Posted by: Mary | March 3, 2011

Goodbye Latvia, Hello Lithuania!

On Wednesday, I caught a flight from Riga to Vilnius. The morning was cold and overcast with a bit of “misting” rain. When I arrived in Vilnius, I caught the bus from the airport to the Opera, and then had a 10 minute walk to my hotel. Under normal circumstances, this doesn’t seem very long, even pulling a rolling suitcase. However, when you’re pulling that suitcase through snow and slush, it feels a lot longer!

I found the hotel with no problems and was pleased to see that it is in very close proximity to the cathedral and castle. After checking in and dropping my luggage, I still had about 2.5 hours before things closed, so I headed first to the cathedral, which is awe-inspiring in its size(see photo above for a partial view). There is a clock tower next to it that the locals call the “lighthouse” because it stands apart from the cathedral a bit and really does look a lot like the style of a lighthouse. Inside the cathedral is the Chapel of St. Casimir, the Patron Saint of Lithuania. He is buried in the cathedral and his chapel is, by far, the most ornate portion of the cathedral.

Next, I visited the National Museum, which is housed in a part of the old fortress and shows what life was like in different parts of Lithuania in medieval times. It’s a very short walk from the cathedral and the exhibits were well put together and included English translations. My next stop was the Archeology Museum at the foot of the Gediminas Tower. This museum had exhibits on different items that had been excavated around Vilnius and elsewhere in Lithuania.

My last stop was to take the funicular up the hill to the tower to get the view of Vilnius. The tower is all that is left of the castle that was built here in the 15th century. It was late in the day and the sun was low, so it did not make the best photo opportunity for views of the city, but since it is so close and not expensive, I may have the chance to go back if the weather improves and I have a sunny morning.

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