The Bells Toll for a Bridge

A cloudy and cool Saturday today, good for walking and climbing.

IMG_2514Back in 2012-2013, our winter in Vilnius, the bell tower in front of the cathedral had been closed for improvements, but now it’s open and we have no excuse not to climb it. Besides, it’s half-price for seniors. You just have to sign a paper that you won’t die on the way up, or jump. True.

IMG_2513Here is a senior lady starting her climb. The first sets of steps were well-worn stone,

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and then they turned to well-smoothed wood.

The bell tower was formerly one of the towers of the old fort, converted to bell-duty when the perimeter fort was destroyed.

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It was fascinating to climb among the bells and the old massive scaffolding. And a bell only struck once, tolling the quarter-hour. It was enough of a shock – an on-the-hour serenade would have been pretty bad.

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Good views across the roof of the cathedral toward the old upper fort and, beyond, the hill of three crosses.

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Looking down at the statue of Grand Duke Gediminas

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and the city of Vilnius.

Jumping back a couple of days –

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Liz took me to meet the Easter Egg Lady, whom Liz had visited before. Liz has had a couple lessons now,

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so I expect one day to see some works of art like these.

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The egg lady also offers these Palm Sunday creations. I don’t know anything about them, but they’re amazing.

Now from the bells to the bridge.

The statues are gone from the Green Bridge. I showed the statues to you back in my winter edition –

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four sets of statues at the four corners of the Green Bridge over the Neris river. The bridge and statues dated from the 1950s. The two artists were Lithuanian but the style is clearly Socialist Realism, like a lot of the public art that you would see in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. I think there had been tension about the statues – artistic and historical value versus the uncomfortable link with the Soviet years.

They were still in place last week, but a couple days ago they disappeared, leaving empty pedestals.

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And today we found that flower pots have arrived to fill the void.

The plaque below the statues had declared that the Green Bridge was the only bridge in Lithuania decorated with this kind of sculpture, and that they were to be protected as “objects of their cultural heritage.”

But now they are gone. I can understand it – as one who lived for three years in the midst of Moscow socialist realism on every corner, I can appreciate that it brings back a history and a cultural environment you’d like to forget.

Still, I did like them.

A happier note to end with –

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my lunch – a Vilnius “happy meal.” (A cheese and mushroom pirozhok or pirog – I guess there are many names – all of them delicious.)

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