Pride Passion Belief

Three Lions, Four Friends & English football…

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London Englandfans: Lithuania travel forum

Englandfans Lithuania Travel Forum – New Moon Pub: Thursday 17th September

England will travel to Lithuania safe in the knowledge that they have already qualified from Group E and will look to complete qualification with a 100% record. With qualification secure, the London Englandfans group met at the New Moon pub in Leadenhall Market to discuss tourism and travel plans for the trip to Vilnius. The panel for the evening consisted of:

  • Tadas Adomaitis – Consular officer responsible for Sport – Lithuanian Embassy, London.
  • Dave Cartledge, 3rd Secretary, British Embassy, Lithuania.
  • Stuart Fuller – Author of ‘The Football Tourist

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Matchday – the LFF Stadium

Stuart Fuller has spent a good part of the last decade touring the world on away trips and writing about his travels. Stuart recently visited Vilnius to watch the (mouth-watering) clash of Lithuania Vs Finland.

Having visited the ground where England will play, Stuarts’ main advice for match night was to wrap up warm and prepare for the elements. The 5,000 LFF stadium is almost entirely uncovered and the weather in October is likely to be unpredictable with a good chance of rain – so essentially dress as you would for a wet away day in Accrington Stanley.

Where England play isn’t the biggest stadium in Vilnius but it is deemed to be the one with the best facilities. Having said that, Stuart advised fans that the stadium is largely uncovered and the weather conditions it could be fairly wet and windy – so dress for a Saturday afternoon at Accrington Stanley.

Stuart advised that Vilnius has been the capital of culture and for any fans that attend the walking tour of the capital can expect to find a picturesque old town with plenty of medieval architecture – Vilnius definitely isn’t a stag destination!

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Football in Lithuania

Tadas Adomaitis works in the consular part of the Lithuanian embassy in London but takes a keen interest in sport. Whilst there is likely to be a large interest in the England fixture, football is far from being the the no.1 sport in Lithuania where basketball is described as the ‘second religion’. The history of football in Lithuania dates back to 1911 when the first recorded football match took place, with the first league championship was played with five teams. 1995-99 represented the ‘golden era’ of Lithuanian football when the country hovered around 45 in the FIFA world rankings

Since then Tadas feels the country has missed some youth development and support from government in terms of funding. Governing bodies are chaired by some of the leading clubs and old generation people are still in football cubs and the federation and Tadas feels that football has moved on decades and a lot needs to change. However things are changing as a lot of new young players are being sent to top academies abroad. Tadas hopes that the experience gained abroad will hopefully filter back gradually into the Lithuanian system.

Things to see
Both Tadas and Dave Cartledge, who is based in the Bitish embassy in Vilinus recommended a trip to see the Gediminas’ Tower of the Upper Castle which has views overlooking the city and is part of the Lithuanian National Museum. Also on the tourist trail is the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Church of St. Anne, a location which legend has it became a point of fascination of the traveling Napoleon Bonaparte. There are plenty of other picturesque locations in the capital and fans are encouraged to visit the Vilnius’s tourist board: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/

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Food & Drink
Cepelinai or didžkukuliai are a Lithuanian national dish. They are a type of dumpling made from grated and riced potatoes and usually stuffed with minced meat. Šaltibarščiai is Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup and although on paper it didn’t seem to go down too well from the London Englandfans group it is apparently supposed to be an exceptional hangover cure! Forto Dvaras was recommended by Tadas as a place where Lithuanians would go for traditional food – there are three restaurants located in the old town which are well worth a try.

In terms of beers, there is plenty of variety on offer… most of the beers available are strong and cheap! Generally the beer is a bit stronger than the UK, Dave Cartledge explained – if it’s not 5% it’s not considered to be a beer! Recently there has been a rise in popularity for the independent family brewers and all of the following beers would be recommended by our panellists: Svyturys, Utenos, Kaunas, Vilkmergės and Dundulis.

Further info

Further information will be provided about an arranged walking tour of Vilnius along with details of the fans friendly activities. If you are interested in attending the next London Englandfans forum or signing up to the Fan Friendly events please email your contact details to Mark Perryman at fanfriendly@mac1.net

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