Vilnius – Old Town

Wakey, wakey !
Ouch – I had to get up at 4:45 to catch the 5:30 bus from my house to the airport bus. GOSH. Thats sooo early. I showered for 15 minutes but still looked like a zombie when I got out of the shower. I did make it to the airport in good time though and I even signed up for the Star Alliance membership to gain mileage points on my travel as AirBaltic is a part of the Star Alliance.

After security check I went for breakfast. Witch one more time reminded me to WHY we should never buy food at Oslo airport – 75 incredible NOKs for a tiny pasta salad???????? This is theft !!!!

The flight in to Vilnius was good, quite a bit of turbulence during the flight, but no other main issues :D I spent the time reading tourist information about Vilnius and Lithuania. Quite exited about going there. The landing was more interesting though. Everything seemed fine for a while until the wheels touched the ground and the plane almost started going up again – ALMOST crashing the tail in the landing lane. Ok. I might be exaggerating here. hehe. We landed nicely anyhow. A whole lot of Military people was on my plane and they were escorted away from the plane to avoid the normal check in.

IMG_7256-2.JPGJenn and Angie picked me up at airport. They were running late due to a lot of security in traffic due to a NATO meeting in Vilnius. All the big NATO people was in the city. The girls escorted me home, Jenn introduced me to the flat and her flatmate, Peter, and gave me her keys.
Jenn and Peter lives in the middle of the old town. Right next to the Presidential Palace. Its a great location in walking distance to everywhere.
Peter took me for lunch at Briusly where I had a delicious chicken spinach plate with rice. Fantastic dish !

Peter had a meeting at UNI so after lunch we split and I walked around in the Old Town (that is considered to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) of Vilnius for 3 hours and enjoyed the views. Temperatures were great and it was fantastic to be out and enjoy the nice weather instead of sitting indoors all day at work. I payed a visit to the bank to get local money and I found my way around the city and watched beautiful churches and buildings such as the All Saints Church, the Gate of Dawn

IMG_7265-2.JPG The beautiful red-brick church – St. Annes Church (Sv. Onos baznycia) is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius’ Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River. It is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne’s is among the features of Vilnius Old Town that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

A novel approach to bricks as a construction material was employed in the church’s construction The main facade, designed in the Flamboyant Gothic style, is its most striking feature. Traditional Gothic elements and shapes were used in unique ways; Gothic arches are framed by rectangular elements dominating a symmetrical and proportionate facade, creating an impression of dynamism. The church has one nave and two towers. It was built using 33 different kinds of clay bricks and painted in red. The interior is decorated in the Baroque style, as is its altar. The imitative neo-Gothic bell tower, constructed in the 1870s, stands nearby.
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Walking around in old town I made it to more central places where I also climbed the hill to the Gediminas tower that is an important state and historic symbol of Vilnius and Lithuania: it is depicted on national currency litas and mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs. It is virtually all that remains of the once-mighty Upper castle. This tower used to be an aristocratic prison back in 1610, before everything around it was destroyed by the russians between 1655 and 1661. The restoration work began in 1939 and today the tower houses an exhibition explaining the history of Vilnius castles. From the top you can see the great panoramic views of Vilnius city the Three Crosses on the Bleak Hill (Plikasis kalnas).

I also had to take a closer look to the Cathedral of Vilnius (Vilniaus Sv. Stanislovo ir Sv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika), located just off the Cathedral Square. Its a beautiful church and also the main Roman catholic cathedral of Lithuania. Inside, there are more than forty works of art dating from the 16th through 19th centuries; both frescoes and small and large paintings.
It is believed that in pre-Christian times, the Baltic pagan god Perkunas was worshiped at this location. The Lithuanian King Mindaugas built the original cathedral in 1251 after his conversion to Christianity.

There were souvenir stores everywhere and I found Amber to be one of the big things of the Baltics. Beautiful pieces of amber made into the nicest jewelery.

At 4 I met up with Peter again at the Cathedral and we went to sit down and relax at one of his favourite cafes, where we had tea and cake and sat down till Jenn got home from work. We had quite some interesting discussions there.

In the night Jenn and I went to Zoes restaurant to meet with Angie for dinner. We had already ordered when Angie came. We had a dish of Filet mignon served on a wood plate. Fantastic dish !! Just perfectly cooked and tasted wonderful.

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