Frank Zappa?

After a delightful few days on the Curonian Spit we headed south to the capital of Lithuania: Vilnius. Like both Tallinn and Riga the center of Vilnius is a UNESCO listed "old town" with many churches and many re-vitalized museums.

One of the fine churches in Vilnius is St. Anne's. This church so impressed Napoleon that when he saw it in June 1812 (en-route to Moscow) he is reputed to have said that he wanted to take it back to Paris with him. Although the remnants of his army passed through Vilnius in December 1812, by this time Napoleon had other things on his mind.

Also well worth a visit is the Vilnius University, founded in 1579 by the Jesuits to stem the influence of the Reformation in Lithuania. Rather surprisingly the university still includes an active church (St. John's, below).

St. John's church within Vilnius university.

For reasons that are not entirely clear there is a fine bronze sculpture of Mr. Frank Zappa (the well known American popular musician and visionary film maker) by the equally well known septuagenarian realist sculptor Dr. K. Bogdanas on the edges of the "old town" of Vilnius.

Dr. Bogdanas is mainly known for his many sculptures of Lenin, a large number of which can now be seen at the allegedly rather tasteless Soviet Sculpture Garden at Grutas Park (usually known as Stalin World) courtesy of the Hesona mushroom company.

Wild Camping in Vilnius.

Wild camping in Vilnius.Vilnius does not have a port so we had to abandon our usual method of finding a camp site.

However we did find an excellent fenced and guarded car park happy for us to stay for about $7USA per 24 hours. This private car park is near the point where the Vilnia river enters the Neris and is only 200 metres from the National Museum and Gediminas Hill (N54.68788° E25.29408°).

Just outside the gates of the car park there appears to be some free parking (at least early in the morning). I note however that most of the cars parked here, unlike the ones in our car park, have their radios removed.

Stephen Stewart.

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