommodation. Thecottage in Palanga was perfect-we had a chance to really relax, cook together and catch up with sleep. Palanga was great to see by bicycle. The manor house in Latvia was stunning and the hosts were a beautiful, kind couple. Finally in Kaunas it was like staying at a relatives house. We felt very welcome and cared for and my children said that Jurgis and Danute reminded them of their grandparents as they felt so comfortable with them! So all in all-a huge thankyou. I have already told lots of people about our holiday and recommended your company.

LINGARD FAMILY HOLIDAY IN LITHUANIA, AUGUST 2018


THANK YOU FOR ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAYS WE HAVE EVER HAD (AND WE HAVE HAD A FEW!)

Thank you so much for putting together a top notch experience. Please can you pass on our appreciation to Jurga too. Everything went smoothly. The itinerary was spot on, there was something fantastic to see on the days we were on the move and we never felt the journeys were too long. Thank you for one of the best holidays we have ever had (and we have had a few!)

HEMSLEY GROUP, TAILOR MADE SELF-DRIVE TOUR OF THE BALTICS, MAY 2018


THE EXPERTS FOR A TAILOR MADE TRIP TO THIS FASCINATING PART OF THE WORLD

Baltic Holidays did a first class job for us from start to finish. The care and attention with which they planned the trip was outstanding. They were highly flexible to our professional photography needs. Each of the guides went beyond the call of duty in helping us and we saw some extraordinary off the beaten track events and people. They are the experts for a tailor made trip to this fascinating part of the world.

MR J STRACHAN, TAILOR-MADE PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR OF THE BALTIC STATES, JULY 2017


HATS OFF TO BALTIC HOLIDAYS. YOU GAVE US A TRIP OF A LIFETIME.

Our trip was superb, Philip. As you well know, before the trip I customized it quite a bit. Your team was terrific in accommodating that customization. The result was a unique and spectacular trip. I could go on at great length to tell you how much we enjoyed this trip but, instead, will save time by simply telling you that Denise and I have traveled quite extensively and we both agreed that this was one of our favorite trips ever. That is in large part due to your team'shard work before we landed and once we were 'in country'. The Baltics trip was the first time that we traveled on our own but used a tour company to help plan and then fully support the trip. You have now spoiled - and ruined - us. Hats off to Baltic Holidays. You gave us a trip of a lifetime.

MR & MRS SERGESKETTER, TAILOR-MADE TOUR OF THE BALTIC CAPITALS, KALININGRAD & BELARUS, JULY 2017


WE HAVE LEARNT SO MUCH ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE FIVE COUNTRIES

Dear Jurga, We arrived home safe and sound on Saturday afternoon and, now, our minds are full of wonderful memories of a very enjoyable trip. Thank you very much for organising such a comprehensive holiday for us. Everything went like clockwork: guides were excellent, erudite and solicitous and good travelling companions, excellent selection of hotels -a faultless holiday. We have learnt so much about the history of the five countries and have met many friendly and welcoming people. Once again thank you for all your work.

MR CYSTER, GRAND BALTIC PRIVATE TOUR (VILNIUS, RIGA, TALLINN, HELSINKI, ST PETERSBURG, MOSCOW), SEPTEMBER 2017


WE WILL CERTAINLY BE BOOKING THROUGH BALTIC HOLIDAYS AGAIN

We had the most wonderful holiday. It was brilliantly organised for us from start to finish. What can I say - we loved everything! It's not easy to meet the needs of 6 people ages 14 and up, but our holiday did just that. All the accommodation was wonderful... The trips were fantastic. I was a little unsure what we would get from a walking tour in Vilnius as I'd seen some of the main sights on my last visit, but it was great! The rest of our daytrips, including visits to Trakai, Hill of Crosses, and the Curonian Spit were with Linas, our lovely guide. We were so well looked after. He did everything possible give us a good experience of the country, especially when we took a day trip to the region where our family used to live, helping us to explore our connections to the area. The only problem with the trip is that it has left us so desperately wanting to return to Lithuania again - there is still so much to see and explore! It may take a little while to get back there but we will certainly be booking through Baltic Holidays again when we do. Sending best wishes to all of the lovely Baltic Holidays team, and thank you for a truly memorable holiday.

MIKALAUSKAS FAMILY, TAILOR-MADE TOUR OF LITHUANIA, AUGUST 2017


BALTIC HOLIDAYS MET EVERY NEED AND EXPECTATION!

We enjoy the ease of first-class packaged holidays but prefer traveling independently and on our own agenda with assistance as required. In this regard Baltic Holidays met every need and expectation! Once we set our desireddestinations and dates, Baltic Holidays put together the most suitable hotels, booked expert drivers, and arranged for top notch guides in each city. Everything worked like clockwork. We were able to sit back and enjoy the trip without ever worrying about transportation, payments, or hotel arrangements.

MR & MRS WHITE, TAILOR-MADE PRIVATE BALTIC CAPITALS TOUR, SEPTEMBER 2017


THE GUIDES WERE EXCEPTIONAL, THE DRIVING EXCELLENT, THE HOTELS PERFECTLY LOCATED

Sally, thank you for all the work you did to make our trip so remarkable---the guides were exceptional, the driving excellent, the hotels perfectly located and comfy and the opera seats perfect---what a trip!!---we especially liked Ben in Vilnius for his energy, willingness to answer all questions and ability to show us so much in a short time---also Inga in Riga for her flexibility, quick pace and deep knowledge of the culture and architecture--and also Aldis for his willingness to go above the expected, to share stories of his beloved Latvia, to help us understand the history of his country and the beauty of it---and Ivo for helping us understand manor life and that history, for his stories about life in Estonia, for going beyond in making sure we saw more of Tallinn on our way back---thanks for choosing everything with such care---we loved the countries.

