Monday, October 27, 2008

Vilnius, Lithuania - May 29, 2008

Our last stop of this information filled, very busy day was at Trakai Castle. The castle is on an island in a lake. There is a bridge built to cross the lake to get to the castle. Inside there is a big open room with stairs leading up to the sleeping, dining, servants quarters, and etc. of the castle. I did not go up the stairs but waited at the bottom and visited with Mary, another from our tour group. After the tour of the castle Pat and I went back to the restaurant patio area and enjoyed a glass of beer while waiting for everyone to get organized to get back to the bus and then back to our hotel. We all go out to another rustic restaurant for dinner and finally back to the hotel to pack. We fly out at 5:00 am and so have a very early start. My cold is still lingering on. My notes say 'three more days and I can go home'. There is some good information on Trakai Castle here.

I now have 10 jars of apple sauce frozen. The jars hold 210 ml - almost a cup which is enough for the two of us for a meal. I still have as many apples to do up, yet, in the half bagfull that I brought in a week or 2 ago.

Vilnius, Lithuania - May 29, 2008

More photos from the University and the street. Vilnius is a Unesco World Heritage site. We also visited an amber shop where we learned about the origins of the different colors of Amber. Earlier in the trip we had purchased a small piece of amber with insects encased in it.

At home, we have been having some lovely sunny weather. I have been trying to get photos of humming birds recently, with limited success. I have to do much better .. I need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the wings, and therefore need to use flash. Yesterday I walked and walked and have more photos for the Victoria Grid Project to upload to Flickr, also. Halloween is coming... I must remember Irene's birthday!
Our carpet should be in at Home Depot. We have to hound them to get an installation date. We have to see Alan again, I think, to see about the finalization of the cabinets. There is going to be a few special customized cabinets done, so this is taking some time to get it figured out and drawn up. We have to pay for all of it before they order. There is not even any holdback. They do have a good reputation with the better business bureau, thank heavens. Now, if we could get ahold of the allusive Melinda in Flooring, I might feel as though we are making some progress, there.

We went to Tino's for domades last nite. Yummm... very good dinner. But they were out of Retsino, of all things!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Vilnius, Lithuania - May 29, 2008

The 29th was another bright and sunny day in Vilnius. We visited churches and the University. Our tour guide filled our heads with information, none of which I retained by the time we returned to our hotel. My notes are non existent again. I do have many photos though. After the tour of the University a few of us made our way to the lunch place suggested by the guide. Slow service and we all became a bit anxious about getting back to the meeting place on time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Vilnius, Lithuania - May 28, 2008

After a long, information filled lovely day we got to our hotel in the evening light. A fine finish for this very interesting day.

Yesterday, when I thought I did not have internet access, I got a lot of gardening done. I was out for most of the afternoon and enjoyed it all totally. I pruned the holly tree and the fire thorn shrub back off the path, putting all these prickly clippings into the big green compost bin, that had just been emptied by this compost service. This is well worth the price of $20.00 a month! There was a branch broken on the apple tree, and just hanging on by a mere thread of bark. I cut the branch off and brought half a paper grocery bag of the almost ripe apples in to the house. Today, I managed to make some of them up into apple sauce, but have lots to do yet. After clipping back the holly and fire thorn, I can actually get the mower in to mow the back bit of grass. So, I got the lawn mowed and some of the prickly leaves from the holly tree sucked up and put into the compost, too. The wasp nest along Parmar's side of our house, is now inactive. We had a bit of frost a couple of nights ago, and I expect they are finished. This frost curled the leaves on the fig tree. There won't be any figs this year. I managed to get the laverta woody perennial (It actually turns into a small shrub) planted in the front. I emptied out the white plastic pot that had the white snap dragons in it and used some of this dirt to fill in around the laverta and to add some dressing to a patch of lawn in front of it. All the while I was out, the humming birds were around and many other birds, also. Andy and Tara put out bird feed and a humming bird feeder. One day, I will have to sit out there and get some hummer photos.

I got out to shoot for the grid this month. Since its in my neighborhood, that should not be too difficult. Its just finding the time to tweak the photos and load them to Flickr. I really should get out and do some of Commerce Cirlcle and maybe the school, but I probably won't. I was happy to see a bit of rain today to water in my new transplant. It is still quite dry just a few inches down.

