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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nothing really

Your typical Old Town street scene

There's really nothing to report as this weekend comes to a close. We didn't go anywhere or do anything as a family, for several reasons: the weather frequently threatened to rain (and occasionally made good on those threats, even hailing briefly); it's tax time again; and I've started working on my annual performance review. The latter is an exercise in frustration (more so than doing taxes, if that can be believed) - it can make or break a career, yet like so many aspects of my present occupation, the original aim of providing an impartial evaluation of one's workplace activities in the past year (for purposes of promotion and potential) has degenerated into an exercise in making sure the right coded phrases are employed and all grammar and spelling mistakes have been eliminated, all the while blowing the proverbial self-horn. In any event, it's still too early in my career to start airing grievances about processes, so I'll move onto another topic and save the curmudgeonly complaints for when I either quit or retire.

So why post at all? Good question - the answer is mainly because I did go out a couple of times to take walks in Old Town, and so have a few photos to share. Hopefully the next post will have something more interesting to bring to the world's attention...

Friday was St. Patrick's Day. Like many Americans, I have quite of lot of Irish blood thanks to ancestors on both sides of the family, but I've never gotten into the habit of wearing something green every seventeenth of March. I'm also pretty sure Irish people are sick and tired of being told by Americans of how "Irish" the latter are. I would like to visit Ireland one of these days, but not before I've explored parts of the other ancestral homelands first (England and Scotland - coming this summer!). But while I skipped the green, I did get this picture of dawn breaking over Old Town on St. Patrick's Day:

St.  Nicholas Church (Šv Mikolajus bažnyčia) is Lithuania's oldest church, built by German Christians in 1320, at a time when the country was still pagan (the good old days). From 1901 to 1939 it was the only church in Lithuania where Mass was held in the local language:

I went inside to have a look on Sunday afternoon, but as there were still a lot of people (audibly) praying, I didn't take any photos. Besides, at this point, many church interiors are beginning to look alike. Here's an image from the Internet:

Pre-war Vilnius had a thriving Jewish community, but we know what sadly eventually became of it. Reminders can pop up unexpectedly, like these photographs on the outside of a library that stood in the Vilna ghetto:

The view from near the Subačiaus Gate. The white building in the center is the Orthodox Cathedral of the Theotokos:

A raucous post-St. Patrick's Day soiree on Saturday afternoon at the Užupio kavinė:

The early-15th century Church of the Holy Spirit (Šv Dvasios bažnyčia) is a riot of late-Baroque colors:

By contrast, the nearby Church of Our Lady of the Assumption looks very austere, not to mention on the point of collapse. It was erected by the Franciscans in the 15th century, and later used as a hospital for the French army in 1812, and then as the location of the state archives from 1864 to 1989 (with a break from 1934 to 1949). It was returned to the Franciscans in 1998 and is currently undergoing restoration:

Apparently, it's a slow process as the interior of the church looks for the most part, um, unfinished, with the exception of one area to the left as you face the altar, and where there was a small group of devotees engaged in prayer. Which is why I didn't take any photographs inside the church (the fact a priest was right in front of me also was a bit off-putting), so I cribbed another pic from the Internet:

I'll end this with yet another typical Old Town street scene, this one taken near the Ministry of Defense building:

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