HEIDI FIELDS GROUP OF 6 FRIENDS, BALTIC CAPITALS TAILOR-MADE TOUR, OCTOBER 2017


THE ORGANISATION WAS OUTSTANDING

We want to say how much we enjoyed the whole trip.The organisation was outstanding and everything went just as was planned.Of course being our first visit, everything we saw was a completely new experienceso we have many happy memories to look back on, with each capital city quite different to the other two, as we found when going to Riga from Vilnius and then to Tallin. Tartu was a charming little town too and we were glad we included a cross-country trip. The hotels were excellent and overall there is nothing at all we could suggest needed improvement. We are so glad and grateful that we were finally able to make the trip after the disappointment in April. Our sincere thanks to everyone who was involved in providing us with a truly memorable experience.

BRIAN & SUE HOLLEY, NEW ZEALAND, SEPTEMBER 2017


BESPOKE BALTIC TOUR - 'THE TRIP WAS EXCELLENT!'

The trip was excellent. All your arrangements worked like clockwork, and we were well spoiled. The guides were all delightful in their own different ways, especially Linas and Aldis. I was relatively surprised to find how modern looking, clean and civilised all the States were— and the roads are a damned sight better than ours. People everywhere were delightful. Altogether a great trip, for which many thanks. Keeping three well travelled old guys happy is not an easy task.

THREE WELL TRAVELLED OLD GUYS, BALTIC TAILOR-MADE TOUR, JUNE 2018


THE GUIDES WE HAD WERE EXCEPTIONAL!

The guides we had were exceptional!Kertu - told us so much about living in Communist times and brought the whole city to life. Inga,in Riga, really knows about architecture as she is working on her PH.D in that field. Thank you or someone for Ieva! We had a great time talking about nature, schools, etc. So, in all, everyone one was well or over-qualified to talk with us about cities, countries, communism, cooking and other stuff! Oh, I forgot "Vickie", who took us to the Curonian Spit. What a fun, upbeat person! She brought a picnic lunch for us so we could sit and enjoy it on the hilltop above Nida, where the German writer's home is located.

MR & MRS SNYDER, TAILOR-MADE BALTIC PRIVATE TOUR, JUNE 2018


WE REALLY LOVE THE WHOLE TRIP – BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY

Thanks for your warmest escort in Vilnius and Kaunas, it has been a wonderful time for me, Sam and Tai. You and your expertise team like – Cyrus & Vytaute have keep us informed that Lithuanians are sincere and courtesy to make friends... The sightseeing in KGB Museum, 9th Fort and Cold War Museum let our visions open wide that we seems to be the “Pioneer” to share our Lithuania’s experience amongst our peers group. We really love the whole trip – Between Shades of Gray, not to mention the accommodation, heritage sites and great food.

MRS WONG, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY PRIVATE TOUR, MAY 2018


ALL OUR GUIDES/DRIVERS WERE GOOD, FRIENDLY AND INFORMATIVE

We really enjoyed the trip to the Baltics and had a great time. We want to thank you and Jurga for all the contact, suggestions and responses to questions/enquiries/etc. We thought all our guides/drivers were good, friendly and informative.We would be happy to recommend Baltic Holidays to prospective clients.The itinerary was great and we appreciated the suggestions from your company as we finalised our arrangements. We also appreciated that there is a company that offers tours in this part of the world during a time of the year when a lot of other companies don't offer any options.


MORE LIKE A FRIEND THAN A GUIDE

The organisation of our trip was very professional and ran like clockwork. It was great to have everything organised and to not worry about driving or finding places of interest. We met some lovely tour guides especially Vicky in Palanga who was a fantastic host and felt more like a friend than a guide. We were pleasantly impressed by the standards of Eastern Europe and enjoyed the food and reasonable prices too. We would definitely recommend the baltics to our friends. In fact our 22 year old son said we could even leave him in Lithuania!

THE LEVENE FAMILY, TAILOR-MADE PRIVATE TOUR OF THE BALTIC CAPITALS, JUNE 2017


THEY WERE VERY KIND AND MADE OUR TOUR VERY SPECIAL

We liked very much our tour! I would like to tell you that we liked specially the guides from Ukraine, Belarus, Kaliningrad and Vilnius. They were very kind and made our tour very special. In general, we liked all the hotels! Thanks a lot!

FABRICIO, TAILOR-MADE TOUR TO UKRAINE, MOLDOVA, BELARUS, KALININGRAD & LITHUANIA, AUGUST 2017


EVERY ASPECT OF THE HOLIDAY WORKED WELL

I would like to thank Baltic Holidays for the well organised holiday that was organised for my friend and I in August. We visited St Petersburg, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Every aspect of the holiday worked well. Our accommodation was very comfortable, our guides informative and our drivers excellent. All staff were very punctual and polite. The places we were shown by our guides gave us a very good understanding of the countries we visited. My heartfelt thanks to Baltic Holidays.

RHONDA, BALTIC CAPITALS TAILOR-MADE PRIVATE TOUR, AUGUST 2017


THANK YOU FOR ONE OF THE BEST HOLIDAYS WE HAVE EVER HAD (AND WE HAVE HAD A FEW!)

Thank you so much for putting together a top notch experience. Please can you pass on our appreciation to Jurga too. Everything went smoothly. The itinerary was spot on, there was something fantastic to see on the days we were on the move and we never felt the journeys were too long. Thank you for one of the best holidays we have ever had (and we have had a few!)

HEMSLEY GROUP, TAILOR MADE SELF-DRIVE TOUR OF THE BALTICS, MAY 2018

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