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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wait till next year

It's Mother's Day this weekend*, but this year I'm not in much of a celebratory mood. For once, I'm glad my wife usually doesn't get too enthused with these kinds of celebrations, though I'm sure that next year I'll be back to forcing her to accept a present from her daughter and then going out to have lunch or dinner with her family. For now, though, the weekend of the second Sunday of May has been just another two-day break from school and work.

That doesn't mean we were idle this weekend, however, The weather on Saturday was sunny and warm, and much welcome from the early spring snow flurries we've been experiencing in Vilnius the past couple of weeks. Amber and I took our bicycles out of hibernation in the afternoon, beginning in Old Town:

Posing with the tourists on Pilies gatvė

Bernardine Church & Monastery

Pausing along the side of St Anne's Church

In Cathedral Square

Taking a break inside Gedimino 9. Doughnut courtesy of Donut Lab; milk tea brought to us by Formosa

In front of Parliament House

A pyramid-shaped map depicting the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as it looked in the 15th century (curiously overlaid onto a current European political map), when it was the largest state in Europe

West of Gedimino Prospektas and across the Neris River stands the Russian Orthodox Church of the Saint Virgin's Apparition (Знаменская церковь), which I had earlier misidentified in this post as being the Romanov Church. I stand corrected:

Nearby stands a kenessa, a traditional Karaite prayer house, dating from 1911:

Crossing the Neris and returning to New Town, but not before stopping to hear the bells ringing in the Church of the Saint Virgin's Apparition:

This wedding hall on Kalinausko gatvė was built in 1974, when Lithuania was an unwilling member of the USSR. It's actually featured in a coffee table book I own on Soviet-era architecture:

Hot-air balloons, the clearest harbinger of spring in Vilnius:

On Sunday the three of us ended up doing something sort of related to Mother's Day (after Amber had given Shu-E a homemade card in the morning after breakfast) - we drove 90 minutes northwest from Vilnius to Burbiškio dvaras, a complex in the middle of nowhere that (according to its website) includes a restaurant and a cigar room. This weekend it was host to a tulip festival, and the warm weather brought out the bulbs...and the visitors:

Being a festival, there was food and music, of course:

We also took a stroll around the grounds:

Before heading back to Vilnius, we made a short detour to Kleboniškiai, home to an 1884 windmill:

A stork sighting near the windmill. Lithuania is home to 13,000 pairs, the highest-density stork population in Europe:

Apparently change comes slowly to rural Lithuania:

Back in Vilnius, I took my daughter out for tacos at No Forks on Vokiečių gatvė. Amber was apparently not clear on the concept behind the restaurant:

Happy Mother's Day to all, and hope to see you next year...

*Mother's Day is on the first Sunday of May in Lithuania, but we follow the American calendar at home

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