Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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Coffee shops on every corner

p1030939The first thing I noticed in the centre of Vilnius and the Old Town was the abundance of coffee shops.

They are on every street corner, often opposite each other. Probably more coffee shops than churches.

A few years ago one opened in the Europa shopping centre, Double- Coffee I think it was called but it didn’t last. Times have changed.

p1000774When I lived in Kaunas for a while I got to like Vero Cafe which later arrived in Vilnius. It reminds me of Costa at home in the UK. The one at the end of Gedimino is still there which is where I went for my first cup.

p1030950I was asked if I wanted Brazilian or Indonesian coffee and I realised that they now sold Orang Utang organic coffee – just like the coffee they sell in my favourite coffee shop back home in Burnley Lancashire.

And there is now one at the bottom of Pilies g. near Bernardiniu g. en route to our hotel the Shakespeare.

I vaguely remembered that there used to be a nice wine bar in the vicinity and wondered if this was the same place. However they told me it hadn’t been a wine bar latterly.

Undaunted I went into the back room and checked out the vaulted ceiling – and it was the same place.p1030940

p1000849And there’s a Coffee Inn directly opposite, although I didn’t sample their coffee because of the long queue (was that a good sign or just poor service?).

If you walk towards Gedimino there is another where a bank used to be on the corner, opposite Vero Cafe.

p1000889Walk back and a little further up Pilies g. and there’s a coffee shop in the bookshop on the left with a nice wall display as a backdrop.

Vilnius isn’t short of good coffee shops that’s for sure. And wine bars too, but that’s another story.

PS Coffee is good for you

Graffiti still an eyesore in Vilnius

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Since my last visit 2 years ago the graffiti in Vilnius seems to have got worse. Side streets off Pilies street in the old town are particular target areas.p1000848 p1000806 p1000799 p1000758 p1000757 p1000756 p1000755 p1000754

One or two look like they have some artistic merit but the majority are just tags. And some are dated 2015 which suggests they’ve been there at least a year.

Surely someone sees people doing it. Does no-one care? It certainly hasn’t improved since last time I posted about it.

Old Town Vilnius

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All these places I know so well. I can’t wait to get back there in 2015

Lost Postcards

My first four days in Lithuania were spent visiting my in-laws at their home in a small town called Alytus. Despite the fact that Lithuania has a lot of natural beauty (Alytus being no exception) with many lakes and forests — it is in stark contrast to the lifeless cement buildings that fill the towns.  Unfortunately, these depressing grey buildings are left over from the Soviet era and are common in Lithuania. It wasn’t until we left for Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, did I truly realize just how grey the town was.

It took over an hour to drive from Alytus to Vilnius and I had fallen asleep on the way there. When I woke – all I could see were vivid red, pink and orange buildings everywhere.  Buildings in so many different styles, gothic, baroque, neo-classic lined up the banks of the two rivers (the Vilnia and the Neris) that…

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The Church of St Parasceve in Vilnius

DSC00220DSC00268This attractive little Russian Orthodox Church, the Church of St Parasceve (or Piatnickaya in Russian) is situated at Ribiskiu Didzioji 2 behind the outdoor market place at the top of Pilies g.before it becomes Didžioji g. and seems to be in regular use.

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It has been rebuilt several times and has an interesting history some of which is described on the plaque outside the church.

In the early 1960s it was used as a Lithuanian Folk Art Museum.

The Soviet regime wanted it to be a Museum of Atheism (they liked to disparage religion in their soviet republics) although in this case it might have been appropriate as the church is said to have been built on the site of a temple to the pagan god Ragutis, one of three gods associated with beer and brewing in the Baltics.

It was reconsecrated as a Russian Orthodox church on 31 May 1991.

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Graffiti – sheer vandalism & nothing artistic about it

Graffiti seems to be the scourge of modern cities.DSC00038

Bernardiniu street which runs off the bottom end of  Pilies street in the old town seems particularly susceptible to the work of these vandals (who have also broken off the teapots fastened to the wall at the shop on the corner of these two streets).DSC00041 DSC00040 DSC00039

Other street also suffer from this vandalism.

What amazes me is how nobody sees anyone doing it? Most are scribbles (I think they call them tags and that’s what they should be wearing) but some will have have taken quite a long time to do.

The Vilnius authorities deserve credit for painting over these from time to time as you can see but it must be a thankless task.


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Russian speaking buskers sang me a Ukrainian folk song

I’ve posted about street musicians in Vilnius before and actually mentioned these musicians but I’d mislaid my video film until now.

After chatting to them they were kind enough to perform a Ukrainian folk song I’d been taught by my friends in Ukraine when I visits it several times a few years ago.

Given everything that is happening over there now I thought it was worth posting this.