It got busy last week at work, especially as the workweek was coming to a close. That's what happens sometimes when the end of the workday in Lithuania unfortunately roughly corresponds to the beginning of the day in Washington, D.C. Anyone who works at an overseas branch of a multi-national corporation could probably sympathize. On the other, on weekends I still have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks before my daughter and wife come back from visiting family in Taiwan. It can be a challenge trying to give myself something creative to do, but this past Saturday I think I managed to use the time well. My Lonely Planet guidebook to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has a suggested walking route through Old Town it describes as "The Best of Vilnius". I've seen most of the sights already, but I thought it would be interesting to combine the course with a bicycle ride, something I haven't done since before our trip in late June to the United Kingdom. The weather on Saturday turned out to be ideal for just such an excursion, so in the late morning I rode down to Cathedral Square, the starting point for the city
Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit. I've previously photographed the exterior, but I haven't gone inside yet as Orthodox churches aren't always so camera-friendly.
St. Teresa's Church, where a wedding was taking place on Saturday afternoon. A beautiful day for it.
Museum of Genocide Victims. The names of some of the victims executed inside by the KGB are inscribed on the exterior walls.
Lithuanian National Opera & Ballet Theater. I've been critical of this Soviet-era building, both for its design and for the way it clashes with nearby Gedimino Prospektas and Old Town. I was astonished, however, to learn that my Lithuanian language teacher thought it was attractive.
According to the guidebook, I rode almost 5 kilometers, which doesn't sound like much, except that a good portion of the route is on cobblestoned streets, which played havoc with my knees. In any event, I'm now prepared to play tour guide in the event someone pays a visit to Vilnius.
On Saturday night, with nothing better to do, I did most of the course for a second time, this time on foot, covering almost the entire route except for the last part across the Neris. It was a beautifully lit evening, though my camera wasn't able to capture the full moon in all its lunar glory:
And this is how I discovered that Vilnius has a very active nightlife, with restaurants and bars packed and spilling out onto the streets well after midnight. Lithuania's capital looks like it could be a fun place in which to spend your twenties!