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Exploring more of Vilnius


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large_5550_14712860963835.jpgWhen Lithuania joined NATO, Bush gave a speech to this effect which made them feel special. But he gave a similar speech to other countries that joined NATO too.
Ii woke early due to the time zone which I had just come from. Breakfast was self-catered from the supermarket. I went for another walk around old town to try cover areas which I hadn’t yet touched, then got some food from the supermarket for a park-bench lunch.

At midday I joined he free walking tour starting at the Town Hall. There was a large crowd so it had to be split into several groups. I was led by a young lady Milda (a pagan name).

We went to German St (where the Germans originally settled), the Jewish (where very little remains), the quiry “Republic” of Uzopia (where the parliament is a pub and the constitution was written over a few drinks), the University area and finally Cathedral square.

I got to see a few places which I hadn’t discovered on my own. But more interestingly were the insights I got from Milda, which included:

1. Lithuania and the Baltics were the last areas in Europe to be Christianised.large_5550_14712860943324.jpgGate of Dawn.

2. In the country, the minorities of Russians and Poles are 6% each but within Vilnius itself minorities are more significant. However, Lithuania doesn’t have a sizeable Russian population as in Latvia and Estonia.

3. Surprisingly, Milda says she can’t distinguish between Lithuanians and Russians if they didn’t say anything. I thought I personally could have a good guess. In Latvia, people may be more experienced at this, and those I asked said that they could have a very good guess.

4. The Lithuanian language along with Latvian are the last remaining ones in their little family. They’re not mutually intelligible; some words are same/similar but you not at a sentence level.large_5550_14712861103638.jpgInside the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn; the icon of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn.The language was banned during Soviet times.

5. Lithuanian has always been written in the Roman script (rather than Cyrillic). I said “That makes sense as it is a Catholic rather than Orthodox country” (eg. Serbia writes in Cyrillic while Croatia in Roman). She thought about it and said “Yes, but I had never thought about it that way”.

After a rest I had dinner at Cili Pizza of two ginourmous potato dumplings. There was time to fit in a free organ concert at St Casimir’s which was very over-subscribed (many standing) before an early night to bed.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Lithuania

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