Norway’s “Travel Boys” visit Kaunas
The Reisegutta bloggers were pleasantly surprised by a weekend in the Lithuanian city
Cynthia Elyce Rubin
The Norwegian American
Editor’s Note: It is not uncommon for an editor to receive an unsolicited press release extolling the attributes of a certain product or place. Recently I received an email from Ugne Kerdokaite, head of marketing for the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, who quoted Visvaldas Matijosaitis, the city’s mayor. “Kaunas is the most rapidly growing city in Lithuania,” he wrote, “where news of the arrival of new investors becomes a pleasant daily routine. All companies need talented and hardworking specialists.” Then she continued that Kaunas IN (the city’s tourism organization) invites bloggers from different countries to view and experience her city and that they had invited Martin Solhaugen and Kim Sørensen, Norway’s two “Travel Boys,” who blog on Instagram @solhaugen, @kimsorens1, and @reisegutta.
“We are traveling guys, ‘Travel Boys,’ adventurers and bloggers of positive emotions. By traveling, exploring, and enjoying unfamiliar countries, we create content on social media for our followers,” write Solhaugen and Sørensen. Two best friends created a channel on social networks. They travel around the world, telling their readers funny adventure stories and sharing their experiences. This time, they chose a not very well-known country, Lithuania, and an even less-known city, Kaunas. They say that in just two days they managed to get a vivid impression of Lithuanian culture that not only surprised them but also inspired them to recommend this destination for a weekend trip to their friends and followers.
“Our main channel is Instagram, but we also use YouTube, where once a month we publish videos from our trips,” says Sørensen. “What are we broadcasting? The trips of two best friends, the coolest experiences, and everything that’s in the word ‘friendship.’”
During the past two years, the two Norwegians visited dozens of countries, but until now, they devoted only weekends for their trips, after which they hurried back to work. Sørensen is a substitute teacher in elementary school. Since completion of marketing and communication studies, Solhaugen works in the film industry. He explained, “While I was studying public communication in Hawaii, I was interested in creating social media content. The more I dug into this, the more opportunities I saw. It’s even better that I managed to involve my best friend, Kim, in this travel communication activity. We started to publish our adventure stories and brought together tens of thousands of fans from all over the world. It turned out that people like it. They are open to our experiences and are willing to comment, share, and engage in the stories we are telling.”
“What kind of Lithuania have we imagined? It is possible to say that we did not have any stereotypes about Lithuanians or especially about Kaunas. Just as we arrived, the first hotel employee we met told us: ‘Welcome to the country of the fastest internet. Let me show you the best room in the world.’ It was a great start, and a wonderful introduction. Indeed, the room was great, and we could not complain about internet speed.”
The bloggers say that Kaunas surprised them many times during the first hours there. “I imagined that almost no one would speak English, that the country and the city would be less progressive than Norway. On the contrary, it turned out that almost every person we met spoke English very well and every step was filled with progressiveness, technologies, and modernity,” Sørensen confessed.
“Kaunas reminded me of another cozy and beautiful Slovak city we once visited, and not just visually but also in its spirit, the friendly people, and the vibe that the city was spreading,” added Solhaugen.
Street art, prominent examples of modernist architecture, the special Baroque spirit in the Pazaislis Monastery, gourmet dining in restaurants and bistros, nightlife in clubs, a men’s hairdresser they visited—that is what an intense Norwegian weekend in Kaunas included.
What left the greatest impression? “Examples of modern architecture, the Central Post Office and Bank of Lithuania and colorful street art.” Remembering the eventful time, the Travel Boys smiled in satisfaction.
According to the Travel Boys, Norwegians usually choose Denmark, Sweden, or the mountains in Norway for weekend trips. Polish Krakow is chosen for entertainment, London for shopping, Iceland for scenic adventures. “Now we can honestly say to our friends and followers that it is worth looking for new experiences here in Kaunas as well,” the Travel Boys declared with unbridled enthusiasm.
This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.