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A Glimpse of Old Vilnius

overcast 5 °C

Vilnius - This once Communist capital city has more bling on its store shelves than we have loo rolls in our dollar stores. The wide tree-lined boulevards are home to the ritziest of couturiers, perfumeries, jewellers and purveyors of diamond knick-knacks. We are among the many who would have to ask the price before we bought. For instance: two thousand dollars seems to be the starting price for a pair of flimsy sling-back stilettos in one shoe emporium, (the word “shop” seems too prosaic here). These are the magnificent buildings along the main shopping street...
But behind the fancy facades, haughty hotels and haute cuisine restaurants, there is a labyrinth of winding cobbled streets that once formed the Jewish ghettos...
The ghettos have been tarted up and no longer show the scars of the Nazi horrors that occurred here, and there are many handsome little shops specialising in all manner of local products, especially amber and linen. These are a couple of cute flower shops...
As we walk the narrow backstreets we sometimes glimpse an older, more secluded, world, through ancient archways. The atmospheric courtyards hidden behind the posh frontages still have memories of a much darker time, although they are brightened by the colourful autumn foliage...
This part of the world has been fought over for millennia and it is still on the front lines between the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and Belarus, so it is difficult to know what is original and what has been rebuilt. The Russian Orthodox church (circa 1345) has been rebuilt so many times that Czar Peter I who visited in 1705 wouldn't recognise the place today...
Vilnius has much to offer but, as in the other Baltic States, we have been a little disappointed that so many of the people serving us are clearly graduates of Kim Jon-un's North Korean School of Diplomacy. However, we enjoyed our time in the Baltics and enjoyed learning about the famous Lithuanian Sakotis – a multi-occasion celebration cake that is made on a spit,,,
Now we are flying south to Warsaw in the hope of catching up with the retreating sun.

Posted by Hawkson 08:21 Archived in Lithuania

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Wonderful. I would never have thought that Vilnius would have been this interesting.

by keith

Thanks for the peek into Vilnius. Hope you catch that sun. We are expecting heavy winds and rain for the next couple of days.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Love the old buildings, from the outside. Love the narrow streets too with the flowers.

by Janet

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