Sunday, December 10, 2017

Juodkrante

8/18
Off to Palanga. Long but very pleasant drive to the coast. Listened to a very interesting sci-fi story that was on Dylan’s device which Daniel played through the car radio. Stopped at first roadhouse on the way for breakfast. Very little English spoken, but we managed to have kugelis, ceppelinai, and pancakes.


Orange chicken for Max, and real ground bean coffees. Bought some homemade cherry jam and chocolate-coated apple cheese.

Took the ferry from Klaipeda to the Couronian spit and drove to Juodkrante to explore ‘Raganu Kalnas’ the Hill of the Witches with over 80 carved wooden sculptures from mythology, folk-lore, and local color. Not ALL of which are presented below, but will see how many I can send!
Card playing with the devil

Frog hugger

Have a seat - there were at least 3 different chairs

Just hoppy to be here

Kim pondering

New seat


Over a barrel

Raven trail markers

Raganas - witch one

Sweepers?
See sawing


Tongue lashing


Wood climbing


Juodkrante above - the Couronian spit below




Spent most of the day here, but are leaving tomorrow for USA - off to Palanga.


To be continued

Trakai

8/17
No photos for this one. I was too busy shopping, and I go here every visit.
Drove about an hour to Trakai; amber shopping for the ladies and the castle for the guys. Lunched at a Karaite [the Karaites are a Jewish sect who celebrate Easter] restaurant [first photo on you tube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw_KYfCGJiA

Fully armed with our purchases of amber and souvenirs, that was enough for a day. Left at 10, back by 3, and we all scattered to do what we wanted on our last day in Kaunas. Can’t find my ATM card, but will deal. [ATM card update: card was lost somewhere, and I cancelled it, no charges made, but my credit union charged me $20 for a new one - cheap for the peace of mind.]

The swains spent the evening in while the adults went for dinner at Grill London which was very tasty. They went for a walk after dinner. I went back to pack and started on the ‘logues. Left so much for Inija and me in the village, that my carry-on fit in my suitcase and it all weighs less than 45 pounds! [the kilos of amber fit in my huge purse.]

Saturday, November 18, 2017

8/16

A Day in Kaunas

Awoke early while Daniel was out for a run. Packed up to move downstairs, and then we all went to breakfast at the corner bakery. At first, Daniel was unsure, but I assured him they had lots of options. They did, and Daniel claimed his borscht was one of the best he’d even eaten. Fully fortified, we walked 2-3 blocks to the War Museum and the adjacent Ciurlionis Museum.


This backdrop was painted around 1909. People in the Baltics still celebrate the old ways with a raised fire altar close to a sacred tree[s]. My apologies for the photo quality, but they have it protected behind a clear panel that reflects the light and camera shots.

Kim took the boys to tour the Military Museum while Daniel and I toured the Ciurlionis [beloved mystical painter & composer] Museum.


Hallway glass

Found great souvenirs, and then we all met in the park outside, crossed the street, and visited the totally unique Devil’s Museum about which I’ve written many times.


Best of the examples I captured - that old devil moon.

Afterwards, the swains went back to the apt. while the adults shopped our way down the lane. First we stopped at an ATM [and somewhere along the way I lost my ATM card,
Sidewalk outside the bank

but at least I had obtained some euros first. Kim was enchanted with a nic-nac shop, but I really wanted them to see the Saule gallery.
Pysankai [decorated eggs] above and juostai [sashes/belts below]

They did and bought a painting. I added more amber ‘fingers’ and belts to my hoard. Then we all went back to our pads to relax before dinner.

My studio below their 2 BR [forgot to take pics upstairs. I just was there to sleep, and, in my defense, I left before coffee.]


Kaunas bedroom

My fabulous tub

We were game for the ‘Hunters’ restaurant and had my favorite; reservations! We were going to take a bus; instead we walked a fur piece from our alley to old town, but it was a lovely day, and it wasn’t that far.
I’ve written of the place before; it’s in the town hall square, and it is a game restaurant.
Everything painted on the panels could be on the menu


Daniel ordered a hunters’ plate of elk, boar, venison, and other delicacies. We enjoyed a lovely bottle of French white wine. The boys had steaks, and I thoroughly enjoyed a veal stew with plums. After dinner we strolled across the square towards the partially restored Kaunas castle.


Max had a blast swinging on a rope attached to the bridge over the moat.
The bridge is in the foreground. We could hear the jazz club and see other signs of nightlife on the other side.

It was almost 10 pm when the Sun disappeared and we went to the Iki [food store] at the bus terminus and caught one back to our digs. Took a long bath and had a restful night.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

a night in Kaunas

Finally back to finishing up our trip.
We left the village after Zolines around circle
8/15 Arrived at our Kaunas apartment on “Freedom Lane” after dark, but they met us and gave us the keys. Because they knew me, they said we didn’t have to pay till tomorrow [which is pretty cool for Lithuanians]. I put the Spatzes in a 2 bedroom apt. I’d stayed in last year when my studio wasn’t vacant yet. Their apartment was a mid-century modern dream, and this year, I slept on the living room couch the first night since, again, my studio was still occupied. They offered to move me to another place nearby, but I didn’t want to move out of the building.
[flowers outside our building]




Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018

The 2018 Celestial Calendars have arrived!

