November 24, 2023

What Tony Soprano, Frank Zappa, and Twin Peaks Have in Common?

While it's easy to locate a map featuring the city's main sightseeing spots, a significant aspect of a remarkable travel experience lies in discovering the unusual and unexpected. This is precisely what Lithuania's charming capital, Vilnius, has in store for you.

November 24, 2023. Vilnius usually puts a spell on its visitors with its compact Old Town full of churches, baroque architecture, and abundant trees — no wonder it was recently announced as as the winner of the 2025 European Green Capital Award. Nevertheless, Lithuanian capital also presents some exceptional places for those seeking experiences beyond the typical tourist checklist. 

Enigmatic Twin Peaks experience

One of the eerie experiences you can partake in is a visit to the Black Lodge Café, a venue that takes its inspiration from the legendary TV series by David Lynch, Twin Peaks. The café, adopting the unique concept of a "speakeasy," remains hidden until you secure a coveted table reservation. 

Inside the Café, you'll find just one table with only three seats. The menu is equally minimalist, featuring one drink and one dessert: the legendary "Damn fine coffee" and a slice of cherry pie. Enveloped in velvet curtains and eerie music playing softly in the background — just one hauntingly familiar tune — visitors are fully immersed in the doppelganger-ish atmosphere for which Twin Peaks is renowned.

Frank Zappa memorial: unexpected tribute

Lithuania's capital is one of just two locations worldwide that hosts a monument honoring Frank Zappa, even though the musician has no apparent connections to the country. Nevertheless, this peculiar tribute has an amusing backstory. After a visit to the USA, Lithuanian artist Saulius Paukštys regaled everyone with a tale of his newfound friendship with the musician himself. It was a mere illusion, yet Frank Zappa captured the imagination of other Lithuanian artists and became a symbol of freedom. 

Renowned sculptor Konstantinas Bagdonas, who was known for creating monuments to Lenin during the Soviet occupation, crafted the legendary statue of Zappa as a symbol of Lithuania's new post-Soviet era.

Even today, the sculpture continues to astonish tourists from around the world and stands as a testament to Lithuania's unconventional approach to creativity and artistry. It also serves as a symbol of fellowship, since a replica of the sculpture was generously donated to Frank Zappa's hometown of Baltimore.

Prison-turned-venue space

A former notorious prison in Vilnius, Lukiškės Prison, was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and is now undergoing an unexpected transformation into a cultural hub. Since 2019, when the prison was closed, the place has welcomed 250 artists who have opened their studios, and the location itself hosts exhibitions.

During the summer, it hosts open-air music shows in the prison's yard, and December is market with annual Christmas Markets. This year from December 7-10 and 14-17, its courtyard will be home to a Christmas gastro market, offering visitors a feast of local flavors, including hot wine, cakes, candies, and more.

Also, this  time not only will the prison yard be full of good cheer and cozy smells, but the gem of Lukiškės — the Church of St. Nicholas, one of the finest Orthodox churches in Vilnius — will be open to visitors.

Festival dedicated to soup 

Vilnius embraced the color pink long before it became popular in Barbie movies, all thanks to Lithuania's beloved cold beetroot soup — a dish no Lithuanian can do without in the summer. This visually appealing and revitalizing dish, enhanced with probiotic—rich kefir, has a faithful adoration within Lithuania, that manifested in a whole festival dedicated to it.

During the Pink Soup Fest, participants won various shades of pink, with some going the extra mile by dressing as beetroots, eggs, dill, and Šaltibarščiai Fairies. A massive slide on Bastion Hill provides panoramic views of Užupis, culminating in a thrilling slide into an artificial soup bowl. Last year, 500 liters of šaltibarščiai were served in a single bowl, with the city's TV Tower overseeing the event, bathed in a pink glow.