Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kaunas 7/16

        Had a 10 am appt. with a woman dentist in her lovely deco office building just around the corner from my apartment. Good news – no cavities (it was just plaque build-up. Cost = $52 - which is less than my co-pay used to be).
        At the other end of “Freedom Alley” (and only two blocks from the dentist) is the “Man” museum. It’s mostly called that because of its hard-to-pronounce Lithuanian name and on account of the naked man statue right out front (see my tasteful photo below). It rivals almost any fine arts museum I’ve ever been to, and some of its collections remind me of the Legion of Honor in SF.
        The first floor had an amazing glass exhibition to rival Chihuly on a smaller scale. (No photos – many of the museums don’t allow them.) His name is Gianmaria Potenza and his glass art was very beautiful – looks like the kinds of things you’d see in the lobbies of office buildings. The other gallery on the first floor had deco and art nouveau furniture to drool over and a huge ceramic collection including some lovely swan cups. I ascended 60 steps to the 3rd floor to see another temporary exhibition of art deco clothes and jewelry. Again, I was overwhelmed by period amber and jet pieces and the velvet clothes.
        On the second floor, in the 19th century Hall, the carpets were worn and patched, the walls were water stained in places, but their fabulous art in gleaming gilded frames outshone its shabby surroundings. On the way back, I spent more than $200 on amber “donuts” for my friends at the amber souvenir shop in the same building as my apartment. I also bought myself an amber chain for my glasses! Sorry, gang, they only had one for sale. All this shopping made me hungry; so after I dropped off my acquisitions at my apartment and freshened up, I went to dinner at the “Green Wheel” restaurant. The staff is supposed to be in traditional dress, but it was over 85 degrees and too hot to wear those outfits.
        Everyone was eating outside, and I decided a cold Lithuanian beer would cool me off. It also seems to help my arthritis! The last time I’d been to this restaurant was on my first trip to Lithuania in ’97 with Harry McBride. I ordered potatoes stuffed with mushrooms. (It came with bacon, cheese, and dill sauce; none of which is on my diet, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every last delicious bite.) Saw a lovely sunset on the way back to my lodgings.


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