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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Day 2: Vilnius

We walked into town after breakfast. It was the Vilnius marathon today so a number of roads were closed.

Loved the door for its colour and decoration.
It wasn't that early but there were not many people about. This is the main street leading into the Old Town.

There were numerous churches throughout the town.

This is the Presidential Palace. Once the home of a former nobleman it is now  the office of the President of Lithuania. Outside the palace you can see the sign LT100. This year of 2018 celebrates 100 years since the Act of Independence of Lithuania was signed on 16th February 1918 towards the end of WW1. This proclaimed the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania. However, during WW2, Lithuania was forcibly occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, followed by Nazi Germany in 1941 and again by the Soviets in 1944. It was 1990 before they received full independence once again.

It was in this building, the House of Signatories that the Council of Lithuania met on the 16th Feb 1918 to sign the document.

Our first stop today was a visit to the Palace of the Grand Dukes to see an art exhibition of paintings from Florence. It wasn't a big exhibition but large enough to hold your attention. The Palace is behind the Cathedral just off the Square. I took this photo from the Gediminas Tower.

From there we went to Literatu Street with its memorials to various writers made by local artists and embedded into the walls.

As you can imagine the street is a favourite place for foreign film productions.
I didn't recognise the writers and poets but it was still an interesting place especially when you saw things like false teeth being used a s a dedication!

This is the entrance to the amber museum. Everywhere you go you will see amber being sold. The fossilised pine resin has been washed up on the shores of the Baltic for thousands of yours. As always here, it seems there is a legend to explain why this happens:
Perkunas, god of thunder, got angry when sea goddess Jurate and drop-dead gorgeous fisherman Kastytit got it together. Whipping the sea up into a frenzy, Perkunas chained Jurate to her underwater amber palace and smote it, bringing it down around her. Now, when the goddess cries, the sea becomes upset and stormy, washing her amber tears and fragments of her destroyed palace on to the beach. That is why amber is best gathered after a storm. (taken from an article in Independent travel 2002)

St Anne's church is one of the few red brick churches in Vilnius. It has survived the last 500 years without any alterations. To the right is Bernandine Church.
Near the church was a man selling these small pieces of stained glasswork. They looked very attractive in the bright sunlight.

The Vilnele River snakes its way around the town. We decided to cross the river over one of its many bridges into the republic of Uzupis which is a self proclaimed republic of artists and Bohemians. It has its own constitution, president, anthem and national holiday.

The district's guardian, the bronze angel of Uzupis stands aloft in the square.

The constitution is displayed in numerous languages along a wall. It includes everyones' rights to live by the river; to hot water; to make mistakes; to be loved or not to be loved. There are also rights for cats and dogs.

We timed it just right as we found a cafe where we could sit outside in the sunshine taste some more of the local food - potato pancakes and the traditional food of Cepelinai (zeppelin) dumplings which are made from grated and riced potatoes, stuffed with ground meat or mushrooms. As the name suggests they are quite large, oblong shaped dumplings. Ours were served with chopped bacon on top. I was too busy eating them to remember to take a photo of them!

This building was one of the first to be built this side of the river. At different periods in history it has been a Lutheran hospital, a Jewish house of prayer and some craftmen's workshops. During the post war period, families of workers from the arts and crafts industrial complex lived here. Over time the buildings deteriorated and its residents were relocated to other flats. In 1990, young artists started settling in the abandoned building and it became a 'squat'. Various exhibitions, music, poetry and fashion events took place here. The building now contains 18 creative studios being rented under preferential terms and conditions. Resident  artists rotate every 2-3 years so a continuous influx of new ideas and creators is assured. Artists from abroad are also welcomed on a 1-6 month lease.


We walked around the town a little and then crossed over another bridge.

As with so many bridges these days it had numerous locks hanging from it.

But hanging below another bridge were two men on a swing! I read somewhere, but can't remember where that there were swings placed all over the town as part of an art installation. You would have to wade into the river to reach this one.

At the side of the river was a statue of a mermaid preparing to take a leap.

Back over the bridge and leaving the Republic of Uzipis behind we walked around Bernardine Gardens with its fountains, river walk and men playing chess.

By late afternoon it was time to walk back to the hotel as we were meeting up with the tour group at 6pm.

On the way we glanced up to see all these hot air balloons floating above us. The town must have looked perfect from up there.

Back at the hotel we met the CEO of the trip as well as the rest of the group although some would not be arriving until late that evening so we would meet them tomorrow. Altogether there will be 3 from the UK, 8 from Canada, 1 from Switzerland and 4 from the USA.
Vadim,our CEO, who was from Vilnius, took us to a nearby Lithuanian restaurant where we would be able to experience the local food and begin to get to know one another.
Vadim tried to teach us a few words of Lithuanian but both M and I knew we would have forgotten them by tomorrow!


  1. I wish people would sto with the love locks! Great pictures.That St Anne church is beautiful

  2. Great pictures of a lovely place. I like that pretty green door, the stained glass art, and the swing the most. Thank you for the tour. :-)

  3. Marie - It works. I can comment. Thank you for making the change. Now once I finish my other tasks I can go back and read about your trip and post a comment.

  4. St. Anne's and the mermaid statue are my favourites of these.

  5. I assume the dumplings were tasty if you forgot to photograph them. You should take up tour guiding. You'd be very good at it.

  6. Loved reading your posts from this amazing trip... And I want to thank you for taking time to put all of the pictures with explanations... So many people show pictures with no explanations at all. I know it takes time (I spent about 5-6 hours on my post explaining about the Beartooth Highway) --SO just wanted you to know that I appreciate your work... You visit places I will never get to see---so THANK YOU.


  7. This is a wonderful trip. I wish I could visit this place as well.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  8. You always share such interesting wonderful places. Thanks so much for allowing us to with you on the tour.

  9. What an interesting little region by the river with its own constitution. Any land that considers the rights of dogs and cats (I hope all animals) has its heart in the right place. :)

  10. I love that green door, too. What an interesting way to memorialize a country's poets!

  11. Like many other East European destinations Lithuania seems to have an interesting but checkered history. Thanks for the tour and insight.

  12. I kind of want to live in Uzupies (spelling?) but perhaps I could proclaim my own country and write my own constitution. Fun how they displayed it -- sounds like a fascinating area to visit. The historical part of the tour was beautiful and so interesting.

  13. What a nice little town that is. Lots to see and do. I love the street dedicated to artists.

  14. It looks like a lovely town. That swing under the bridge is very strange!

  15. You did get sunny skies! Loving your trip!

  16. It all looks very clean and well maintained. Again, so many street photos and only one car to be seen. I had to check and the Republic of Uzipis has no recognised status and its independance day is April Fools Day. It does no harm and probably draws in some tourist currency. You seem to be very high up in the tower, but it is not really that tall. Ah, I had forgotten it on a high hill.

  17. I too love that fun green door!

  18. You have seen a lot of the city, I like that art in the canal, very original!

  19. Goodness Lithuania has certainly had to deal with occupations. They must appreciate not having foreigners governing them. You made me a bit hungry with the dumplings but then bacon makes everything better. Enjoyed the tour.

  20. ahhhh you're seeing so many things on this trip

  21. A very interesting tour of a place I will never get to.


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