13 November 2010

Something Old, Something New

Every European big city we've been to has had an Old Town and a New Town, one of which has any pre-war architecture that has been preserved and the other has H&M. Vilnius' Old Town is one of the largest Medieval centers in all of Europe and its New Town has the corporations responsible for about 25% of Lithuanian's entire GDP. Looking out over the River Neris from atop the Vilnius Castle ruin, I could see the vast difference between the two places, but what I'll always remember about the capital city of Lithuania was how old and new smashed up against each other, sometimes beautifully, sometimes jarringly in the outskirts.
As soon as we started wandering outside of the city center, we noticed this old, wooden house and the Soviet-era neighbor sitting in its backyard. Both remnants of past eras in Vilnius, in Lithuania, in this entire part of Europe. It sort of reminded me of layers of wallpaper, pasted one on top of the other, a hint at what the previous owners were like.
These two houses seemed like they were right out of a Scandinavian design catalog, reminding us that we are actually very close to Scandinavia right now. We snapped this picture and then turned around to see what was directly across the street.
The fact that each house has a view of the other is so intriguing to me. This was just one of the many homes that were in serious disrepair, but were still lived in. While we didn't see anyone go in or out, we knew there were residents because of belongings left on their porch and the two cars parked in their driveway.
Between the two vehicles was a working well and disconcertingly close to the old-fashioned water source was their outhouse.
There was an outhouse outside of this building as well, though it looked like they had still found some of the creature comforts of modern living. More satellite dishes were strung up on the side as well. Sometimes a picture really just says it all better than words.

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