Lithuania

Lithuania is a Baltic state and formerly of the USSR, but gained independence in 1991. Lithuania became a member of both the EU and NATO in 2004. However, as the country has tried to adapt to it’s new status, many Lithuanians have left the country to seek more prosperous conditions in other EU member states. Many of the country’s best educated people are emigrating the country as the local job market cannot support them. The government also seem relatively happy about this situation, but there is a real danger that there will be little inward economic investment from this scenario creating a downward spiral.

That said, I found a country with honest and decent people and there is certainly a growing continental outlook to the capital city of Vilnius, which in many places reminded me of parts of Scandinavia. The natural country side is also very beautiful, with lots of pine forests, and a fantastic coast line on the Curonian Spit.

It’s also notable that the national sport in Lithuania is Basketball. Living in Britain, I’m so used to seeing football posts in parks, or painted on to walls, that it was interesting to see this replaced with a basketball hoops which are absolutely everywhere. The Lithuanians seem as passionate about basketball as the Indians are about cricket.

All in all I really like the country and if you’ve never been, I’d encourage you to do so.