ACIU! Gesundheit.

Sunday morning 8am half asleep and a bit hungover we are on our way to the train station in Poznan to start our 15h trip to Vilnius with stops in Warsaw (again), Bialystok (1h), Kaunas (20min) and then finally Vilnius.

Here some images from our trip, it was a long one, so we are not going to get into details here.

First day in Vilnius - besides getting some sleep we also checked out some local stores in the old town where our Airbnb was. We found a cute little Children's clothing store with a super cool store owner who gave us our first tips: Europos Parkos (a park with statues, what we didn't know then is that is wasn't just filled with contemporary art statues but also with some nice little blood-craving friends aka mosquitos..), a new restaurants called Dziaugsmas (translated into English means 'joy')  and some other cool stores such as V2 (the only concept store she knew in Vilnius, but of course we found some more... like C.C.C store with local designers only). The afternoon we spent wandering through the 'Republic of Uzupis' (a district of Vilnius) which declared independence from Vilnius in 1997. It is considered to be the art district of Vilnius and is actually full of little treasures (ex. we found an old car sign and took it with us).

 

The next day we then got up quiet early to head to the infamous Europos Parkos about an hour by bus from Vilnius.  We managed to survive the mosquitos (besides Fee getting bitten once), because the souvenir store had one last half-full mosquito spray left to sell for only 8€. Here some images Lars took in the park. 

In the evening we checked out the recommendation of Ruta the store owner. We got a table at Dziaugsmas, which for us was by far the best restaurant we ate at in Vilnius in retrospective. We actually had 2 starters and 2 main courses and then ordered another starter and main course because it was simply that good. Our favourite dish was probably the beet root dish (we are not sure exactly how to explain it but just have a look for yourself - it's the second image in the gallery)!

Since we got along quiet well the the waiters (called Eve and Mantas) we asked them for some more recommendations and ended up spending the night with them in one of their favourite bars called 'Wind' in Lithuanian. We got home at 3:30am... A night packed with fun stories about lovers, bad wages, funny stories and lots of empty glasses. And even our way home we ended up crossing paths with a young photographer emerging from on of the only abandoned buildings in the Old City. She gave us some tips that would pay off later.

 

The next day slightly hungover and after moving into the most adorable airbnb we decided to get some breakfast at Sugamore (which is the Lithuanian version of LaDuree in Paris). Decent place for breakfast but that's it really. We decided to cure our hangover with some art in 2 Modern Art Museums after breakfast. Arriving there we had to find out that the first one was closed, so instead we read some of the magazines they had in the 'reading room' about artists and designers from Vilnius. Fee then decided to contact some of them directly to do a photoshoot about Fashion in Vilnius, which we managed to realize that Friday. That evening we went to a concert of the Vilnius Music Festival. The second piece was by a contemporary composer from Lithuania and made us both fall asleep literally.. (we weren't the only ones though).

Thursday was manly occupied by our preparations for the shoot. All over Vilnius we visited different shops Fee found before, collecting clothes and scouting locations. Among them was a really cool concept shop, the C.C.C. Showroom, where we fell in love. When leaving packed with clothing for the shoot we stumbled over a real beauty parked just outside on the street:

This 196somthing original not only is swag-y as F***, participated in our shoot BUT IS ALSO FOR SALE............... 🤔
Anyways. We got very excited and will let you all know what happens if something hap+pens, when it happens. Thats's all we know for now.

Later that day after some more preparations, snacks at arty cafe in the sun with a fat lazy (cuuute) cat and nice walks through town we had a reservation at a lovely restaurant called Sweetroot. It was one of the first must-goes Fee found working her magic: Meticulous Trend Research. Their concept is similar to Dziaugsmas but they take it even a little further. They use only seasonal and regional ingredients that are harvested and collected by their own staff and bought from local farms to create a 100% Lithuanian Set Menu. 

Among our favourite were; The greeting from the kitchen, a little green cucumber soup served in a quail egg and straw straw (yes a straw made out of actual straw); Those delicious cottage cheese balls with gooseberries; 5 versions of Pork (for Lars only) and lastly the rhubarb desert. By the time for desert we were drunk so they could have served us pretty much anything... BUT thanks to our seemingly great culinary expertise, or dashing charm we actually got a little extra in form of three different desert wines. They had just launched the new menu and were not quite sure which wine goes best with the sweetest of dishes. They did well in asking, since drunk people always tell the truth, and talk a lot too. We ended up chatting to the entire kitchen staff for a good while before leaving happy, full and more drunk.

