My wife and I are big on travel. We never stay in one place too long. We were married in the early fall a few years ago, and we immediately started planning a trip for the winter. Lithuania would never have even crossed my mind, but as I was turning the internet upside down – “best trips to take in winter,” “romantic trips,” “snow snow snow snow” – I ran onto Vilnius.
It did not disappoint. I was surprised by how much open space there was within Old Town. We’ve always lived in major US cities, where people and cars and micro studios are jammed together like canned sardines. This was really something else. Especially in the evening, all the street lights reflecting off the snow and the baroque architecture, the Christmas tree in the center of town. Everything was perfect.
My wife loves the ballet, so we saw the Nutcracker at the opera and ballet theatre there one night. Another, we spent roaming the streets, shooting photos, and nibbling and drinking at Bistro 18. We ran onto a offshoot district – Uzupis – just across the river. It’s a wonder that they’re considered a part of Vilnius at all. They have their own constitution (displayed at the entrance), anthem, president, bishop, churches, cemetery, bridges, and an iconic Bronze Angel – the guardian of their ‘republic’ since 2002. This was a crazy good spot for people-watching, and for all kinds of art. We ended up spending a lot of time there.