The weather forecast for Sunday in Taichung 臺中, Taiwan called for temperatures around 30°C. Here in Vilnius, it's also around 30°...Fahrenheit, that is. Though not unexpected, I was still a little surprised to wake up on Sunday and look out the bedroom window to see the ground coated with snow. It wasn't much, really, and most of it had turned to slush by late afternoon, but it was enough to convince me to go hiking another day and instead drag the wife and daughter into Old Town to take in our first winter wonderland scene since arriving in Lithuania last spring.
A careful walk downhill through the rain, slush and snow brought us to Fiorentino, a charming Italian restaurant close to the Presidential Palace:
For lunch, I started off with a bowl of minestrone, and concluded with tagliata, rare sliced beef with Parmesan. The food was good, but Shu-E still couldn't shake off the stereotype that Italian cuisine is only pasta and pizza, even though she ordered neither for her meal, opting instead for a mixed-meats platter. In Fengyuan 豐原, the only non-Asian restaurants in town (other than the usual fast-food joints) were almost exclusively "Italian", and no prizes are to be awarded for correctly guessing what kinds of dishes comprised their menus (hint: not those pictured below):
How close is the restaurant to the Presidential Palace? Walk through the Italian-style courtyard behind Fiorentino (where patrons can dine outside during the warmer months) and you'll find yourself looking into the rear grounds of the palace:
Lithuanian haute couture on Didžioji gatvė:
If it's the weekend in Old Town, then there must be another old church to visit. Today's house of worship was St. Teresa's Church (Šv Teresės Bažnyčia), on Aušros Vartų gatvė, close to the Gates of Dawn:
This Baroque beauty was completed in 1655, though its altar and ceiling frescoes date from the latter half of the 18th century:
For a different sort of religious experience on the way home from St. Teresa's, we stopped off at Holy Donut. Amber proudly shows off the offerings to be made later to the dessert gods: