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Monday, April 23, 2018

Vilnius visitations

Trakai

You may have noticed a lack of activity recently on this blog. A long spell of gastrointestinal difficulties forced me to miss significant chunks of work time, and prevented me from venturing too far from home on the weekends. Fortunately, I'm over the worst of it, and just in time, too, as we played host this past weekend to two good friends who were visiting from Belgium. It was great to see Barbara and Jeff again, and next weekend I'll return the favor by visiting them in their new home in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana. That will be the subject of a later blog post; for this one, enjoy a few pics of our friends' first venture into the Balkans...

Taking care of business. Soon after their arrival in Vilnius on Friday afternoon, I took them to see the most important sight in the city (and arguably the entire country) - the Frank Zappa Memorial:


Three reasons why I ended up staying out until one in the morning on Saturday, something this old geezer hasn't done in a long while (at the BeerHouse & Craft Kitchen)...:


...and thus necessitating both an espresso and a cappuccino later on Saturday morning at Taste Map Coffee Roasters:


Checking out some insects stuck in eternity at the Amber Museum-Gallery:


In front of Vilnius Cathedral. Jeff thought I was joking when I told him he could throw a rock anywhere in Old Town and have a high probability of hitting the side of a church. A walk through the streets soon convinced him I was serious:



Recreating the original Putin-Trump mural (not the current spliff version) on the exterior of the Keulė Rūkė barbecue restaurant:


On Sunday we drove to Trakai to visit the castle there:



When in Lithuania, do as the tourists, which in Trakai means eating Karaite pastries at Senoji Kibininė:

One is mutton, the other venison. I can't recall which was which

Kibininės beer

Back in Vilnius, we joined the crowds to see the cherry blossoms at the Chiune Sugihara Sakura Park (Č. Sugiharos sakurų parkas):







 サクラ



My daughter checks out the memorial to 杉原千畝, the Japanese diplomat  whose actions saved the lives of an estimated 6000 Jews desperate to escape the Nazis in 1940:


Following dinner, Amber and Shu-E returned home, while Barbara, Jeff and I retired to the Sky Bar, on the 22nd floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva, for a nightcap and to take in the views of Vilnius after dark:







The spicy Baltic Spritz, combining "caraway flavours from Estonian Kritallkümmel liqueur, blackcurrant flavours from Latvian Riga Black Balzams Currant liqueur and raspberry flavours from Lithuanian Gintaras Sinas fruit wine", and topped up with soda water:



Monday morning and early afternoon was the chance for our visitors to do some Lithuanian linen shopping and enjoy having lunch outdoors in the sunshine at Alinė Leičiai before their late afternoon flight back to Brussels:


Last weekend Vilnius, next weekend Ljubljana. Stay tuned...



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