Thursday was a long, but really good day! It started early when we caught the train to Kaunas – which, of course, was late due to the snow. This worked out in our favor since we were waiting on Rokas, Roo’s magic partner, who was going to spend the day with us and HIS train was delayed so he made it to Vilnius before we left.
Kaunas is the second biggest city in Lithuania, home of a University and “The Naked Man,” an amazing sculpture (see pictures here) and a really pretty town overall. We were only there for a few hours, just to walk around, meet some people and then we headed back.
The train back was a riot. We started off having to move wince the seats we originally picked were surrounded, just before the train left the station, by a group of drunk, load blue collar workers. It was not a place we wanted to spend the 70 minute ride. So off we went, in search of three seats together. THere were none to be had on the train with the exception of moving in on someone else sitting peaceably by themselves… which is what we did.
Back in Vilnius we had dinner together then said good-bye to Rokas and Rolanda and I went to the symphony!
That’s right, I said symphony! I don’t think I’ve ever been to the symphony before. Sure, I’ve been in and seen musicals with full orchestras, even seen symphonies on TV, but this was different. Okay, to be fair, they were playing the music of Queen (highly orchestrated and barely recognizable, but still, there was a chill when the kettle drum beat out the beat of “We Will Rock You”).
I loved it! Maybe it’s like hockey where you need to see it live to fully appreciate it, but it was great! The conductor is Lithuania’s best (and how awesome is it that in a country of just over 3 million people, it’s entirely possible to not only have a ‘best’ but also easily get tickets to see him?) and he was having a great time waving his baton! Also, being there live I could look around and watch the people the camera wouldn’t focus on, like the first cellist who was rocking out and the members of the men’s chorus who were bored in between their own bits. My only complaint was that it was too short. It only lasted about an hour and they didn’t play “Under Pressure.” Okay, maybe they did but I didn’t hear it. I did hear “Killer Queen,” “We Are the Champions,” “Bicycle,” the aforementioned “We Will Rock You” and of course “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Afterwards, we walked across the Neris river (which bisects Vilnius) on the White Bridge, notable for the fact that halfway across there’s a sign imploring people NOT to jump! Seems Lithuania is the suicide capital of Europe and this bridge is a prime spot. Even in death, it’s all about location, location, location!
From there it was an easy bus ride home where the mildness of the weather caused my brain to agree to go sledding at 10pm. So after changing clothes we grabbed the sled, headed for a small hill in the complex, and spent a half hour shooting down the snow covered embankment.
A pretty good day!