Tower Bridge is raised to welcome Millennium Odyssey
Over 400 Lithuanians gathered at Tower Millennium Pier to greet the brave yachtsmen of the Lithuanian Millennium Odyssey, who have been on a nine-month journey visiting 26 Lithuanian communities in 20 countries on five continents, to celebrate the first mention of Lithuania’s name in history a thousand years ago.
Tower Bridge was raised to welcome the sailors on the yacht Ambersail as they moored next to the Tower of London to loud cheers from the crowd on shore. Their mission has been to act as emissaries and they carry with them a personal message from the President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, in which he urges Lithuanians across the globe to join in the celebrations.
More than one million people of Lithuanian descent live outside of Lithuania, making up a quarter of all people of Lithuanian descent.
The UK has the largest Lithuanian diaspora community, numbering some 100,000 to 150,000. The voyagers have already been welcomed by the Lithuanian communities across the globe in Germany, the Canary Islands, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, the USA, Canada, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland.
The Millennium Odyssey still plans to visit Lithuanians in Norway, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and the Kaliningrad Region and will be joined on the final leg of the journey by the former Lithuanian Ambassador to London and now Foreign Minister Vygaudas Ušackas, who is renowned in London diplomatic circles for his love of adventure.
Ten crews have already sailed on this world voyage, changing over at various points. In London the eleventh and final crew took over to complete an epic journey of more than 200 sailing days and covering more than 40,000 sea miles.