Ambering Vilnius for Front Offices. A bit of sorrow.

As defined by some sort of online dictionary – verb “amber” exists and is (rarely) used to define an ancient technology of preservation. Most commonly used for insects, but I guess it might be also suitable for memories, in particular poetically yellowish ones.

And poetically yellowish Vilnius was the destination. Even if when landing in Vilnius airport some smartphones with a function to show time and temperature in both: city of departure and arrival looked like that:

Someone with less developed analytical skills and more hard core classical education could have jumped to a conclusion that Vilnius airport has been renamed to honor Greek deity of revenge. Which would not be surprising in the context of recent public discussion which aimed to change VNO into something more catchy. Suggestions, inter allia, included such names as Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (one of most world famous Lithuanian painters and composers of beginning of the XXth century, in particular popular in Japan), Vytautas Landsbergis (the main strategist of successful Lithuania’s escape through the very narrow gap that was open for a very short time, and collapsing USSR  as collateral damage) and Hanibal Lecter, probably most known Hollywood character of Lithuanian origin.

However real explanation appears to be more simple. Nemėžis is a village in the Vilnius district municipality, and as such is probably first being captured by the not-switched-off phone when entering GPS zone. With specific Lithuanian characters being lost in global GPS transcription it is easily transformed into Greek deity of revenge:

Having landed in Vilnius at 17:40, at 18:30 we were already sunk in red chairs of Vilnius Opera. Opening was a bit unusual – with Opera Director Gintautas Kėvišas congratulating diva Irena Milkevičiūtė on her 70th anniversary. After that we saw Don Carlo. A modern performance with strong German touch (director, costumes, not to mention it is based on Schiller drama):

And then – since it was still warmish spring evening and and Rytis’ parents were with us – we went round the corner to see street exhibition of Rytis dad’s Easter eggs:

with S and R in the background. Backgrounds with other Front Office faces on demand.

After this initiation into who’s-father-is-more-famous contest of hosts, non-LT part of the group headed down Gediminas avenue past Novotel/EU representation building (no idea what for is the cage) towards Cathedral – and their thread was lost. Ex-post collective memory recalls them having not exciting dinner in the restaurant in Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post) building and finding some rest in Tilto (the  Bridge) hotel, just across the maternity house where A and her 2 oldest daughters where born, first of them in October 1992, time of Russian blockade which was supposed to annihilate Lithuania’s freshly declared independence. Snow  outside, no hot water and heating with electric calorifers brought from home – pleasantly fresh +12 in maternity room, good start of my career as tough mother.

No video evidence for the birthday of Agne Junior, however, click on archives to watch how Vilnius looked like one year before Agne non junior saw the world for the first time on Tilto street.


Next day was unexpected summer hit. +22, need for sun glasses and no need for jackets nor sweaters to the extent that one of them was lost. Czech sacrifice to Nemesis (or you want practice with the names of Lithuanian pagan gods? )

KGB museum was the next stop. You better read Ruta Šepetys Between shadows of grey (published the same year 2011 as Fifty Shades of Grey, so riming of titles is coincidence, not marketing move). Or you can wait for a movie based on it – called Ashes in the Snow, should be out this year. If you want realy first-hand memories from how life in gulag was like (Ruta Šepetys is the daughter of the reffugees, born in USA), check Dalia Grinkeviciute Prisonniere de l’ile glacee Trofimovsk, available in FNAC.  The unbearable sorrow of living.  The fight and Resistance part of this story is less popularly documented – I don’t know any fiction book on that, and for the films – there is Utterly Alone, 2004 – but not sure if any subtitled version exists. Few scenes are captured in this video clip:

and there is a documentary The invisible front. Not sure you can still purchase it there. But trailer is still on youtube:

The name of Telšiai Episcop who was tortured and executed by soviets is Vincentas Borisevičius. And a man who managed to bring into one functioning military organization scattered Lithuanian Resistance forces and was later recognized as the 4th President of Lithuania is general Jonas Žemaitis.

And here I will make a break. Because no one can read a blog post for so long. Also here we say goodbye to sorrow. (Also to that one of not having Alix and Kersten with us).  It’s pure joy that awaits you in the next blog post. To prepare for it  I invite you to check if you recognize places you saw in Vilnius while listening to the song from the 60-ties. The title translates as: I will wait for you at Vilnius, city of fairy tales:



One Response to Ambering Vilnius for Front Offices. A bit of sorrow.

  1. […] left morning sorrows behind we strolled down Gediminas street (used to be called Adam Mickievicz   street, as well as […]

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