Vilnius, the regal capital of Lithuania, is a city of sedate parks, soaring church spires, and twisting alleys of contradictions. Stern Orthodox cathedrals neighbor with the rebellious spirit of the Uzupis Republic, which declared independence from Vilnius in 2000. Whimsical art, like teapots bursting from shop walls and crocheted trees, mingle with staid Neoclassical facades hiding somber secrets of Lithuania’s tragic Communist past. Cafes bustle with nationalist fervor as the country cheered on Lithuania’s basketball at the London Olympics, spilling into parks as waitresses dodged cars to serve drinks as hot air balloons hovered overhead.
This is a city that pulses with energy and secrets. Just when I thought I knew Vilnius, I stumbled across one more side to her character, such as classical Hollywood movies dubbed in Lithuanian under the stars or locals crossing themselves in the street as they passed beneath the Gates of Dawn into the Old Town as a morning hymn wafted out of the tiny chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
To enjoy my photo slide show, click on the link below.