SPRING COMING TO LIFE 2019

June 16, 2019

Spring bursting out of the ugly winter is  always nice to enjoy, even if the  shots are just a tad late. The tulips  and cherry trees blooms are gone for now, but here is your chance to enjoy them again. These photos were taken at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

tulips

cherry tree blossoms

red bud tree  and the green pop of spring coming out of the neighboring  tree

more tulips leaning in the gentle breeze

deep inside an iris

Spring yellow forsythia bushes  encourage the winter dormant trees to wake up ( in honor of my Mom who loved forsythia and our entire front yard was lined with them – friends and family would drive by every spring just to see their  spectacular  beauty, even after long after my Mom was gone.

I love those blooming cherry trees against the blue sky !

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!

 

“Renew your passions daily.

Time is the only thief you can’t get justice against.”

Terri Guillemets, quote collector

 

 

 

 

 

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BACKYARD BLUE BIRDS !!!

June 12, 2019

For  5 glorious  days I had an eastern  bluebird pair  perching  about  my backyard and checking out my bluebird house.  I understand it is not always easy picking out a new home  and in the end, to my great disappointment,  they  moved on.    These  bluebirds  were the first  in my yard since I moved into this house  6 years ago so it was quite a treat.

In the past my bluebird house has always had Eurasian Sparrows as  residents,  and although the  sparrows  still come to my feeders, they did not move back into the house.  That along with  the bluebird rejection, I am  looking  into an upgrade.   While looking online, I have noticed many manufactures do not go by the specified house size and hole size that works best for attracting  certain birds.  So if you are trying to attract a certain bird, make sure you are investing in the correct size for the bird residents that you want.  It also always nice if you can easily open the box  to clean it out before  each  spring and your  new home hunters.

male eastern bluebird

the male trying to spruce up the place

water is a good way to attract birds into your yard

this is the female blue bird

female blue bird

“Until your spread your wings, you have no idea how far you can fly.”    Napoleon

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

PARTING SHOTS of VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

Lithuanian Food

June 2, 2019

My last day in Vilnius I walked all over –   enjoying the beautiful city,  soaking in the perfect weather  and  the positive spirit of the families, couples and individuals who were outside.   Here are the tidbits I reflected upon……

The stunning architecture.

The interesting cafes  and  just to be  clear – this is not a cafe where you can bring your own cat,  and they do not  serve cat on the menu.  It is just a  place where you can dine and enjoy the company of their 25 cats who live there.

The quiet side streets.

The specialty foods

The bikes for rent or….

if you are more of a scooter person, there are scooters for rent.

The interesting statues

Grocery stores are always an adventure.

There are also some Art Nouveau buildings  to  be found in Vilnius.

The Baltic States also have their own fast food chain called Hesberger, which when I tested it out, tasted very similar to the USA’s Burger King.

The greenery is well blended in with  the neighborhoods.

BTW  the Energizer Bunny’s  cousin  resides here.

The old with the new all works well together.

Lastly, the history-making  landmarks –  this is the reported  spot , translated as “miracle”,  where the  human chain linking Vilnius, (Lithuania),  Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn  (Estonia) started in 1989.  The history making event  has become known as ” The Baltic  Way”.   It was a peaceful, political demonstration  where approximately 2 million people  joined hands  thru the Baltic capitals, a distance of 420 miles.  The event was designed to gain global attention that the Baltic States wanted independence from their Soviet Occupation.  Within 7 months, Lithuania was the first of  the 3  to gain their independence.  In 1991, Latvia and Estonia gained their independence also.

The Baltic Way (photo taken from Google)

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading and traveling along with me!

“The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” -Wallace Stevens

 

 

 

 

CHURCHES IN VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

Orthodox Church of St. Paraskeva

June 1, 2019

Vilnius has  LOTS of churches.   Church steeples can be seen, in one direction or another, on every  street you  walk down. Visitors are welcome in all churches and free of charge to see inside.   During the time  of 1940 – 1991 when the Baltic States were under  Soviet  Occupation, private churches were ordered  to be shut down.  Most were then used for other Soviet purposes.  After 1991, when the Baltic States  regained their independence, the churches were returned to the appropriate religion and  most were restored and reopened.   Here are a few of the churches I visited……..

Vilnius Cathedral, the main basilica in the city, was  built in the 18th century.  It  is well known for it’s  St. Casimir  Chapel and  crypt that contains the remains of 2 Grand Dukes.

The  domed ceiling of St. Casimir’s Chapel is  intricately  beautiful.

