Sunday, May 20, 2012

Holiday? Apparently.

So.  Lithuanian's enjoy playing this certain game.  It's called "invent a holiday". The process goes like this - pick an obscure figurehead, sport event, or historical significance, and close down the entire city to celebrate it!! Honestly, it seems that every weekend we've gone into the city, there has been some crazy event going on somewhere such as random dancing children or ethnic food booths.  The best part is?  I don't understand Lithuanian, and therefore have no idea what we're celebrating! Then again, let's be honest - half the people here probably don't know what they're celebrating either :)

Anyway, this weekend was no different!! Unsuspecting us simply went into the church early this morning to practice for the music number we're performing in church tomorrow (wish us luck!)
I just had to add this - while we were waiting for the bus, we saw this lady sitting on the grass.  Let me explain.  In Lithuania, they have a superstition that if you sit on the ground (cement, grass, etc.) your ovaries will freeze, and you will be sterile.  So, women will sit on jackets etc, to avoid the ground! So hilarious :)
On our way to the second bus stop, we stopped by this delicious looking stand, just to curiously see what it had.  We all ended up walking away with the MOST DELICIOUS KEBOBS OF MY LIFE!!! The process went something like this - get a giant tortilla.  Put cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, garlic ranch sauce and roast beef inside. Put inside a grill with a weighted lid that squishes the sandwich down.  Grill for a couple minutes.  Consume rapidly, and nearly die of delight.  Repeat.  Ooooh my goodness.
After we got home, we put on our meanest looking faces, and began "the purge" (aka, clearing off the layer of grime that has settled over...well, everything.  Judging by the thickness of the cobwebs, we're assuming this apartment hasn't been cleaned for around 4.7 years.  It needed to be done.)  We finished cleaning pretty quick, and caught a bus to head into the city!

Quick disclaimer - Sorry if the video's don't work for you! Apparently, Blogger has been having some problems lately.  Probably indigestion.
Us all waiting at the bus stop
Sometimes, we lose our brain cells to smallish children whilst teaching English.
Once in the city, we were met by quick a quirky welcoming crew:
Yep!! That's a band of 50 year old men serenading us with Lithuanian folk songs.  Love this country :) That was just the beginning though!  After we started walking down the street, we were met with all sorts of wondrous sights and sounds!! Most of which were instrumented by random musicians :)  Little did we know, this apparent Lithuanian holiday consisted of shutting down the entire city, and dedicating to day to music and basketball!! (oh, and people on stilts.  And some ice cream.)
Another fun thing - they randomly would start playing music in a square, and random people from the crowd would start dancing! And I don't mean that trashy nonsense we Americans do when music starts dancing.  I mean legit, classy, dancing. 
A waterfall stairway by the square where the dancers were :)

Another random musical group! Fairly certain it's a group of high school kids who are in  band together or something, and decided to jam for the holiday.
A jolly accordion man, accompanied by the yodeling grandpa.  Man, this country is great :)
A square with fun fountains!!  The kids loved playing in it.
Some of the kids goofing in the water.  I know, kind of creeper.  But they were just so happy and cute, I couldn't resist!
Some teenage rock band playing in the square - they were actually pretty good, and I couldn't help but giggle when they'd start playing American songs.  For some reason, everyone listens to American music here!! I've heard enough Beiber to last a lifetime.
The guitarist in the band.  I just had to take a picture to share the glory of his fashion sense.  Hawaiian shirts and plaid?  Hm. I see how you did that.
We came upon a break dancing group in Cathedral square, and Elise decided to join in!! 
A precious little boy playing his recorder in the square.  Reminded me of my good ol' 5th grade days.
An AWESOME accordion duet we happened upon in Old Town! They were really good :)
A beautiful church across sitting directly by a fun park we found.
A memorial statue dedicated to all those who died during the Soviet Communist rule.  It was beautiful to see all the flowers and notes surrounding it.
A cute couple, just chilling on a bench and blowing bubbles.
Once you got to Gediminas road, everything was closed off, and about 30 basketball hoops were set up all down the street! For my fellow Spokanites, it was something similar to hoopfest.  (For those who don't enjoy the glories of Spokane, it's just a giant basketball tournament)  Lithuanians are SUPER into basketball. Probably because they're all, you know, huge.
After a while, Bailey and Elise split off to go jam somewhere on their guitar/ukuele.  Janese and I continued our exploration though, and ended up wandering up to Gediminas tower!

The cobblestone pathway/uphill hike we had to climb to get to the tower.  Phew. My feet were killing me at this point.

Janese standing by the rail, overlooking the park below.

Gedeminas tower itself!

 After we got to the top of the tower, I decided to climb up the tower wall, and sit on the stones so we could rest our feet and look over the valley. Janese was a good sport, and clamored up there with me.  We just pulled off our socks and shoes, and enjoyed looking out.

Part of the view from the wall

The view looking off the tower wall - oh, but this picture does it NO justice!! This was about a fourth of the span you could see across the entire valley.  SO beautiful
More of the view.
Just chilling on a tower wall, overlooking the entire city. Oh, but I LOVED it! Oh, and fun fact - shortly after this picture was taken, I realized that my socks I had taken off were also enjoying the view a bit too much, and took a kamikaze nose dive off the side of the wall. 
Janese, bravely putting on a happy face whilst internally screaming at me for dragging her on top of the tower wall.
The view from the hike down. 
After enjoying the view for a bit longer, we hiked down to find Bails and Elise so we could start the trek back home. We took a momentary pit stop though, to grab some dinner at a small Italian restaurant in Old Town.
The view from the courtyard where we were sitting. Basically, all the buildings here are super gorgeous, even little Italian restaurants.  I got a sweet pepper soup, by the way, which was delicious.
SUCH a great day, though completely exhausting. We closed up our chapter by crashing at home, and enjoying watching a quick movie together.

1 comment:

  1. I posted a long, beautiful comment here...and don't know where it went. :( It was all about the strange traditions of the Baltics. Oh well. Someday, when it's not time for bed, I'll have to try to re-create the awesomeness.