Since the night was still young and we would be leaving soon we decided to drop by our new friend Eve's third work place for some more, intellectual discussions and inside full theories. Or not. Cheers.

 

For the shoot, for once we managed to get up a little earlier. Some more clothes arrived at 9am and the model at 10am. The kid at first a little reserved turned out to be quite nice and to be a good fit. Using our airbnb as a base we shot the first things by the beautiful brutalist Opera building just downstairs. Another motive was the beautiful Mercedes we found earlier and once done there we packed the last outfits and headed to the Sports and Concert Palace. This magnificent piece of brutalist soviet architecture located just north of the river is absolute eye-candy for anyone that has a thing for concrete, sharp edges and gigantomania. Unfortunately it wasn't properly taken care off and is closed for the public. Which did not stop us. 
Thanks to a late night tip from the local scavenger we met we knew of a way to get in. And were rewarded richly for our efforts and luck. Even though our luck did not last too long and we were kicked out after only a short while we still saw something incredible and Fee got some good shots.

The rest of the day we spent bringing back most of the clothes, developing the films and having a less exciting dinner (another recommendation but not quite what we expected, boring and expensive).

 

Last day in Vilnius. We were both very exhausted from the shoot and just went for a little stroll, dropping off the last clothes and went to a great cheese restaurant. On our way back we browsed through a little open air market (bought two pins, one of a gay couple making out and of a pigeon. Why not.) grabbed our back packs, said Au Revoir to the cute airbnb and headed to the train station. Through the passport control and off to the Democratic Dictatorship of BELARUS.

Bald mehr von unseren Abendteuern,

Fee & Lars

 

 

Polish(ed) in Warsaw

We arrived in Warsaw at 10pm on the 30th of May. Warsaw is our first stop on this 2.5 Months long trip through Eastern Europe to Kazakhstan.

After this 5h train ride from Berlin to Warsaw we both needed something to eat quiet badly, despite already having had some Pierogi (polish dumplings) on the train coming here.
Since it was already quiet late we only encountered restaurants about to close. Fortunately we then decided to have a snack anywhere (we were even considering McDonald's...) when Bobby's Burger opened the doors for us for a late night snack before they closed. The Burgers were quiet good for a fast food chain and if you are every hungry and in need of some quick decent food, we can only recommend grabbing a snack here.

The next morning we took our time. We wandered through Warsaw discovering the Central Area and checking out the smallest Modern Art Museum we have ever seen. There we purchased a Guide for Warsaw called 'Lost in Warsaw'. We sat down for a bit to analyse the Guide and decided to stop by some Galleries in the area. Trying to visit the 'Kasia Michalsky' Gallery we picked up an invite for the Vernissage 'Seven Sisters' on June 1st, which resulted in a chain of events that I will explain in a bit.

We grabbed some lunch at the restaurant next to the gallery called 'Prodiz Warszawski', which was our first real polish cuisine experience. We had a cold beetroot soup (surprisingly delicious), pierogies (again, but obviously better than the ones on the train), a filet of some white fish with a tomato onion sauce (also surprisingly interesting and very delicious) and an Entrecote steak with green asparagus (which was very neutral and boring to be honest). If you decide to ever go to this restaurant definitely go for the polish dishes from the menu!

That moment when the waitress brings you dessert. Hehe

That moment when the waitress brings you dessert. Hehe

In the evening we checked out a restaurant from our 'Lost in Warsaw' guide called Solec 44 (Coincidental many others recommended it to us later). In a small house squeezed in between a road and a train track the atmosphere was nevertheless very welcoming and cosy. We sat outside and had some 'snack' like polish dishes. Check out the photos below. We realised here that the polish cuisine apparently really likes green asparagus in every form.

Next day: We started our day by checking out the Polin Museum, which is a museum solely dedicated to the history of Jews in Poland. We mainly went to the museum to check out it's architecture, but ended up being very emotional about the presentation of the history of the jews. Definitely worth a visit!

After this we needed a little break and had a quick lunch at a cute Cafe close to the museum. From here we took the bus (public transport in Warsaw is super affordable btw) to Poland's biggest contemporary art gallery 'Zacheta'. There we saw an exhibition about 'Affection', which certainly had an effect on us. Also worth a visit when in Warsaw!