Great guide to all things astronomical and astrological for beginner or pro. All with beautiful, color astrological illustrations.

I have the Pocket Astrologer [4 ¼” x 5 ½”] in Eastern or Pacific time for $6.00 each. I have the Wall Calendar in Eastern or Pacific for $11.00 each. I have the Astrologer’s Datebook [4 ¼” x 6 ¾”] with both times zones in it for $9 each.

Shipping is $2.00 for 1st item and .50 for each additional item. Send money to: my paypal address which is valknot@juno.com.
I’m going to be in Ohio 10/24-11/4, so if I don’t receive your order before then, it won’t be shipped till November.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

8/15, Zolines

More reasons I adore this country! Found all this while I was researching Zolines for my blog.

This is a national holiday in Lithuania!

Where to celebrate the Grass? (Event Guide 2017) Author: Donatas Andrijauskas Posted:  August 14,

 Žolina is celebrated on the 15th of August.  Herbal - farewell to the summer and thanks to the Earth for the harvest festival. Through the Grass, either through the Christmas Eve or Easter, the family should sit down at the table of food and be together. This day in Lithuania is a day of unemployment, therefore there will be plenty of events in Vilnius and its surroundings.

Skaityti daugiau: http://www.madeinvilnius.lt/pramogos/renginiai/kur-svesti-zolines-zoliniu-renginiu-gidas-2017/ .

Here is an event guide: HERBAL HERBS, GREEN TRAKUES August 12-15 "Cemetery" and Trakai region and their artistic groups, the tradition of fostering games and other activities, the Cemetery festivity attracts a great interest of visitors from Lithuania and abroad.

LIVING ROOM Lithuanian Folk Life Museum on August 15 invites families, their friends and relatives to come to the Grass Festival! Aukstaitija village, at Rachkishki chapel, 12 o'clock . The masses, after which the annual harvest and flowers and grasses will traditionally be celebrated. The fair will be played, we play country games, we will have a delicious egg, iodine zaimateukai, and will introduce visitors to the healing properties of medicinal plants! You will enjoy ensemble, Liudvinas Theater "Green Garden" performance and even puppies circus performances! The Lithuanian Folk Life Museum invites you to celebrate the Herald together and keep in mind the good spirits and field flowers, fruit and vegetables grown in your gardens.

Free Herbal Sightseeing Tour "Summer Flowers" In the summer, when we came to life and dressed in the brightest colors and matured abundant crops, our ancestors chose to celebrate the Grass - a magical flowering, abundance and harvest celebration, thanking the lovers of the Earth, who were rewarded with a good harvest. It was believed that those who did not go to the Heritage Festival would not have rich and rich years. So, if you want to take care of your well-being for the coming year - on the 15th of August you are in a hurry to remember the Herbal Traditions along with Vivid Vilnius on a free excursion "Summer Flowers"! Vivid Vilnius invites the residents of Vilnius and the city to remember the most beautiful Heritage traditions and take part in the "Summer Flower" excursion free excursion. During the tour, let's talk about what is going on during the feast Herbs, and we will plant grass, flower gardens, gardens and other vineyards in several places in old Vilnius, meet the plants that Vilnius has once known and which are famous for today. We will also find out how our ancestors celebrated the Herbs, what are the oldest Herbal practices, what to do through the Grass, so that all the rest of the year would be rich and rich.
The excursion route follows the greenest and most picturesque places in Vilnius - the Sventaragis Valley, the Bernardine Soda, the Mountain Park and the coastline of Vilnia.

The Republic of Užupis publishes the freedom of grass The inhabitants of the zealous republic of Užupis celebrate the proclamation of the freedom of grass. The team winning Putin and Short kiss of Vilnius and "The party is over" will unveil a new street art sculpture near the Užupis Art Incubator, telling everything that is really about cannabis. From the controllers of the Windhoek, the dub will play, we will release the opening of the Baltic Shamans store. We will eat snacks from the Canopy, and the Angel of Užupis in front of the Punches will smell of plum smell. Event starts: 6pm.

8/15
Absolutely beautiful day for a festival. Spent the morning packing, cleaning, and eating ceburekai. Max was great at helping and moving things around for me.

The rest of them returned from Lativa around noon. They said they had a great time and saw the guildhall with the ‘Cats on the Rooftop’ - yes, believe it or not, that Lettish song is at least 500 years old!

Inija is now quite successful at performing traditional rites of passage. Max came back and told me there was a wedding in the temple, but when we went over to see, we were told it was a private ceremony. Good for Inija. We could easily hear the singing.

Before the fest started, I had all of us celebrate the grasses and flowers by making wreaths. Daniel made one for me, and we all wore ours to the rite. The guys were told that men didn’t wear the wreaths to the rite. [My bad! - I was supposed to tell them to give them to a woman, but they looked so fine, and I was distracted on my way to the stone circle.]

