Lithuania: The Baltic Tiger still smiling through gritting teeth from a bloody past

The town of Birstonas (pop. 2,800) sits atop a giant mineral spring.

The Orange County Register in Southern California recently sent me to Lithuania to report on a basketball story. It was about a comically loud and proud father pulling his two teenage sons from school to sign them up with a Lithuanian pro basketball team. The Ball family is getting mocked and praised in equal measure and I hopped on a media bandwagon that seemingly held the world’s entire free press.
But I was one of the few who went to Lithuania to cover the brothers’ debut. I was one of the few to experience the story’s beautiful backdrop, of a country that made following the dad’s babbling megaphone for three hours all worth it. Lithuania is one of the many jewels of Eastern Europe.
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