Vilnius 2000      Last Updated: 13-May-03

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Airport

The flight from Kaunas to Vilnius - the Lithuanian Capital - took only 0.8 hours. We made it in well in time before the afternoon thunderstorm. The airport was quite different architecturally.

Rosi unpacking for our stay in Vilnius 
Tower and main passenger building in background  Main passenger entrance as seen from our hotel entrance 
Passenger terminal inside  Check out the ceiling  Our hotel court yard with tower in background 

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Downtown

Vilnius is quite a large city, with a very well restored downtown area. Only rarely did we see buildings that still needed serious work in downtown. While seeing numerous styles, we did not see a large number of very modern buildings. I remember Vilnius as the city of large gateways.
Right in the center of town in a large park is a hill with the remnants of a defense structure. From there, one has a great view of the city.

Detail of the opera, one of the view modern buildings 
Remaining outline of the former building?  Completed and just started work in progress 
City gate from outside  Same city gate from inside  Gate to courtyard of church  Gate to different church 
     
     
  Stencil of Previous (?) detail? 
   
   
   
   
   

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Frank Zappa

Imaging walking down a street and all of a sudden seeing a mural that is undeniably Frank Zappa. Upon closer inspection you also find a bust of Frank. That's what happened to us. (-or should I say: ME?)
So how did Frank end up here? The short story is that the bust was commissioned by the music academy in Vilnius, but upon completion the powers that be had decided that he will not be placed at the academy. So a new home had to be found, which was a little corner "park".
As far as we know it was the only public bust of Frank Zappa worldwide in 2000. - And may as well still be.

What a surprise  It definitely is him 
Detail  If I lived in the building behind, I would certainly provide the appropriate background music  Nice contrast! 

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Russian Embassy

One of our main goals in Vilnius was to get the Russian Visa for our visits to Kalinigrad and St. Petersburg. We took a taxi to the Embassy around lunch time. Since it didn't look like we would ever find a taxi there and we were quite unable to call for one ourselves, if the embassy was not cooperative in getting us a cab, we asked the driver to wait.
The embassy referred us to the visa service accross the walkway, where we then ended up waiting and paying for the visa for the next almost 5 hours. But we were successful. Both Rosi and I had a multiple entry visas valid for a few days around the date when we expected to arrive at the two places.
Roswitha checked roughly every hour with the taxi driver, and afterwards, we asked him to take us to the Geographical Center of Europe, which made the wait also somewhat worth while for him. Luckily the days are long this time of year.

Russian Embassy in Vilnius  Rosi in front of the main entrance 
Across the walkway from the main entrance is the entrance to the visa service 

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Europe's Geographical Center

As determined by the European Geographical Society, the geographical center of Europe is slightly North of Vilnius. Lithuania established a permanent outdoor Art Exhibit around the location in time for the start of 2000.

Huge outdoor park around the geographical center with Art Cafe 
The pyramid is the center, and around one can find plates with names and distances  Vatican 1731 km, Vienna 967 km, Bratislava 937 km 
Huge metal part helps rocks to defy gravity  Rosi is brave to stand under levitated rock 
Integration of art and nature  Rosi under huge sculpture  Roswitha next to huge chair 
Animism?  Colors  Horse in motion? 

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

Mexican Food

On our way to the hotel we suddenly found ourselves in front of a Mexican restaurant - and could not resist. It definitely was a restaurant for business folks, we felt very underdressed next to all the suits. The decorations were fun, the food had just a hint of Mexican influence (besides the name).

Rosi next to Cactus  Bar 
Illuminated glass cactus  Dessert Area  Guacamole 
4 Nachos for 4 US$, Enchiladas, Guacamole rest  Chile Relleno was listed as vegetarian, but had meat 

Airport        Downtown        Frank Zappa        Russian Embassy        Europe's Geographical Center        Mexican Food       

 

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