Our Zolines rite was a celebration of bread and grasses. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes. I introduced the rest of Max’s family to the metal smith, and Max thanked him for his teachings, and the smith thanked Max for his help and said he was very strong.
We left within an hour of the rite and headed to Kaunas for three days.





Saturday, October 7, 2017

8/14 Zolines Eve

8/13 footnote
Forgot to add that we went to Zemyna’s kankles concert in the temple; the acoustics are wonderful and she played many selections from her CD [which I have in stock.] Another thing I forgot was how horrid the mosquitos were. The weather was lovely; 70-80 degrees, rare rain, but vicious mosquitos 24/7.


8/14
Today we worked on projects. Left Max to hammer away with the smith and hang out with all his new friends. I spent the day catching up with a lot of my friends. Around 2 pm, Inija informed us that the ‘Foreigners’ were in charge of preparing Dinner for everyone that evening.
Zdenak on drum in the temple


Zdenak [my Czech friend] was livid. Why had no one told us sooner? He could have made Czech food, but with less than 4 hours to prepare it, it wasn’t going to happen. [It takes at least an hour to go shopping, and at least an hour to boil a cauldron of water.]
I gathered all eight of us together, and raided the cupboards at Inija’s. I sent the guys off to build up the fire and fill the cauldron and boil the water.
Foreigners hard at work
My instructions for the cauldron were almost medieval: Take 50 pounds of pasta + 5 pounds of chopped up carrots and add to a huge cauldron of boiling water.
Zdenak had said he’d take me to the restaurant in Sariai about 3 km away for ceburekai. And he was in such a temper over dinner, I thought the excursion would do us both good. The lady who makes them is very talented. They are basically a thin, crispy fried dough stuffed with meat or cheese or both. They cost 1.3 euros and are so good. We ran into some others from camp enjoying cold beers, and had one with them while we waited for our order. We each had one on-site, while the cook made me three more cheese ones for later to go.


When we went to check on the foreigners around an hour later, I had them dump out a third of the water or it would have taken hours to boil. I had set all the women various chopping tasks; one did the carrots, one chopped and fried up three different onion sides; one with mushrooms, one sauteed, and one caramelized. They were all delicious.

We had good bread and butter,  two bowls of grated cheeses, sour cream, and a lot of spices and condiments to add to your taste. We actually had all of it ready to serve just before 6 pm. Inija was astonished. She said it was the first time ever that dinner had been served on time.
Several of the ‘foreigners’ complimented me on my organizational skills. Almost everything was eaten. There were only about two pounds of the carrot/pasta mix left over.


No time to rest on our laurels. Tonight was the Talent Show in the ‘Conference Center‘ [an old barn]. I’d signed up for #4. It was quite sophisticated for its rustic setting. Spotlights were muted with baskets which soften the glow on stage. There were even footlights [held up by hand].
Note the basket lamp in front of the wheel


The first act had shared the stage with me before: A man who played the didgeridoo. There were about 10 performers. The photos of me were taken by others, including Max,






but I managed to take one of Lithuania’s newest TV star, Vetra, the youngest
Vetra on the left
daughter of Inija and Jonas Trinkunas, who appears on “The Vikings” with two of her BFF’s.


The highlight of the evening for me was my Belgian friend and his daughter [I let them camp  and park - they drive to summer camp from Belgium - on my property every year. He read an apology  [this kind:
a reasoned argument or writing in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.:
"a specious apology for capitalism".
synonyms: defense of, explanation of, justification of, vindication of, apologia for]


explaining why Lithuania ‘pledges allegiance’ under [the] Sun, instead of under God. Very enlightening, and I could write an entire essay on his explication. Brief version: there are many gods and religions in Lithuania, but there is only one Sun, and so, the Lithuanian government kept 'under Sun'. [Note: Lithuanian does not use articles; a, an, or the, but they are implied.]


It was also the night before Zolines [second harvest festival dedicated to Zemyna the Earth Mother and her grain, specifically, rye.] That meant there would be a ‘pirtis’ [a wet sauna for ritual and personal purification]. I’d seen smoke from the chimney while we were cooking. I’d explained what it was to Max and we grabbed towels and headed over. The guys were dumping hot coals on the grass near the creek that feeds onto the lake. The pirtis wasn’t quite ready. I left Max with the men to learn its mysteries and went back to my place and was just falling asleep when Max returned around midnight. He was so excited; he told me he’d taken a pirtis four times! It was now cooled down enough for the women, but it was too late and too dark for me.



When I first came to our village last century, and we would fire up the pirtis house, the men went in first to fill the iron hot water tank and build up the fire till it was very hot and steamy inside. When they were done they would all jump in the creek, and return to the main house for food. The women and children were next, and I started out on the floor with the kids. There was no plumbing in the village at that time, so this was how we were all able to bathe and have hot water for dishes and laundry; it’s a very efficient system. The next day, the old folks came in to bathe. I guess I’m one of the old folks now; I went over around 6 am when I arose and had the place to myself. Washed my hair, washed myself, soaked my feet in birch leaves and herbs. Did NOT throw myself in the creek, but felt wonderfully prepared for the rest of the day and all the packing and cleaning yet to do.