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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Not being unorthodox this weekend

Fall is in the air

The waiting game continues. It won't be until the end of this month at the earliest when I'll learn where we'll be going next. What is clear, however, is that this is our last autumn in Lithuania. As you can see from the photo above and the pics below, the leaves have already changed color, but fall is only a brief period in the Baltics, and it won't be long before our last winter in Vilnius begins, bringing with it frigid temperatures, icy sidewalks and grey skies. I'm hoping my next post will be situated in a climate where I won't need to worry about slipping, falling and possibly breaking something in the process each time I step outside.

In the meantime, however, there's autumn to enjoy...only it would be more enjoyable if it wasn't raining a lot of the time. Fortunately, the sun chose to make an appearance this Sunday, so I dragged my daughter away from her computer and took her into Old Town to visit the Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit (Stačiatikių Šv. Dvasios Cerkvė), Lithuania's main Russian Orthodox Church. No, I'm not trying to convert Amber to Orthodoxy; rather, I thought she might find the interior of the pink-domed, 17th-century church to be impressive, which she did (and it was). For me, I wanted to check out the preserved bodies of Sts. Anthony, Ivan and Eustachius, all of whom were hanged from an oak tree in Vilnius in the 14th century when they refused to renounce their faith. Their remains are housed in a glass case in the reliquary from which their feet can be seen, a sight my daughter found to be more than a little creepy. The saints are depicted in a painting over the doorway at the front of the church:

The above two shots are the extent of the photos I took of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, for Russian Orthodox churches often seem to have issues with people taking photographs inside their houses of worship. Which is why I've taken the liberty of cribbing the following pictures from the Wikipedia entry on the Church of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Internet:

 Credit: Alma Pater

 Credit: Lestat

 Credit: Krzysztof Mizera

 Credit: Fczarnowski

I take full credit, however, for this shot of Amber relaxing with a strawberry smoothie afterward, taken in the Vaga cafe and bookshop on Pilies gatvė:

Last Monday was Columbus Day, a federal holiday, meaning I had the day off, though my daughter didn't. It wasn't much of a holiday in the sense that I still had to wake up at 5:45 in the morning to take Amber to her swimming practice. I like to think that I'm progressive enough to support replacing Columbus Day with an Indigenous Peoples' or First Nations Day (like in Canada), but selfish enough that I'm fine with anything as long as I don't lose a paid day off from work.

In any event, I didn't do much on the holiday except take an early morning walk through Old Town and snap a few photos of Old Town covered in fog from the top of Gediminas Hill:

A black cat grooms itself by one of the walls of the Upper Castle atop the hill:

Shorter days mean being able to watch dawn break from our living room window while having breakfast:

A creepy angel figure lurking deep in the woods of the Verkiai Regional Park:

Did I mention fall has arrived in Vilnius?:

On Saturday afternoon I was walking past the VCUP shopping mall when I passed a man who could only be described as the Lithuanian Lemmy (cowboy hat, long hair, beard, leather jacket). A few minutes later, I noticed this van in the parking lot:

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