Monday, October 24, 2011

2010 Catchup - no mayo!

When I last left you with tantalizing morsels from Lithuania,
I was on my way to Kaunas! Once again I'm in my favorite big city.
The art deco buildings are fabulous, and when interspersed with 500 year old cobblestone streets in Old Town, the effect is both enchanting and almost overwhelming.
When I was here last Sept. I visited the MK Ciurlionis museum with my 'ciurlionis,' and much to my disappointment, it was not, in the curators' professional opinions, an original sketctch by him, but it was a very fine copy by whomever did it, especially considering the painting hasn't been on display for at least 50 years. I was however, delighted to be allowed to see the original which is kept in a temp-controlled room full of his work that's not on display.

The hardest part of the trip was finding a place to stay.

Men in kilts playing football and drinking lined the streets and screamed from bars on my stroll along Freedom Lane. There was not a hotel room to be had at any of my favorite haunts. Finally, Daiva at Lintenterp, whom I highly recommend, found me a room at the Kaunas Catholic Guesthouse across from city hall in the exact center of Old Town for only 50 lt/night ($20!). It was one of two converted monk's cells with a shared bath, and view of the gardens behind the Kaunas castle on the Neris river. I hung a postcard of Birute (guardian of Jurate, the amber godess's, shrine) over the cross and was very content in my austere but comfortable surroundings.
The only catch was one wasn't allowed to have alcohol nor opposite-sex guests in the room (which was the only reason it was available with the footbal shenangians in town). It was nice to be at the other end of town during that madness. Nothing but toursts and pilgrims on my end
Other fun in Kaunas last year included stopping by to see Elvira, the curator of the Devil Museum,
attending a flea market next to the church on Sunday,
visitng kauno pilis (the old castle in my backyard),
a chocolate restaraunt in town square where every item on the menu came with chocolate in some form including chocolate steak sauce, and not buying a painting of the baba yaga house. (Baba Yaga is a "russian" fairy-tale witch who lives in a house on top of a big chicken foot, so she can move whenever she wants to do so. I guess she doesn't like Russia anymore since I visited her house years ago in the Merkine district in southern LT.
I also revisted the ancient  instrument museum;
and its ancient toilet,

and went to the apothecary museum in a 15th century guild hall.

I gave them the $2 bill for their old NCR drawer!

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