Category: Vilnius 1

Vilnius – across the old Iron curtain 1

t72

I grew up during the cold war. when I was 15 “those people” on the other side of the wall would murder us in our beds if they got the chance…

Whatever, but perhaps why I find Eastern European and former Soviet union country’s so interesting.

I’d had a fab time in Tallinn in Estonia, so Vilnius in Lithuania seemed a like next venture.

drinks

I always travel in style.

As we arrived to board our Ryanair plane, I noticed some “revellers” had been forced to make a quick exit and left their drinks behind.

inst

We arrived in Vilnius, and got a cab to our accommodation.

Interestingly, it was a in a forecourt, with a central door.

The accommodation was superb, but we never got to meet the owner, he just sent us these instructions by text.

cupboard

We had en-suit as expected, but also a kitchen and a washing machine (letter 2 were not needed, but nice to have).

Our room was spacious, but for good measure featured this cupboard, brilliantly designed so all our gear could be unpacked and stored and didn’t clutter up the room.

I’m thinking seriously about construction one for my spare room.

stairs

We have a wander around, and some of the places look a bit boring and dull.

square

Further along there was this interesting street with Cafe’s and bars.

We found out afterwards that (quite literally) all the businesses on the right hand side thrive and all the ones on the left, struggle and close.

raminita

We’d read about a free tour each day, run in different languages.

It’s a bit daft really (the premise, not the tour). It isn’t actually free, at the end you are asked to make a donation.

Some people gave Raminita (who was knowledgable, charismatic and spoke perfect English) half a Euro !.

We gave her 15 between us. There were a lot of Americans on our tour, and as it was a week before the Royal wedding, the girl in the middle was sporting a “Megan Markle” look.

usdec

The George Bush plaque at city hall.

It was here, that he famously said, anyone who makes an enemy of Lithuania makes an enemy of the United States.

Everyone was really proud, until they found out he visited 3 other countries and said exactly the same thing 🙂

rep_bridge

We got to visit the famous republic of Uzupis.

The main entrance is this small bridge crossing the Vilnia river.

rep_sign

In reality, Uzupis is a small bohemian neighbourhood.

rep_const

Although its not recognised by any country or the UN, it has its own constituation, printed in many languages.

It also has an army of 11 men and you can get your passport stamped there.

Overall, I really like it there. The way the people of the area and come together and really formed a community.

rep_can

Before we left Uzupis, I saw this mural.

I don’t completely agree with everything it says about Cannabis, but its certainly food for thought.

wall

We visit the writers wall, featuring plaques for famous Lithuanian writers.

One in particular is Antanas Skema. He wrote The White Shroud, banned during soviet times, it’s considered Lithuania’s first contemporary novel.

panto_horse

We arrive at Cathedral square.

Statue of Grand Duke Gediminas.

Born in 1275 he was responsible for the creation of Vilnius as the capital of Lithuania.

rock

In the background, cathedral tower.

In the middle of the picture, one of the massive rocks, used to block roads so tanks couldn’t pass during the fight for independence.

chrch_square

The actual cathedral itself is pretty spectacular.

chrch_inside

I decided to wander around inside.

chrch_bmb

It’s been rebuilt and extended several times.

So this alcove for example is much older than the main hall.

pub

But we’ve wandered around now for hours and are in need of some refreshments.

We find this “authentic” place, where all the staff wore medieval costumes and there was a video showing a Knights pageant.

soup

Of the 2 traditional meals I wanted to try, soup served in a bowl made of bread.

The further into the soup you went, the more bread became available.

europa

We wandered along the Gedimino high street.

There was a festival to celebrate the anniversary of Lithuania joining the European Union.

Just as my countrymen are marching towards Brexit, the daftest thing I think the UK’s ever done.

Interesting to see the contrast.

celeb

On the stage some children were singing. Time to keep walking.