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Lithuania

Vilnius Day 2

Lithuania

Our second full day in Vilnius we went to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, also commonly referred to as the KGB Museum, and stumbled across a street fair in the main area of Vilnius. We also did some shopping as Vilnius is famous for amber and linen.

The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights is located in the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius. Tourists are able to see the prison within the complex (which was in the basement) and where executions were carried out as well as learn about the Lithuanian people's fight for independence from occupation. It was interesting to see how the building was designed especially how the KGB wired the building to conduct its activities in Lithuania. The museum also pays tribute to Lithuania Jews who were killed during World War II. It was an overall very impressive museum!

Museum website: http://genocid.lt/muziejus/en/

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Some of the placards describing the prison conditions:
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After the museum, we stumbled across a street fair that ran through the main thoroughfare from Cathedral Square. It was really cool. There were local artisans and food tents and live music, such a great experience. We also did a bit of shopping for amber and linen, which Lithuania is known for.

Vilnius was absolutely fantastic and I would go back in a heartbeat. It is a neat city, with a lot to do, very walkable and economical. Vilnius was not initially on our "must see list" in Europe but we are so very happy we made it to the city. The city is definitely one of my favorite places we've visited so far.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 23:29 Archived in Lithuania Tagged churches and of museum vilnius freedom fights occupation kgb Comments (2)

Vilnius Day 1

Lithuania

On our first full day in Vilnius we hit the ground running. We managed to see the Gate of Dawn (which was just outside of our AirBnb), Cathedral Square (Vilnius Cathedral and Palace of the Dukes) Gediminas Tower (which provided great views of Old Town Vilnius and the New Town area), the National Museum of Lithuania, St. Anne's Church, Bernardus Park, and The Bastion. We also managed to walk through Užupis, which is a Bohemian, artsy area of Vilnius.

But before we get to all of that, we ate breakfast at Gusto Blynine, which was right outside of our AirBnb and specialized in pancakes and crepes. It was a really cute restaurant, take a look at the fun decor!
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Walking right outside of our AirBnb was The Gate of Dawn. It was built between 1503 and 1522 as a part of defensive fortifications for the city of Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Of ten city gates, only the Gate of Dawn remains, today. The Chapel in the Gate of Dawn contains an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, believed to have miraculous powers. For centuries the picture has been one of the symbols of the city and an object of veneration for both Roman Catholic and Orthodox inhabitants.
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We took a stroll through Town Hall Square and made our way to Cathedral Square, where we went to Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas' Tower, the National Museum of Lithuania, and the Palace of the Dukes. Cathedral Square was very cool and laid out quite well.

Vilnius Cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius, is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. The coronations of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania took place within the church and many famous people from Lithuanian and Polish history are buried inside its crypts and catacombs.

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From the Cathedral, we did a short hike up the hill next to the church to reach Gediminas' Tower. The Tower is the remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first wooden fortifications were built by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. The first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. The three-floor tower was rebuilt in 1933 by Polish architect Jan Borowski. There are spectacular views of Old Town Vilnius and New Town Vilnius from the tower.
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These are some views from the tower of Old Town and New Town which are separated by Neris River.
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Next, we looped around to the National Museum of Lithuania. This was a fantastic museum and the docents were really friendly. There were some great displays and artifacts here. The museum also had great information on this history of the Lithuanian people.
Museum website: http://www.lnm.lt/en/
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After the National Museum of Lithuania we stopped at a really cute bagel shop for a quick bite before walking to St. Anne's Church, which is a beautiful red brick church.
Bagel shop
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St. Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River established around 1495-1500.
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St. Francis of Assisi (Bernardine) Roman Catholic Church is co-located next to St. Anne's Church. The Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Vilnius.
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After touring Bernadine Church, we took a casual stroll through Bernadine Park, near the church.
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We rounded out the day by strolling through Uzupis, the Bohemian part, of Vilnius and finding The Bastion.
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The Bastion is part of the Vilnius Defensive Wall, often called “barbican”. It is a Renaissance-style fortification characterized by its original construction. It consists of a tower installed in the city defence wall, underground gun ports and a connecting corridor, which turns into a 48-metre long tunnel. The Bastion was built in the first half of the 17th century by the German military engineer, Friedrich Getkant.
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Onto Vilnius Day 2...

Posted by LCP 01:08 Archived in Lithuania Tagged of town square new cathedral old st dawn gate hall bastion vilnius lithuania gemeninas annes Comments (2)

Vilnius

Lithuania

Our next adventure took us to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. I must admit, Lithuania was not originally on our must see list, but I heard so many people say what a wonderful time they had there. I also read a CNN article about how Vilnius was a great weekend getaway, not to mention economical. We absolutely LOVED Vilnius!! It is such a cool city and reminds me of quintessential European cities with the architecture there. Not to mention any city that you can deplane, pass through customs/immigration, and be at your AirBnb in under 45 minutes, is amazing! Also, Vilnius has Uber which we used to and from the airport for under 10€ each way. It is a very walkable city and we walked everywhere and it was also extremely economical (breakfast for two was 15€!). Most entry fees to museums and sites of interest were around the 5€ point. Vilnius was also very clean and you saw lots of people out and about exercising or walking around.

CNN article: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/most-affordable-city-break-europe-2019/index.html

We stayed in a fantastic AirBnb in the heart of Old Town Vilnius. Our host had awesome recommendations for places to checkout and eat at during our visit. We spent two full days exploring the city and a half day before our flight left on departure day. Once again, we used Ryanair for flights and had no issues with our flights.

AirBnb: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/3834725?source_impression_id=p3_1568645084_29wyXDPVlfxXRRFZ
Exposed brick of the AirBnb, really interesting. The place used to be an old monastery:
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A few fun facts about Lithuania before I get to the good stuff. Basketball is very popular in Lithuania. Cepelinai (dumplings made from grated and riced potatoes and stuffed with ground meat or dry curd cheese or mushrooms) is probably one of the most famous Lithuania dishes and it is delicious! And easter eggs are not brought by cute, fluffy bunnies, granny Velykų Bobute delivers them; bunnies just help her decorate the eggs and load her cart.

I will probably break the Lithuania posts up into separate posts due to the sheer volume of pictures.

Lithuania flag
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Views of Vilnius:
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Some of the many churches in Vilnius
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Overall, we had an excellent time in Vilnius and I would absolutely return. It is such an interesting city, so easy to get around and very economical. Onto Vilnius Day 1...

Posted by LCP 00:28 Archived in Lithuania Tagged churches town old vilnius lithuania basketball cepelinai Comments (3)

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