Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just across the Riverbend

Though it was a slightly slow starting morning (I was supposed to Skype my siblings at 7am, but accidentally slept in.  Major Bummer) things really picked up once I left with Janese to her voice lessons! Both Bailey and Janese are taking voice lessons from a Lithuanian Master's student at the nearby Vilnius Academy.  ILP rules says that you have to always travel in pairs, and since Bails wasn't feeling too grand, I was her partner for the day!  We took a bus into town, and headed over to The Lithuanian Music and Theater Academy (building 3, specifically) for her lesson. 
The staircase in the music building
The view outside the fourth floor window of the practice room where Janese had her lesson.  Considering the fact that his is all I stared at whilst she serenaded me with Lithuanian opera music, it's a pretty nostalgic sight :)
After she finished up, we decided to explore the area and have ourselves a Lithuanian adventure!!  We decided to turn a direction, and wander that way to see what we could find.  We ended up heading right, further down Gediminas road, and towards the Vilnius River.  We found all sorts of fun stuff!!
Yep, that's a random tree with ribbons and bottles of leaves tied to it. Probably celebrating some "Love a Tree" holiday they made up :)
We're not positive what this is, though I'm guessing it's a monstrous parasite looking fountain that we found near the river.  Amanda, do you know? 
Apparently, Janese was saying that there is a wooden original of this statue in Estonia somewhere.  It's supposed to be depicting some story about a Saint who carried the Christ child across a river somewhere? I'll get back to you on that.
The front of a beautiful Orthodox chapel we came across - we couldn't go inside, and I was actually pretty happy about that! I was getting a little tired of people opening their worshiping buildings as gift shops. This chapel, though of a different faith, had a much gentler feel about it.
A beautiful little cottage next to the chapel - perhaps for the priest?  Whoever it's for, they're sure lucky!
Stained glass window in the entryway of the chapel
Back of the chapel
A grave that I found behind the Orthodox chapel - perhaps for a priest who passed away?
This lady was great :) Just a sweet older woman cleaning up the grounds of the Orthodox chapel.  Plus, I wanted to show her broom!  All the brooms here are the traditional stick and straw looking things, and they all look like legit witches brooms! None of that modern plastic stuff we use in America.  Hearty Lithuanian brooms is where it's at!

This picture pretty much explains the dandelion situation here.  On the plus side, you can make about 34,00 wishes from that lawn alone!
Just a random statue of random shapes in a random park. 
This building is SO Lithuanian looking - tons of apartments crammed together, with a crazy color slapped on an old building.  Yep.
Graffiti. It's everywhere here.
Lithuania has a certain character about it - all the buildings are old, no matter what they're used for.  It's got a certain style though, and I kind of like it.  I was thinking today how odd it will be to go back to the states and see clean windows, quiet doors, and smooth walls.
The only exceptions to the "Old Buildings Only" club they've got going on here are the giant business skyscrapers that have been built recently. I loved the architecture on this one.  A huge hundreds-of-feet building that somehow looks graceful. Huh.
Oh yeah. That's Janese chasing some random ducks we found in the park square.
This little garden reminded me of the "Dare to Be Different!" motivational poster. Props to the only yellow flower in the whole lot :)
This here happens to be statue that Janese affectionately named "Gillary"...

... because it was built on my birthday!!  What do you know, they were celebrating my birth in Europe two years before it even happened! 
Me celebrating the union of Gillary and Hillary.

After we kept walking, we came upon the Locks of Love Bridge!! This is a Lithuanian tradition that I love - couples will engrave their names and date on a lock and click it on this bridge, believing that their love will last as long as the lock stays.  From what I understand, they believe it so much that the city officials will never touch anything that's locked on the rails. 
One of the locks that was on the railings - as I was looking around, there were some locks I saw that had dates back to 2005.
The Locks of Love Bridge

Janese strutting her stuff whilst we adventured by the river
The Vilnius riverbank - though the water was brown and kind of disgusting looking, the river was still pretty! :)

It was a great exploration day!! We ended up getting back to the apartment around 12:30, early enough to get to lunch at the Kindergarten (which was so good, by the way. We had cabbage wraps with rich and meat inside!)  

Class itself was great as well!!  Here are some more Z quotes for the day:

"Horses are five legs!!! Oh wait. Just four."

Me - "Z, don't forget to write your name on your project!"
Z - "I can't."
Me - "Why not Z? I know you can write your name."
Z - "My name walked away to the seaside today."
Me - "Oh. Okay then."

Finished off the day with delicious European s'mores that Elise thought up, and packing for our trip TOMORROW!! We're leaving tomorrow night to head over to Tallinn and Riga for a 4 day trip!  Let the packing begin!

P.S. Carissa, I tried some of the aerated chocolate today! Though I'm pretty confident that European aerated chocolate beats anything Hershey could dish out :)

1 comment:

  1. I don't know the significance of the fountain, but it's definitely a fountain. ;)

    That park you were in looks like one we had a "Zone Blitz" in where, in a few hours, I set a personal record for most First Discussions taught on my mission. But, there are a lot of similar parks in Vilnius, so I could be wrong.

    HAVE SO MUCH FUN IN RIGA AND TALLIN!!! I am SO JEALOUS. Riga is MY city. (P.S. If you happen to find a matroshka doll with the story of the Gigantic Turnip painted on the belly, (in Riga) buy it for me and I'll pay you for it! Seriously.)