Vilnius Cathedral and Belfry.

St Johns Church, located on the Vilnius University campus, was  originally built in  1426,  reconstructed  in 1749 and  more structures were added  on in the 19th century.

Gates of Dawn, the last standing of 5 – 16th century gate to Old Town……

houses the “Chapel of Mary, Mother of Mercy” and a painting of  the  Madonna.  It is a  site of  prayer and pilgrimage and thought to bring about  miracles.

The Gothic  Church of St. Anne was built with red brick  in 1500.

The Bernadine Church is located directly  behind St. Anne’s.

Church  of St. Anne’s alter.

Bernadine’s Church was built in 1525, and  in  1770’s  wooden alters and confessionals were added to the interior,  some of which still remain.

St Casimir’s Church has an especially beautiful interior.

The domed ceiling over the alter.

St. Casimir’s alter

Bird of the day – a white stork.  This  is from the day I arrived in Vilnius from Riga via a bus.   Along the way I kept noticing a stork or two  pecking around in the farmer’s  fields.   I stopped counting after I saw 20 of them, but of all the photos I took (from a moving bus) this was the best photo of the bunch.

Storks winter in Africa and then migrate to parts of Europe, including the Baltic States for breeding. They  build  a large stick nest , sometimes as large as 6 feet in diameter, which can last for years.  They return to the same nest year after year, although do not necessarily mate for life.

Storks are a sign of good luck and fertility , therefore farmers welcome them to their property and sometimes mount a wooden wagon wheel on a post to aid in the stork’s nest building.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed!

 

Day Trip to TRAKAI ISLAND CASTLE in Lithuania

Trakai Island Castle

June 1, 2019

I am now in my final Baltic city, Vilnius, Lithuania, before heading back home in a few days.  Vilnius is a beautiful city  that I have fallen in love with, but today, I took a day trip to Trakai, a town about 40 minutes outside of Vilnius.   The Trakai Castle, which sits on an island  in Lake Galve,  was my destination,  The castle was first built in the 14th century but then destroyed in 1655 by a Russian invasion.  Then the  Soviet’s approved the reconstruction of  the  Castle and it was  completed  in 1987.

The inside of the  castle walls.

I didn’t expect the castle to be this fancy.

 

There was also a room with about 100 pipes on display.

There are lots of steps to climb!

This is the  (now dry) moat between the defensive wall and the castle.

The lake  is also a popular recreation  area for many Lithuanians.   If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent by the hour.

Or get a beverage…

There are also Karaite  colorful wooden houses  that line the streets  on one side of the lake.  Karaites are a small religious faith .   Their iconic three-windowed  homes  are a part of their heritage.  Their houses are built so that three windows always face the street. One window is for God, one is for the Grand Duke, and one if for family and friends and look like….

Many has cute little  gardens.  It was a fun day and the weather was beautiful!

Bird of the day….

Mama Duck and her babies.  She actually had a lot of babies  but most were hiding in the reeds.

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

LAST DAY IN RIGA, LATVIA

May 30, 2019

Riga is 800 years old and sits on the  River Daugava.  Riga has a long history of being occupied by  one foreign  country after another.   In 1991, Riga was given their independence from Russia.

My last day in Riga was spent walking their beautiful city, enjoying the wonderful architecture, the lush green parks and colorful flowers  one more time.

The Laima Clock has been a popular meeting place in Riga since 1924.  The name comes from the chocolate that it advertises.

This  Orthodox Cathedral is a 5-domed  house of prayer from the 19th century. The official name of the church is the Cathedral of Christ’s Nativity.   During the communist occupation  ( 1944 – 1991),  organized religion was outlawed in Riga and the church was used as a planetarium.

 

This  little furry guy was found curled up in this circular window on  busy street, oblivious to all the noise, people and traffic around him.

Bird of the day – a common and noisy seagull, skillfully  standing on my leg .

Stay tuned – I move onto Vilnius, Lithuania next!

Hope you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

HOUSE of BLACKHEADS in Riga, Latvia

May 30, 2019

The House of Blackheads was built in 1334  and was  the main meeting place for merchants. Later  a group of foreign merchants  known as the Brotherhood of the Blackheads  bought it in  1713 , thus the current name..  The Brotherhood had a great love for art and music and  house hosted many grand social events.

The Grand Hall

 

Many art pieces hung in the house.

The meeting room

Gallery of composers.

The building was destroyed  during World War II

The House of Blackheads  was rebuilt in 1999.

Hoped you enjoyed!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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