Vilnius – Day 11 & 12

Will Streit –  Sunday, June 9.  The weekend was both fantastic and productive.  We had spent the past week gathering data and performing follow-up interviews with members of the city.  We also had numerous meetings with internal IBM experts to work through some of our findings and recommendations.  Thank you to all of the IBM’ers that took time out of their day job to provide insight!  Everyone’s willingness to jump in on short notice has been amazing, especially given the tight Smarter Cities Challenge timeline.
Over the weekend, we worked through our recommendations and presentation.  Indrë and Anton (from the municipality) were kind enough to spend a few hours with us on Sunday reviewing the draft presentation and providing feedback.  We were able to incorporate in the input on Sunday evening and are ready for additional reviews and refinement this week.

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But it wasn’t all work.  On Friday, the mayor invited us to an event at the Vilnius University Botanical Gardens.  The music performance turned interactive and we all had the chance to join in with the drums.  The mayor was a great sport and led the charge!

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On Saturday we went to Trakai Castle, which is located on an island in a secluded lake.  It may have been one of the most gorgeous castles we have seen anywhere in Europe.  Just another example of the priceless treasures we are finding in Lithuania.

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We also spent time biking and walking in the city, turning down random alleys and exploring the hidden nooks throughout the city.  My favorites were suddenly stumbling upon a hidden park with a great view over the city, and then a little bit later, a pub nestled out over a river at the base of the hills. The festival in the park across the hotel was also fun to walk through, especially when the hot air balloons started launching for evening rides over the city.  Thankfully the sunlight stays until nearly 11pm, so we are able to work a lot and still get time to explore and enjoy.

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