Synchronicity in Vilnius #1
People in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, asked me why I was in their city to which I would reply I didn't really know but I would when my two weeks were up.
The visitation began last August when I observed a 'Retro' mini poster in the window reserved for notices at The Salvation Army. I would pass this notice board daily as I live in the same street and looking closely at the word 'Retro' as that word was deeply connected with my past life, saw that there would be one only performance at 5.00 pm on a Sunday of Lithuanian music, song and dance.
Vilnius had been on my bucket list for many years but I had no contacts there, just a cultural Jewish one and an interest in the country's turbulent past. Vilna, as it had been called, was known as the 'Jerusalem of Lithuania', a city with 240,000 Jews, but today with a mere 5,000 due to mass murder by the Nazis.
On the due date I arrived a little late, never having been inside the large hall with a stage, to see about 10 dancers in costume prancing around, singing and smiling. A violinist and a pianist completed the hour of entertainment. Then a hat was passed round for a donation and the audience made their way out.
However, not moi-meme! I had hoped to chat to some Lithuanians about Vilnius and here was an opportunity so I thought. I marched up to the MC, and said I wanted to speak to someone, anyone, who spoke English to which he replied with a heavy Baltic accent, that no one spoke English! Not taking 'no' for an answer, I insisted, whereupon he pointed to a pleasant looking man at the back of the hall wearing a bright red revolutionary sweater.
Thus I met Gintaras (the word meaning amber in Lithuanian) from Vilnius. It was 6.30 pm and he explained the troupe had come by coach from Bristol and they would be leaving at 7.00 sharp. Half an hour to kill. Half an hour chez Jilliana would be more interesting over a cuppa than half an hour at the Sally Army! I offered and a surprised but curious Gintaras accepted.
My Georgian Italianate flat of architectural interest overlooked a private park with strains of Classic FM wafting through my salon plus Neko, my habibi, purring. Gintaris was enchanted and entranced. Tea and cake plus biscuits for the performers to take back for the journey was welcomed.
'Come to Vilnius next year!' He suggested enthusiastically.
And I did!
Written on the Air Baltic flight from Riga to London on 29/6/17.