I awoke today the freshest so far: darn near bright eyed and bushy tailed, as Mom used to say. After a mediocre buffet breakfast, I set out for my first sightseeing destination:
Lieutuvos Radio Television (TV) Tower
It’s honking’ big and there’s an observation deck (and obligatory rotating resto), but it was foggy again. Besides I wasn’t there for the view: it was the Lithuanians who first took on the Soviets in 1990–for which they paid dearly. Estonia had. “bloodless” singing revolution because blood was spilled in Vilnius.
Why a TV Tower? Well, s/he who controlled the state broadcaster could rally their side–or demoralize And disinform the other. Unlike the other Baltic SSRs less than 10% of the Lithuanian population was Russian: over 80% were ethnic Lithuanians. In Latvia and Estonia a third or more of the population were Russophones trucked in during the Soviet occupation to “Russify” each republic.
So the Soviet Army went in. Almost 20 Lithuanians were killed; upwards of 200 injured. Moscow won the battle, only to lose the war a few months later when the independence of all three Baltic republics was recognized by Moscow.
Suffice to say this impresses me more than any view or buffet ever could. Pretty awesome I say.
I next wanted to head back to the Old Town, since a couple of sites closed in the morning were scheduled to be opened. But stoopid me wanted to try a different route. Somehow I ended up at Akropolis, Vilnius’ mega mall. Found Japanese for lunch: here’s the view from my table:
Hockey lines and curling sheets, all in one. How economical
At this point I betrayed my gender and asked for directions to a bus back to my hotel. Then I headed back out to catch the twilight (at 16h30). Visited the mega cathedral ( where the 18 killed in 1991 were given a mass funeral in the square out front). And then I found the Holy Mother:
From the street; I went up too
After Krakow this apparently the most sacred shrine in Polish Catholicism. The end. 😉