The Habits and The Beast

The Beast of Kaunas is the first and always will be the last Kaunasian. He embodies the true spirit of the city and rules from the Underworld. Usually, he can be heard sleeping during the day under the Kaunas Castle.

The Beast is the creature of the night, so it is not possible to see him in the upper part of the city that often, especially when the sun is scorching hot. But… the Beast has one weakness which sometimes makes him go outside during the day and the weakness is iced coffee. He loves coffee so much that sometimes he is willing to suffer through the heat and go to Laisves Aleja and have a cup of this amazing, sweet goodness. So, get ready, this is a tale of a Beast, who traveled from Kaunas Castle to his favorite coffee shop in Laisves Aleja for a little taste of summer…

The moment Beast emerged from his lair, he was greeted by the Freedom Warrior. They have been brothers in arms since the year 2018 and sometimes when there’s no one around, they meet during the night and talk about their city.

After greeting his friend, the Beast started this long, excruciating path towards happiness.” I will do anything for coffee” – he said and started walking. Once he passed the wooden bridge the Beast did not forget to look back at the castle. He loved the way it looked. Kaunas Castle was his home for…..a long time. He could not remember when exactly it was built. Beast lived here for so long, it seemed only natural that he existed here. But… Now that he thought about it, the castle might be as old as the 14th century. Was the Beast THAT old?

He noticed a sign for Kaunas 2022. Beast smiled. In January of this year he rose and said “Hello!” to the city. The Beast felt honored to be the main character of the year. He also had not been able to greet the residents of the city for a long time, so he felt rather shy, but it was an amazing night and it made him happy to be remembered. With these happy memories he
continued his walk…. He just left his lair, but was immediately hit with emotions he did not expect.

“Hello, friend!” – The Beast greeted The Wise Old Man. His friend tilted the pipe to him and the Beast continued walking. He also found his old friend Maironis sitting in front of the Lithuanian Literature Museum named after the man himself. Just as always he found Maironis contemplating his dear Lithuania. The poet wrote a lot of masterpieces, but Beast’s favorites were – “Trakų pilis’ and “Lietuva Brangi”. He was proud of this talented man.

Phew….the sun was beginning to burn his skin. The Beast had to hurry up and get to the Laisves Aleja as soon as possible. But first – water. The dogs, guarding the water fountain, bowed before the Beast, he thanked them, had some refreshing water, and continued his journey.

At first, he had the idea to walk all the way to the coffee shop, but then he changed his mind and hopped on the public transport of Kaunas to make it easier on himself. But…even though he could go straight to the coffee shop, he got off the bus a bit earlier. There still were a few places he wanted to visit using this rare opportunity of going out so deep into the city.

Shortly after getting off the bus, where he met a lot of residents who were friendly but exhausted because of the heat, the Beast came upon an interesting place. He was standing in front of the Kaunas Old Central Post Office. Built in 1930-1931, it was one of Beast’s favorite buildings in all
of Kaunas. He was proud of Feliksas Vizbaras, who designed it. But then soon he remembered that the Soviets destroyed the interior and growled at the memory. He was overtaken by emotion once again, but he tried not to dwell too long on the memory, and with one last look at the building he continued walking.

“HAHAHA!” – laughed the Beast. His old memories of the post office vanished instantly after seeing a loaf of bread on the floor. People were funny. “Have you seen that loaf of bread? People are so amusing!” – laughed the Beast with Vytautas the Great, the Grand Duke of Lithuania. He hasn’t spoken to his friend in a long time and was glad to see him still looking over the Kaunas City Municipal Administration building. The Beast trusted his friend to do a good job, so he did not venture so far into the city to check upon him that often. He could just stay at his castle. But it was still nice to see Vytautas every time he came around. As they continued talking, Beast had an idea, that he should come out of his lair a bit more often to chat with his dear old friend. Wait… what was going on? He hated the sun, he had to be suffering, but he found himself enjoying this journey and these positive ideas started flooding his mind. Weird.

Since he was in a good mood, the history of the old post office long forgotten, the Beast decided to go across Laisves Aleja and visit Kaunas Musical Theater built in the XIX century. He always wanted to see at least one of the plays there, but this place was not suited for Beasts simply
because it was not big enough. Nonetheless, he loved that Kaunas had a place where people could enjoy music and theater.

After going out of his way a little bit to see the theater, he continued his journey through one of the alleys until he met this tiny little statue. He never talked to this little man and his raven before, so the Beast decided that today was the day. He came up to him with a friendly face. When they started talking, he noticed that the tiny man was a little bit strange but very interesting. The Beast learned that he had been sitting here since the year 2020 and surveyed everyone who was going in and out of the Kaunas Puppet Theater. He met a lot of kids here and said that he enjoyed it when kids touched his mustache. The Beast frowned at that. He did not find kids enjoyable, too often they bothered him while he was sleeping under the castle, even though the sign very obviously said not to disturb him. But either way, he was glad that he made a new friend and hoped to see him again. But it was time to continue his journey.

What a joy! The Beast absolutely forgot about a little fog around the main fountain in the middle of Laisves Aleja. He stood there for a good minute just enjoying the cool, wet breeze. But he still had a goal to reach. He was very very close.

He continued walking and finally, finally saw Soboras, the biggest jewel of Laisves Aleja. To the Beast, THIS place was the symbol of all Kaunas. Oh, how he loved this XIX century masterpiece. It provided greatness to the whole street. Somehow it worked as a beacon to those who came to the city center. From far in the city, you could see it and immediately know: Laisves Aleja is that way. And the best part – Beast’s favorite coffee shop was just on the left side of Laisves Aleja, just in front of the Soboras. “Habits Kavos Namai” (Habits Coffee House) makes the best cold coffee in town in Beast’s opinion, and they even have a spot near the window with a view of Soboras! The Beast felt unbelievably happy.

And so, the tail has come to an end. As the Beast reached his destination, he enjoyed his coffee with a pleased smile. Some people, who were brave enough, came up to him and said hello, which made him undeniably joyous to greet them as well. Ahh, what a great day it was! The Beast came out of his lair in this heat not expecting to have such a good time, but he did. He doubted that he would muster his courage anytime soon to do this again, even though the idea of it persecuted him most of this journey, but today was, truly, a good day. And instead of worrying about the future, doubting himself, and focusing on suffering because of the heat, he decided to be happy. He knew that Kaunas was his, and he also belonged to it. It is how it was and will always be and he thought to himself: “For cold coffee, Kaunas and its people, sometimes, but only sometimes, it is worth suffering even through the hottest days of summer”.