Friday, April 23, 2010

DAY 49 EUROPE TRIP - LITHUANIA – Vilnius – Song Festival – Folk craft market

4 July 2009

LITHUANIA – Vilnius – Song Festival – Folk craft market

A very different day today.  We made sure we got to the folk craft markets early to see the artisans setting up their wares.

Others were setting up temporary stages around Sereikiškių Park

Various groups were asssembling all over the park including many performing groups.

Others were involved in demonstrating the crafts.

Even a bar was being set up to sell beer to the many visitors expected during the day.

Before long the stalls were set up and ready for customers.

Beautiful wood carvings ‚juostines‘ used to hang linen towels, the wooden figures were very inticing but how does one get them home?

Many of the crafts people continued to make their wares during the day. It was interesting to see them working with quite basic tools.

Late morning we left the park and walked to the Presidency as our friends had organised a private tour for us through this magnificent buiilding.

I had been to this building during my visit to the country during the early days of re-independence before it became the Presidency. It was interesting to see the changes made. A highlight was going to the White Room – now the formal reception room, previously a concert room.

The view out of the windows was also interesting with the tower of Duke Gediminas castle in a place of prominence.

After the tour we returned to the folk markets with our friends and they took us to a section that we had not discovered. This section was not as commercial as the other as the focus was on authenticity of the craft making according to the traditional ways.

Music abounded throughout the parklands.

Small and large groups of people performed either to entertain the crowds

or just burst into impromtu singing as they sat around tables having lunch,

whilst others danced.

Even the food was prepared artistically.

The honeybread (not gingerbread) biscuits in the shape and colour of mushrooms are part of traditional cuisine.

There was even a smithy with an ironmonger making the beautiful traditional crosses.

Lots of children and adults enjoyed grinding flour
and then baking a pancake over an open fire. What a long process!!!!

Although flax farms have nearly disappeared in the country, flax weaving was still in evidence.

Then there was the weaving of linen.

Along the way we saw lot of little groups sitting, resting and catching up.

I was happy to see a fabulous woman carver – her figures were fabulous.

My hubby loves his accordion and he found a soul mate here. What drew his attention was that the musician was displaying aboriginal art pieces in his accordion case and we were sure he was not from Australia. So hubby stopped for a chat.

This song festival is really something. Every day we are having new experiences and being blown away by the atmosphere. Even the iceblocks have been made in the colours of the flag.

People are everywhere and spontaneious music and dancing springs up wherever there is a hint of a crowd.

As the day progressed clouds started to come in. We went to our friends place, just in time, before the downpour hit and rain continued into the evening. We decided to give the outdoor concert a miss. I was surprised it was not cancelled but the attitude here is the festival must keep going. So we spent a fabulous evening with our friends.

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