A Taste of LithuaniaJune 8, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C
I believe I can gauge a feeling for a country by spending a day wandering the streets and carefully watching the people. So that is what I basically spent the day doing.
Our hotel is conveniently located right outside the city gate. This makes it very convenient for exploring the old town, but it is still far enough away from the hustle and bustle to provide a delightfully quiet sanctuary.
Near the hotel I discovered a lovely flower and fruit market. As I wandered the aisles, my gaze was quickly drawn to the beautiful looking strawberries and cherries. I have found in previous overseas trips that the standard of these fruits in Australia is very poor when compared to other countries. I ordered a bag of cherries for the grand sum of 3 Euro (about $5 Australian) and spent the next 30 minutes savouring their incredible sweetness and juiciness. They were certainly among the best I have ever tasted and I will certainly return tomorrow for some more.
My meanderings then took me right into the city, down to the Vilnia and Neris Rivers. As I walked I could see that the city was in a state of transition. While there were still many older, decaying buildings from the Soviet era, there was also a lot of modern development also taking place. It reminded me of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon that it had been trapped in for decades.
One thing that is also clear is that Soviets had no idea how to make good concrete. Every concrete structure that they built is rapidly crumbling to dust, almost before your very eyes. It is little wonder what happened at Chernobyl, thirty years ago.
Since the day was rapidly heating up, I decided to spend some time sitting in the park, under the shade of the trees, just watching life passing by. There was a mixture of young mothers with children, middle aged people and a few plump babushkas, some of them in national dress.
At breakfast time we had received a notice that we had arrived in Vilnius just in time to enjoy a festival of senior dancing and singing. That sounded like a great way to observe .some of the rich culture, so I set off to find where it was being held. Along the way I met Ross & Fran and Lothar and Celia. While we were chatting in the street, we were joined by an uninvited interloper. It was an obviously a very queer Englishman who had apparently come to Vilnius to take part in the gay pride parade. He tried to persuade us to ditch the ladies and join him at the parade. We politely declined. I still cannot understand what actually happened.
At 3 pm we managed to find the location where the folk dancing was to take place. Unfortunately it was in the full sun and the temperature was souring. I felt sorry for all the dancers dressed in their hot costumes. Whoever designed those clothes did not take global warming into account.
The dancing was spirited and very colourful, however the baking sun started to make my head feel like I was growing crackling. After 30 minutes we had to leave to seek some shade.
On days such as this there is nothing better than a lovely ice cream, especially when a heaped double scoop in a cone costs only 2 Euro.
There are now 17 members of our team in Vilnius. There should have been 20, but Peter & Brigitte and John Mudgway had been delayed at Warsaw airport. At last update the flight was 7 hours late and counting. That meant that they missed dinner and the first briefing with our local guide. Marg's missing luggage is still missing and one of our team is feeling ill. Apart from that, everything is going fine - especially when we heard that Australian Ash Barty had won the French Open tennis championship.
At 7 pm a young fellow answering to the name "Lucas" introduced himself as our local guide and led us to a nearby restaurant for dinner. After an enjoyable meal I am now back at the hotel. The time is well after 10 pm, but due to the bright light outside, it feels like 7 pm.
And so ends our first full day in Lithuania.Read more