Mon, Jun 7 (Day 14): From Minsk to Vilnius

This morning via Osm’any we head toward the border with Lithuania, then on to the capital, Vilnius. Our guided walking tour takes in views of the Bishop’s Palace, now the Presidential Palace, and the university. We also visit the Baroque Church of St. Peter and St. Paul which has exceptional sculptural decoration. Then we walk to the Gates of Dawn, the Carmelite Church of St. Theresa, the former Jewish Ghetto, the cathedral and new Royal Palace excavations. We will also see the Church of St. Anna and the site of the synagogue destroyed by Hitler in the last war. (Buffet breakfast / Dinner)
Hotel: Reval Lietuva

Linda went for a short carriage in Minsk. Of course, this is actually a statue, and we have a picture of both of us (John and Linda) in the carriage, but it is on Bill's camera and will be posted later.
The border crossing from Belarus to Lithuania was a terrible delay, about 2 hours. These border processes are just not built for efficiency. We did arrive for lunch in Vilnius, and found a nice little place in a mall near the hotel. There are three flags that fly over Lithuania, but I forgot what they stood for. Well, here is a picture, anyway.
This church is topped with a crown.
This is called the "Black Madonna," located at the Morning Gate in old town Vilnius. The black color is a result of time, not intended in the original work.
This is the former Jewish Ghetto of Vilnius. Today, it is one of many small, narrow streets that we walked down in the old town. The trick is to avoid getting hit by a car as it speeds along.
Though the average wage here is approximately 480 euros a month (about $600), the cars driven around town are quite luxurious. This one is typical.
There are also other ways to get around town. We found this ad an amusing play of words for renting Segways.
The presidential palace of Lithuania.
The presidential insignia.
Another version of the presidential insignia.
I don't recall what this building is, but it has an interesting design.
John took a shot of Bill shooting the national flag.
This looks like a Tartar, early inhabitants of the area.
The statues on the top of this Catholic cathedral were pulled down by soviet KGB officers. They were repaired and returned to their appropriate sites after Lithuania declared independence from the former Soviet Union.
This statue of Moses is in one of the alcoves of the cathedral. Notice the influence of Michaelangelo on the head of Moses.

This is the bell tower of the cathedral. It represents several centuries of construction. The lower part was built in the fourteenth century. The upper section was built in the eighteenth century.

This stone commemorates the 650-year anniversary of the founding of the city. It was put up in 1978. Underneath the town's name is a space that originally was engraved with the town's name in Russian. However, when Lithuania split from the Soviet Union a few years later (the first of the satellite states to do so), they erased the Russian language from the rock as an act of their independence.
This is one of many open park areas in the town. It is one of the really nice ideas, to have many open spaces where the public can relax and enjoy the outdoors together.