Follow by Email

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Feeling frisky

If there is one thing that my daughter has been consistent about, it's expressing her desire for the family to have a pet again, particularly if said animal is a cat. We had two cats in Taiwan that we left with one of my sisters-in-law when we moved to the U.S. In Shanghai we took in another feline from a State Department family that was leaving China, then found a home in the countryside for her when it was our time to depart. I grew up with cats, so I'm not against having them around the house (quite the contrary, actually), but transporting pets around the world is a costly, stressful exercise that I'd prefer not to have to deal with (especially since it usually falls on me to make most, if not, all of the arrangements). Still, there is a lot to be said for adding a cat to the household picture - there's something about the feline sleeping on the sofa, for example, that makes an abode feel truly like a home. My resolve against taking in a cat at this time is beginning to weaken, especially following yesterday's visit to Vilnius' best-known (or perhaps only) cat cafe, the imaginatively-named Cat Cafe, where Amber and I had lunch in the presence of fifteen-plus felines, three of whom shared our table with us while we ate:

Each table comes with a book giving the biographies (in Lithuanian, English and Russian) of most of the resident animals

Other than visiting cat cafes, the past couple of weeks have been pretty quiet. Snow has been falling intermittently, not as much or as often compared to the previous winter, but enough to still have some fun:

Yesterday was actually our second attempt to visit the Cat Cafe. The Sunday before we showed up in the early afternoon only to find a line to get in and the realization that a reservation would've been a good idea (lesson learned):

Instead, we had lunch at a nearby branch of Can Can, where dad nursed an Utenos and daughter tucked into a cat-shaped calzone:

Vilnius on a winter evening. The white building on the right is the Italian Embassy. Behind it is the Energy and Technology Museum, which Amber and I had visited earlier last month:

The 17th-century Artillery Bastion along with the restored Subačiaus gate, one of the few remaining sections of the old city walls that once encircled Old Town:

A sobering slab of pavement in front of the former KGB headquarters:

Other than visiting the Cat Cafe, not much else of note took place this weekend. I did go out for a walk this afternoon, "enjoying" the overcast skies and -2°C (-9°C with the wind chill) temperatures. I went inside the Church of the Holy Trinity (Uniates) and Basilian Monastery for the first time (after having found it closed when I stopped by last August), accessed through the Basilian Gate (18 meters/59 feet), designed in Baroque style in 1761 by J.K. Glaubitz, the most influential of Vilnius' late Baroque architects:

The Gothic church (with elements of Byzantine style) was erected in 1514. It was given to the Uniates in 1598, and was a secluded monastery until 1823 when it was turned into a prison by Tsarist authorities - the anti-Russian revolutionary Adam Mickiewicz was a "guest" there. The Russian Orthodox Church took control in the same century, and it wasn't until the end of 20th century that it was returned to the Uniates. Restoration work is an ongoing project and the interior is on the minimalist side, especially in comparison to Vilnius' at times over-the-top Baroque churches:

The Uniates are a Greek Catholic order that seek to unite the Eastern and Western churches. Mass in this church is held in the Ukrainian language, which probably explains the photographs of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution displayed on the northern wall:

A set of stone steps just in front of the altar led to a small underground chapel:

Even after nearly 21 months here, Old Town still has secrets from me.

A final word on felines: if we do end up with a cat at our next post, it stands to reason that it should be one like this:

By Karin Langner-Bahmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

1 comment:

  1. You should ask him to solve your issues with English grammar and spelling.