Sunday, April 29, 2007

Forever Amber

Views from Gedimino Hill

Up early and out the door, I walked Bondi through the park behind the cathedral. It's a lovely spot, close to where the Vilnia runs into the larger Neris river. I just wish I didn't have to walk so far along it to take a picture without plastic bags and chairs populating the image. Bondi was less reluctant and waded in to get a drink from the shallow centre of the water, and then to strike a characteristic pose, looking upstream and enjoying the water running past.

A dip in the Vilnia (running into the Neris nearby) for a drink

River Neris

The Republic; artist warns against perils of Lithuanian Scrabble.

A little futher along we encountered bridges leading to the Uzupio neighbourhood, which declared itself an independent republic about 10 years ago. The bridges have locks fastened to the sides, affixed by newlyweds as a symbol of their union - the key is dispatched into the waters.

Skyscrapers away!; locks on the bridge

After looking in some of the Amber museums and shops that dominate the streets of the old town, we had a snack at a cafe on Pilies Street. A solitary trumpeter up the street was practising busking, and in the middle of "Strangers in the Night" I cheekily told a table full of guys from Aberdeen to stand for the Lithuanian national anthem.

On the other side of the river Neris, is "new" Vilnius, with glass office blocks and malls rising over some grim old concrete structures. New Vilnius seems to turn its back on the river, a phenomenon I've noticed in Pisa, Derry and many other places. Thinking also the big malls in Proprad, it's like the designers want a nice backdrop to their structures, but this means the river/forest/mountains get the arse-end of the building up against them: car-parks and loading docks; customers are whisked away like Morlock consumers to avoid the potential beauties outside.

Cathedral caught flying a kite; Is that a glint in the eye, or the moon?

Always waiting by the door

And some more pictures here, from a very diligent Swede.

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