It’s my second day in Vilnius, and the sun has been going on and off all morning. It is currently only 11:30am but I have been out and about exploring the Church of the Holy Mother of God, a Russian Orthodox church modelled after the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (present day: Istanbul, Turkey). Afterwards, I made my way to Užupis to see the Bernardine Cemetery there while also checking out the Užupis Angel monument. Apparently in 2000 on April Fool’s Day, the residents in Užupis cheekily declared the independence day of the Republic of Užupis, “where a dog can live as a dog”, as a social protest to the government. So, on the first anniversary, a monument was erected to celebrate the occasion. 😀
One thing that I have learned while I am in the Nordics and the Baltics is that you should be decisive and determinant when you cross the road at the pedestrian crossing. Some of the pedestrian crossings do not have any traffic lights to stop the cars, so you just need to step out and look decisive for the cars to stop for you. Once you’ve got the knack of it, you’ll be just fine! Hehehe.
This blog posting will contain more of my thoughts since I haven’t done any further touristy things since my last posting – the only incident that is worth reporting is my attempt to taste “Cepelinai“, Lithuania’s contribution to the culinary world. Cepelinai is basically a Zepellin-shaped potato dish with meat inside. I tried to get it at a local restaurant but it was sold out by the time I went there so I had to settle with chicken breast instead, after waiting for a long time just to be served. Grrrrrrr!!!
I had a look at my Guide Book again today and looked at the pictures there, and it feels weird looking at the photos from a different angle since I know that I have been there and I recognised the building or the spot. It’s no longer just a picture, but a place that I have been. I know what is behind the object, or around the object, or the surroundings of the object that are not captured by the photo. In one of the caption in Riga History and Navigation Museum I read that modern-day travellers are akin to the pilgrims and story-tellers of the olden day. We visit faraway lands and carry with us the story of the wonders of our experience. We no longer have to rely on our memory and verbal ability, as we have the pictures and photographs to help us relive our experience. Instead of trinkets and exotic species, we bring souvenirs and knicknacks … How true indeed.
My closing remark for the day is a quote that I found on the Hotel’s folder – I’m staying at Mabre Residence here in Vilnius, a hotel complex that used to be a monastery but has now been converted into a 4-star hotel. The facility inside the room is pretty standard and may not really warrant a 4-star rating but again, the location is superb. The quote really reflects why I call Australia home and this may also be true for other migrants and vagabonds all around the world:
Home is not where you live, but where you feel understood.