After returning from Panerai it was time to explore more of the city. I don’t tend to photograph my food, and perhaps I should do so more, but we did stop by a Lithuanian restaurant. Visiting a foreign land never seems complete to me until I’ve had some genuinely authentic food from the place. In Lithuania it was Cepelinai, a zeppelin-shaped dumpling made from grated potatoes stuffed with meat. I could just feel my arteries thicken, so I figured that’s why they started drinking vodka, to break things up. In the corner of the restaurant some men were playing a game of chess.
The night comes early in November, so I stayed out for a while making some photographs of scenes in the streets.
It was short weekend, how to suck the marrow out of it was our only question. With a flight in the late afternoon we had one last morning to explore. We’d make it the best of the trip.
I guess we could have found this place by consulting any guide book, but I like the way we chanced upon it, this hill of three crosses. We just began following footpaths that it appeared the locals used. In that process we found views of the city that aren’t in any guidebook, and that’s the way I like to travel.
The Hill of Three Crosses has a fascinating history. They were erected on a hill in Vilnius in the 17th century to commemorate a group of monks from a nearby monastery who were martyred in the 14th century. The current cross was built in 1989 at the beginning of the rebirth movement. It replaced the one removed by the Soviets in the 1950’s. It’s pictured here as well.
After consulting the guidebooks, with only hours left in Lithuania, we decided it was time to visit as much that was authentic as possible. We learned about a neighborhood called Snipiskes, where traditional Lithuanian homes were still standing. My friend and I stopped in the cultural center and spoke with a young woman behind the desk. When we told her where we wanted to go she said, “Oh, be careful going there, ‘the drinking people.'” We looked at each other and smiled, “Perfect, not only can we make photos of old traditional buildings, but also of drinking people.” We assured her we’d be careful, and she asked us to not stay out there after dark. The only person we met was Valentina, an older lady who was making a trip to her woodshed for her home stove, and she wasn’t drinking.
The neighborhood is a bit neurotic, old traditional style houses mixed with the most modern of architecture. It was a truly fascinating place. The next time I’m fortunate enough to visit Lithuania I’ll spend a little more time here. I still want to find those “drinking people.”
For the complete Vilnius gallery, click here.