Vilnius, Lithuania = May 28, 2008

After arriving in Vilnius, and viewing the palace we had lunch in a restuarant nearby. The next stop was the Hill of Crosses. It is a pilgrimage place (Lithaunia is primarily Catholic). Following this brief stop we continued to Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania. During the drive this day, Sylvia told us some of the history of Lithuania and the Baltic Countries. The treatment these people suffered from the Russians just before the war and from the Germans (whom they thought would rescue them from the Russians) was totally appalling. And then to suffer the Russians again in occupation of their countries until 1991.

Yesterday, I thought that Shaw cable had gone down as we did not have access to the internet. When I phoned the message was that they were having heavy traffic and sorry for the inconvenience. So, when I phoned again, this morning, there was no mention of heavy traffic. I hung on the line to talk to a techie. Well, he figured out my problem right away. It seems my router was re-routing the signal back to Shaw and skipping my computer modem entirely. He said its a common occurrence.

Because I could not get on line to play, I managed to get a few photos tweaked for the continuation of our trip in May. I am slowly getting them added. I don't want to do anything else on my blog until I am finished this trip photo journal.

The day before yesterday, I managed to find my email from my web page and can now access it to see what is happening in that email and to actually use it. I only have 1000 mb of storage in that email but can upgrade, for a fee, of course. I also have a couple more email addresses available from the provider, Go.daddy, free with my domain registration and the hosting space. I spent some time looking at my long neglected home page and really should bring the Travel page up to date, if nothing else. I should use J Album to make the albums, too. I kinda like the fiddling with the photo album I have to do from Photoshop, though, I think. It is just mind numbing stuff! And if I continue doing it the same... well the page might look more uniform.. it will all be old fashioned, and should still work. Its rather redundant, though, with the this blog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Riga, Latvia to Vilnius, Lithuania - May 28, 2008

From my notes: This morning we were all on the bus and going down the road by 8:50, after a good breakfast at the hotel. Sylvia gives us a talk about the economic situation in Latvia. --- she shows us a video of her daughter's ballet solo for a concert. Her husband is in the film business and made this video. --- As we drive along there are crops up in the fields and in some pretty big garden patches. I saw a field of swathed hay, and a canola field in bloom. The farms and fields look well kept with farming of all kinds.

Our first stop is at the palace of the Polish favourite of the widowed duchess. (I did not record the name of the palace or duchess and we are getting no pamphlets or paper of any kind). My photos from inside are not great, so I won't bore you with them. The last photo is of the newly refurbished garden.

Today was Thanksgiving day at home. We have a duck and pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving day feast. Its cool out, light rain, and sun.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Riga, Latvia - May 27, 2008

The architecture is preserved and is marvelous. My photos do not do justice to the beautiful city of Riga. You MUST go see! The band was playing in the town square to celebrate some notable occasion... my notes of the day are practically non-existant, sorry to say. I spent quite a bit of time trying to get photos and missed a lot of the information from our most excellent guide, Sylvia. The yellow tower is taken from inside our hotel room and is the last one of Riga. I have so many photos that it has been a daunting task to try to choose the best and tweak any that needed it. But here is a glimpse of Riga. Beautiful city. Must go back again. Farewell Riga!

At home things are pretty calm at the moment. The Victoria Grid Project is in my neighbourhood, so I even got out and shot a few and loaded 3, so far, to the Grid. We expect to have the carpet up the stairs, livingroom, dining room and hallway installed in about 4 weeks. We have paid Home Depot for it. Hope they have a good installer. We were completely spoiled by Wally from Hourigans. They are more expensive, though. Draperies are up and the bill is paid after discussion of it with Leigh from Pacific Blinds. Quite a hit. But on checking back to our verticals of 20 years ago and the ones today... just the verticals costs less this time. Its the valances and panels that have brought the price up. Ah well, its done. I have hung a few pictures in the guest room and moved the extra book case in there to contain blue glass and a few other knicknacks. I think these curtains in the library and the guest room make the walls look muddy. I should have insisted on a solid color. Well, maybe when the green carpet is down it will harmonize with the gold in the stripes of the curtains.

I have been spending a bit of time on the new site. Man, that place is going to be terrific. Its a huge site and they are really getting a lot done lately. Can't wait until its done and Cyrus gets his just reward for all his hard work. Brilliant designer and a good internet friend.