Traveler’s Child is a travel blog that has more than 20 thousand followers on Instagram. They’ve just finished a very successful takeover week on the Instagram profile of @visit_kaunas. In fact, Kaunas has been a recurring topic on their blog - that’s because the bloggers are both from Kaunas!
We met with Paulius and Laura at the very end of their Easter vacation, right before the couple travelled back to Belgium where they now reside. Here’s a quick Q&A session with the masterminds behind Traveler’s Child!
Meet Paulius and Laura
How did you two decide which 7 places of Kaunas to include in the Instagram takeover? Were there many discussions? What were the deciding arguments?
L: Actually, there was a small discussion, but not only between two of us. After Paulius came up with the idea of a takeover, we were spending time with one of our friends and the discussion of which places could represent the uniqueness of Kaunas came up. All together we named 10-15 places and even wrote them down, but in the end we did not use that list. We just took the camera and went for a walk as true tourists, shooting the things that we find unique. Our walk (plus ride to some places outside the city centre) took half a day, we have made a huge number of photos, but the deciding argument for picking those seven photos was for them to illustrate how unique and charismatic our Kaunas is.
P: The idea was to get in a body of a tourist and just explore Kaunas the way we do it every time we visit a new city – we just improvise and let the flow of the city streets take us wherever it wants. I think that Kaunas proved to have a very good flow, which allows to see many of the city’s most representative places by simply wandering around without any map.
When travelling around Europe, have you found any similarities to Kaunas and Lithuania elsewhere?
P: There definitely is some German influence felt in the city’s old town, as Kaunas was an important trading centre and had many German traders coming over, but overall – Kaunas seems to be unique. I think this is due to the reason that Kaunas was on a rise during an unusual period, which was between the World Wars.
L: What is more, it is hard to compare your hometown with the cities you see for the first time. When I walk or drive around Kaunas, I am not simply observing - I am feeling this city. I feel the beauty, the charm, the uniqueness of it. In addition, since it is my home, naturally I feel proud of every beautiful corner of it. This makes me much more excited about sights I see here, than compared with the ones I find elsewhere. So, even though Kaunas has a similar architecture to, for example, towns of Germany, I could not objectively compare them. The view of Kaunas beats every other part of Europe!
How old is your blog? What has been its most successful post ever?
P: We started only last June by creating an Instagram account, this happened because we realized how much we are traveling and how much we are about to. There were many photos that we really did not have were to put, so we started an Instagram page, which soon hit 1000 followers and we realized we could try to turn this into something more. So, we started our blog in August and the most successful post was written by Laura, so I think that she should introduce this one.
L: Glad you asked about the most successful post! It was posted in January, and the name of it was 'Kaunas – The Best City in the World'. During our winter holidays at home, we went for a long walk around Kaunas. Since high school we have this traditional route which starts from Kaukas Stairs, goes through Laisvės Avenue to the Nemunas riverside and then to the old town. So, this one sunny January day we took this route and fell in love with our city all over again. Kaunas looked so great that Paulius took hundreds of photos and we together received a bouquet of wonderful emotions. Therefore, after returning from this stroll, we decided to put our thoughts and feelings on paper, and that's how the most successful post of ours was born.
Kaunas - The Best City in the World
Instagram tips! What tools are you using for pictures? Are you fans of hashtags? Any particular time of the day that works well for your posts?
P: I am the one that is doing most of the photography, so for taking pictures I am using different lenses and a tripod to get the results I want, for editing, I mainly use Lightroom, which is an absolute classic for anyone who works with photography. We are big fans of hashtags as it is the number one way to get noticed by your audience on Instagram.
L: Also, we noticed that if the picture is really worth the attention of our audience, time of the day when we post does not matter so much. Of course, very early morning, or a late night is not a good time. According to the time zones of the major part of our audience, the best time is from about 8 AM to 8 PM.
How long you two are planning to live in Belgium? Are there any plans to return to Kaunas?
P: Well, actually, I am the one responsible for us leaving Kaunas. I study in Vytautas Magnus university and they offer a double degree studies, which seemed a good way of taking the most of my years in university. Therefore, I applied and I was accepted to spend a full scholar year in Belgium. So, we’ve been living in Belgium since September and, hopefully, we will return to Kaunas afterwards. We plan our future here as we honestly believe it is the best place for us to live, near our family and friends.
L: Actually, I would not say that we are living in Belgium. I consider us as residents of Kaunas who just went on a journey to broaden their horizons for a little bit.
What are your personal favourites of Kaunas? Something that might not be that touristy, but still very valuable for you two?
P: Despite the colourful reputation, I always loved the Kaukas Steps and the Vizbaras house, which was unfortunately, destroyed. It does sadden me that not many people are well aware of historic places in Kaunas, consider it old with no value and show no interest in nurturing what really makes this city special. Another place is definitely the Kaunas Sports Hall, where my dad made me fall in love with basketball and where I was able to see the last season of Arvydas Sabonis. Though, I wasn’t able to witness the greatest victories achieved in this legendary place, some moments and emotions were so strong that this place and the path through Ąžuolynas that leads to Sports Hall will stay forever deeply engraved in my heart.
L: I have my two favourites. Firstly, as a place, Žaliakalnis (the Green Hill) is the most valuable for me. Well, to be precise, the Eastern part of it. Classy streets built in the prosperous interwar period, sophisticated facades, authentic parks and the smouldering spirit of the interwar period elite. I grew up here, drove hundreds of kilometres around this place with my bicycle, spent long hours wandering around it with my family, and later - together with Paulius. For me, Žaliakalnis is the place where most of my precious memories are kept.
The second most valuable thing is our - mine and Paulius - evening rides along Kaunas. Almost every evening since I got driver’s license, we both go on a ride around the city. I love this tradition of ours! We talk random things, have long discussions about the development of the city, we look over the things that are changing here, re-visit the places that we love the most. Sometimes it takes just half an hour and we are heading back home, but usually we drive for hours!
Day 6 of Instagram takeover: Pažaislis monastery complex
Are there any other places in Lithuania you would recommend to discover for our readers?
L: It is hard to answer. The list of the places I would like to recommend could take pages! Nevertheless, my TOP 3 favourite, besides Kaunas, would be Nida by the Baltic Sea, lakes and forests in Labanoras National Park and route along Nemunas, which starts from Kaunas and ends at Klaipėda. Every part of it is amazing!
P: I would recommend the readers to stay in Kaunas and to consider not to ever leave. After settling down in Kaunas and realizing it is the best place in the world, I agree with Laura that Nida is a good place for your holidays, where you should travel by taking the route along Nemunas. Other than that, probably, it is hard for me to think of any other places in Lithuania. Laura is actually the one that really knows a lot about what to discover in Lithuania.