One of my favorite places to hang out in Vilnius is the green space around the White Bridge.
There is a lot of space, so people fly kites and various strange flying objects, and sometimes there are festivals and concerts (like on the 1st of May). A part of this area was redeveloped according to a controversial plan, which included building a beach volley court. Beach volley in Vilnius, which is notoriously far from the sea comparing to the other Baltic capitals, sounded ridiculous. And yet people really come there and play, so I guess it’s good. Another area is equipped with platforms for skating and showing tricks with bikes.
Every year aspiring artists redecorate those platforms with legal graffiti (a blog entry on this here
Many people go to that area to chill out. My colleagues and I sometimes bring our lunchboxes and eat there. A few years ago several sakura trees were planted to honor Chiune Sugihara, a renowned Japanese diplomat. This year the sakuras became a big hit, because they finally blossomed as they should – with the kind of intensity and fragility that has inspired entire generations of Japanese poets. Many people posted pictures of the sakura blossoms on Facebook, and a discussion evolved whether there were too many pictures and whether too many people try to show off their photographers’ talent by taking pictures of sakura blossoms. Today, as the sakuras have already finished blossoming, I saw a group of cosplay fans sitting under those trees, discussing their costumes and a Japanese doll that someone brought.
As I was returning after seeing a great exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, I heard drums and decided to see what was going on. There is a festival of drums and percussion in Vilnius these days. Turns out that there is an educational weekend for children and teenagers, where the participants learn to play drums and brass instruments. After some practice, they will give a concert on the Day of Europe.