Despite waking up to a Wintry Mix this morning, I was determined to get out of the BnB, go for a bit of a walk, and see some more of the city. As the morning turned to afternoon, the weather turned from a mix to just snow, which looked picturesque outside the window - so, I got cleaned up, put my layers on, and trekked outside.
My first destination was lunch. I found a "What do to in Vilnius" post on lonelyplanet.com, and on that page, it recommended a restaurant called Senoji Trobelė (which translates to "The Old Hut"). The place serves traditional Lithuanian cuisine, so I was all about checking it out - and it was delicious (of course, you should know by now that food blogs are posted separately).
After lunch, my next destination was to walk up to the Lithuanian Parliament building. Having checked out the Presidential Palace previously, I wanted to see the rest, so up the street I went.
Along the way (next door), I found the Lithuanian National Library:
Next to the library (you can see in the foreground of the left picture above) is a series of panels that show how Lithuania has grown in size through the years:
Also, here's the Parliament building. It's rather uninspiring...
In the above photo, to the bottom right, the gray-ish/silver-ish strip you see is the same series of panels from above. The display is in the space between the Parliament building and the National Library.
Now, behind that display - still between the Parliament and the Library, I was walking along and saw a tall grass hill. As I walked to the side of the hill, I saw an odd steel door at the bottom of the hill, on the side where the Parliament building is - and adjacent to another, semi-obscured door on the Parliament building. I realized I was looking at a bomb shelter.
As I continued to walk around the area, I came across a memorial, which I eventually found was the area to "January 13."
"Which January 13?" "Why is that important?" I wondered.
It's referring to January 13, 1991.
Back in 1940, Russia (as the USSR) annexed the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) against their wishes and without recognition from Western governments. But, for 50 years since then, Lithuania was a part of the USSR.
When the USSR started to fall apart, it wasn't just a casual thing from Gorbachev - it's not like he just tweeted out "hey guys, jk, nm!" - the independence of each of the nations was fought for.
Lithuania started their quest for independence in March of 1990 and finally, in January of 1991, things got heated. After a few days of military engagement around the area Parliament, the fight came to a conclusion (not without casualties). In the end, Lithuania won their independence from the Soviet Union and in that area, they've built a memorial to that day:
The concrete blocks pictured above were a part of a blockade that surrounded the Parliament building (and you can see razor wire from the top of that) - it really reminds me a lot of Berlin Wall.
On the ground in front of Parliament, I found a series of small posts marking the outline of the wall that was torn down:
And so, here are some photos from the rest of my walking around Vilnius for lunch: