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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dreaming of a White Birthday


And she got one, as several centimeters of snow sits on the ground outside on the day my daughter turns twelve. One more year of childhood before Amber becomes a teenager. I'd like to make this moment last as long as possible before the inevitable comes...

It's been three weeks since we returned to Vilnius from our trip to Japan. It took about a week to get over the jet lag (it gets worse with age), but life is back to normal and our time in Yamaguchi 山口, Tsuwano 津和野, Hagi 萩, Shimonoseki 下関 and Fukuoka 福岡 is receding into the haze of pleasant memories. This will be our last winter in Lithuania before we leave in early summer and I've been making sure that my daughter and I, anyway, are getting out to enjoy it. Here is Amber enjoying a cup of hot chocolate at the Cathedral Square Christmas market on January 6. If you're wondering why the market was still around, the Orthodox Christmas Day was celebrated on January 7 (around 5% of Lithuanians are Eastern Orthodox believers):


Although temperatures have been consistently below freezing, there hasn't been much snow until recently. On one of the drier weekends just after the New Year, I took my daughter out to the site of Dubingiai Castle. Only the foundations of the 16th-century castle remain today, and the building housing them was closed on the day we visited. We still had a good time, though, tromping around the plateau upon which the castle once stood. A few fishermen and, incredibly, a couple of divers were out braving the freezing cold:

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All that remains of a Calvinist church erected in the early 17th century:




A house once stood behind where Amber is standing:



A traffic jam created by a flock of sheep crossing the road:


Enjoying a doughnut break at Holy Donut in Old Town. Note the Godzilla ゴジラ picture behind Amber:


What 8 o'clock on a weekday winter morning looks like from our living room:


Ice floes on the Neris River:


One of my daughter's favorite restaurants in Vilnius is Drama Burger. Each month the menu features an "experimental" burger - January's is Smoked Apple Cheddar, which turned out to be pretty good:


One of the more interesting places we've visited in Vilnius turned out to be the Energy and Technology Museum, across the Neris from Old Town and located behind the Italian Embassy (pictured below):



The museum is housed in Vilnius' first power station, which was in operation for a century beginning in 1903. While the first floor houses a decent collection of old cars and motorcycles...:



...it's the original machinery used for power generation that's the real attraction here:





Amber was dismissive of some of the "primitive" home entertainment technology on display. Millennials...:



The top floor features some pretty entertaining and informative hands-on/interactive exhibits. Despite the limited English signage, the museum is a great place to take the kids:



More ice floes in the Neris:


A little later than usual, but snow has finally fallen in earnest:


Standing under the Green Bridge. The statues mentioned in this web site sadly were removed before we arrived in Vilnius:


Outside the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption:



Church of St. Paraskeva:


Presidential Palace. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian Declaration of Independence:



Standing in front of the historical Vilnius Town Hall on a Friday evening:


A Saturday morning walk through the woods:



The bike trail may have been covered under a layer of snow but that didn't stop this cyclist from going out for a ride:


Chapel of St. Hyacinth (Jackus):


Enjoying a post-movie box of popcorn after seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi:


Celebrating her birthday with mussels at René:





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