In the evening we checked out the 'Seven Sisters' Vernissage. Here we met a performance artist called 'Dragana Bulut'. She invited us to join her for her performance piece the next evening, which turned out to be in a very grungy location in Praga (area on the left bank of Warsaw).

We had a wonderful dinner at Signature, where we were most impressed by the Cheese Cake, which literally looked like a Stone on the plate (see images below). If you go here definitely check out the deserts!

Last day in Warsaw: We got a table for lunch at a Restaurant we found in the Michelin Guide called Tamka 43. As the only guests we got the undivided attention of a really nice waiter, who was so kind (thanks to Fee's big pleading eyes) to put together a sort of tasting menu despite it being lunch. Six courses; each of us got a half portion + half a glass of wine per dish. Even after having only half a portions, we were both a little drunk (there was also a alcohol heavy aperitif involved) and happily rolling out of the restaurant by the end. 

The food was some of the best we had in Warsaw, most remarkable being the Deer Tartar (or after a few wines called a 'Dear TaTaa') and the Five Variations of Rhubarb as dessert (Neither Fee or I used to be big on desserts but Poland has really been a eye(mouth)opener): a paste, jelly, in bits with anise, sorbet and dried - the best. From left to right feast your eyes on; Amuse Gueule, with some rabbit sattle and an amazing cucumber soup; Dear Tataa with hazelnut flakes, onion Balsamico, mustard grains, chanterelle; Fried Foie Gras on Hokkaido and Apple Chutney; Veal on greenery (according to Fee there is no differentiation to be made, it's all salat...) and Ébly; The awesome desert + there was a jummy soup only both of us were too obsessed with the wine so no picture.

After this episode of gluttony our entertainment for the evening did not become less frivolous: We went to an auction and Fee bought a women. For real.

Remember Dragana the performance artist to whose show we were invited? Arriving at the address we found ourselves at the entrance to a fairly rundown industrial complex wondering, with nobody else around, where the hell we were (later we found out that it's the most dodgy bit of Warsaw. Ignorance is bliss). After the guarding lady snapped at Fee for taking a picture of the entrance we still managed to convince her to help us. She brought us to her supervisor (he was fishing at a rain water reservoir) who as well had no clue of any art performance (or english for that matter). After explaining us many different things, he motioned towards the largest building of the complex, which we interpreted as an invitation to explore. 

A little further down the dirt road we run into two very fancy guys, Alex and Leandro. Alex is the owner of the art space, looks like a typical Kreutzberg/Neukölln inhabitant (where he used to live '10 years ago when it was not cool yet'...) and welcomed us to come in. 

 

The art performance was in form of an auction during which different objects but also ideas were peddled. Some 30 people, students, friends and families with children were present and created a great atmosphere. All articles were procured by a collective of artistes that had worked together for 6 months developing different performances and ideas around Affect, both psychological and philosophical

Some of the things for sale were even immaterial, or like number 12 a secret, which was to be revealed to everyone if bought (A courageous woman bought it for 20€ only to delight at its revelation, she would be given 50€ by the artist….). Fee and I bought a jar in which a just performed moment was captured, and the script to a performance. And a woman. For the last bid, Dragana put her self up for sale (Possession of 24h, free choice of usage, must be returned in the same manner as when received). Fee was excited at the prospect of this, and after a little hesitation she went for it. With 650 Zloty she was the only bidder.

When we collected our plunder and had the chance to chat to Dragon a little more she told us that, she as well lives in Berlin! We will stage a performance with her sometime later this year. EVERYONE IS INVITED. 

After the auction we got to talk with a french photographer who was there with his family (Wife and most adorable 3yo son - who had a total crush on Fee). Through them we ended up joining a lustrous dinner with some of the other performance artists, Dragana, a lovely curator from LA (the photographers sister and link to the group of artists).

The next day, Saturday we moved on to Poznan (half way between Berlin and Warsaw) to meet some acquaintances from Paris.

All in all both we enjoyed Warsaw tremendously, with its Berlin vibe plus (more) Soviet architecture, great restaurants and overall a surprising diversity. Polish people were more often than not a bit cold and extended little hospitality towards us but the few exceptions make us still feel very happy to have started our trip here. And certainly this won’t be our last time to the city.

Bis zum nächsten Mal, 

Fee & Lars