So how do you spend your first day back in Vilnius?
The morning was a struggle. I had a busy time the day before with travel, then a late night (2am local time by the time I got to bed), sunrise at 5am, not enough sleep and trying to adjust to the 2 hour time difference…
Eventually hunger got me out of the apartment at lunchtime (late breakfast time according to my body clock). I’m staying in the same neighbourhood as I did 3 years ago, so getting my bearings was easy. I found myself at a nearby branch of the Iki minimarket buying a sandwich and some basics for the fridge.
In the late afternoon I went for a long slow walk through the Senamiestis (Old Town) to the Independent Republic of Užupis, and then back by a different route. It was a beautiful day (sunny, 26⁰c and breezy) and the city wore it well.
My route took me along Šiaulių g. and I was struck by how typical that townscape is for that part of the city with its view of Vilniaus Visų Šventųjų bažnyčia (Vilnius All Saints Church – it’s Roman Catholic.)
In Užupis the Užupio Angelas (Užupis Angel) is a focal point. The bronze angel was created by sculptor Romas Vilčiauskas and has become symbolic of Užupis.
Emerging from the Independent Republic I paused by the statue of Adomas Mickevičius (1798–1855). He was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor of Slavic literature, and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. It’s a long story…
Next to the statue are Šv. Onos bažnyčia (St Anne’s Church) and Šv. Pranciškaus ir Šv. Bernardino bažnyčia (Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard) and in spite of being unmoved by churches, curiosity took me in.
On my way back to the apartment I noticed some unadorned 20th century heritage in Žemaitijos g. – Vilnius has a long Jewish association and history. 80,000 Vilnius Jews died in the Holocaust.
Then it was a quiet evening with dinner in the apartment, followed by an early night!
ⓒ iain taylor, 2018