Fall in Lithuania is a beautiful time of the year, but the season is a fleeting one - snow is already in the forecast for next weekend. We had some beautifully clear days earlier in the week, but the weekend took a turn for the worse, with Saturday being rainy and Sunday cloudy and cold. Still, windows of opportunity don't remain open for very long, so on Sunday I dragged my daughter off of the sofa (and prying her away from her laptop) to go with me for a walk in the Lithuanian countryside. Earlier this month we traversed the easy Dūkštų Ąžuolynas Cognitive Trail; today we returned to the same parking lot but tackled the longer and hillier Dūkšta Upė Valley Cognitive Trail. It was a crisp 33°F (0.6°C) as we got out of the car; Amber checks out a sign tallying how many animals were killed along the road in 2016:
An interesting feature of the trail is the Bradeliškių hillfort, one of 800 such mounds in Lithuania. This hill was first settled more than two thousand years ago and was used in the fight against crusaders and the Livonian Order, before being abandoned after these wooden castles lost their importance following the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. The view from the top of the hillfort:
Strolling through the Eastern European countryside and taking in the fall foliage:
Looking out from the top of another hillfort:
Ruins of more recent origin:
The walk took about 2½ hours and covered around five kilometers. We'll be doing more of these, weather permitting.
On Saturday, with Amber over at a friend's apartment for the afternoon, my wife and I went out for lunch on a rare date night...er, afternoon in Old Town, and to a Mediterranean restaurant called Saint Germain:
Lunch for me consisted of mushroom soup and zander, pike perch baked with olives, pine nuts, potatoes and tomatoes:
Due to a mix-up involving appetizers, we were given complimentary glasses of Lithuanian homemade ice wine:
The wall opposite the restaurant is lined with small artworks, part of the Literatų Street Project:
Did I mention it's autumn in Vilnius? These photos were taken earlier in the week on Tauro kalnas (aka "Bull Mountain"):
Coming up: spending our daughter's fall break from school in Prague. Stay tuned...