Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vilnius, Part the . . . Well, Actually It's Kaunas

Yesterday was Saturday and since I have the weekend before returning to Russia, I decided to take a daytrip to Kaunas. It took just over an hour on a brand-new, Czech made, double-decker train, which cost me about six bucks each way. I'll post a bit more about my last day or two in Vilnius in the next post, but for now, a quick few pictures about yesterday.

Kaunas [Kowno, Ковно, etc] has an old town which dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. There's a little bit of Baroque from the period that follows, and from the 19th century, when it was part of the Russian Empire. What I was not expecting to find was the substantial amount of Constructivism, which I found on my walk from the train station to the Old Town. I suspect that it has to do with the status that Kaunas enjoyed as the "temporary" capital of interwar Lithuania, when Vilnius was part of the Polish Republic.

This is the old town hall, in the center of the old city. This was, thanks to its location at the confluence of the Naris and the Neman Rivers, a likely place for a city.
Baroque church.
Castles! As I said, 14th-16th centuries, to control the rivers. Also, can a sky get any bluer?
Weddings in the town square, an obligatory sight on a Saturday afternoon.
Also obligatory, a modest conveyance for one of the at least half-dozen wedding parties. Not long after this, a large party boat - which I'm pretty sure was a converted freight barge - pulled up and everyone hopped on. Paaaartaaaay!
But then again, it's not so dissimilar from the courthouse square in older American towns, right?
Also, cute phonebooths.
A cool old building that appears to have been converted to new uses one or two times. Now it's a bookshop on one side and a bistro on the other. I also grabbed a delicious lunch on the other side of the street.

And just a few examples of the constructivist architecture. Some of it needs a little love, but it is in remarkably good shape on the whole.

Today a post office.

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