Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Uzupis and Ukeleles

Started off the day right with a trip to Maxima as I aspired to be a good little apartment contributor and take a turn buying toilet paper. Unfortunately, I was feeling optimistic and tried to buy some toilet paper that I thought was on sale and grabbed a bag. Result? I practically managed to shut down the entire section of the store as I tried to understand why the cashier register lady was trying to charge me 77 Lts for toilet paper, whilst she misunderstood my question and kept leaving the line to bring me back more. It was quite a morning.

After conquering the toilet paper scenario (I just gave up and bought the normal stuff), I ran home just in time to grab my bag and book it to the bus stop with Elise and Bailey. Destination: cultural blacksmith shop in Užupis.
Elise, gallantly leaping over the friendly Vilnius water scenery

The Užupis mermaid - she is built into the wall right under the main bridge over Vilnia river, and is said to cast a spell on everyone who walks into Užupis.  If you end up loving Užupis so much that you stay, you are said to have fallen under her spell.
Once we crossed over into Užupis territory, we decided to take a pit stop at the famous Užupis cafe, sitting on the porch extending over River Vilnia.

While there, look at THIS little treasure we discovered on the menu! According to Bailey and Elise, it's actually quite good...

Loving on their Angry Bird Soft Drink Franchise.
 After finishing eating, we decided to make our way to the blacksmith we'd heard about.  I was reading through Areil's Lonely Planet guidebook for Lithuania, and it mentioned a blacksmith shop in Užupis, complete with demonstrations every week! Geared up and ready for some culture, we all made our way down there, only to discover an asterik that said "*demonstrations by appointment only*". Phooey. We tried.  However, the blacksmith shop was only about the size of our kitchen, and probably would have seared our eyebrows off if it got to hot in that little room anyway.  Blessing in disguise?

Determined to still enjoy our day in Užupis, we wandered around for a bit, and even found a random clothing shop branded "Touched by Alice". Sounds artsy and fancy right? Well, it was, right up till we discovered "Alice" was from Wonderland, and the tags had pictures of this strange character on it:
I'd feel a bit uncomfortable wearing clothing from "Touched by Alice", knowing this guy was hiding out behind my neck all day. Those eyebrows...
Anyway, the rest of Užupis was pretty fun :)
Problem - these dang Soviet apartments don't have enough room for all an art studio anda kitchen. Solution - put your kitchen on the roof! Brilliant.

Loved this courtyard!! Ivy going across all the courtyard walls, and iron catwalks.

It was a beautiful look.
After coming back from Užupis, we headed over to the school for teaching times!!

Today's class consisted of a couple things:
1) A tired teacher who really didn't have enough energy to control that many kids.
2) Crazy children who were all hyped out about... well, anything really.
3)  An idea to keep the kids occupied
4)  A couple of kitchen towels. 
And... voila! Bean bag volleyball. With towels. And no volleyball net. Whatever. The kids loved it :)
Grand finale, movie night with the other teachers!

P.S. Notice that contrary to what my post title may lead you to believe, there was nothing remotely related to ukeleles throughout my day.  Turns out, Bailey just so happened to be playing her ukelele in the other room while I was brainstorming cleaver titles, and voila! Completely unrelated post title.

P.P.S. In honor of the date, a movie:
WARNING: Particularly grouchy Muggles and those with no sense of humor (or appreciation of bad wigs) might not approve of this message.  Luckily, I'm not friends with those people.

P.P.P.S. To clarify my previous postscript, today is Harry Potter's birthday :)


  1. So I think I need to take a photography class before I go back to the Baltics. I'd love to take pics as amazing as yours! :) And, I, apparently, need to plan for an entire day in Uzupis.

  2. Ha! It's not hard to take good pictures when the area is naturally so beautiful :) as for uzupis - you definetly could spend a day there, though it would mostly be spent exploring. Not very many places there make itself blatantly obvious, but you can find them if you dig around. For example, we discovered an underground antique shop with dozens of various music boxes and Aubrey hepburns perfume. That was exciting :)