Vilnius – Day 15 thru 17: Balance, Balloons & a ‘Blind Date with a Book’

Will Streit – June 9-11 ( Mon, Tues, Wed) –  The final week started off busy, as we finalized the recommendations and began meeting with members of the city to review.  The highlight was Monday night, when we were invited to the Mayor’s house to review our feedback.  We sat outside, where the view and the weather were absolutely perfect (both of which seem to be the case every day in Vilnius).  The Mayor and his wife were great hosts, spending time with the team and sharing fun stories.  One fun one was this “chair” for two people.   Each has to be in sync with the other person, especially getting on and off, otherwise they both tumble.  It is supposed to represent two people in a relationship, where but I thought it was a great metaphor for the balance among our Smarter Cities team.Image

The highlight was midway through reviewing our presentation, when suddenly hot air balloons launched over Vilnius.  We tried to get through the next recommendation, but had to stop and appreciate it.  It was breath-taking.
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Over the next two days, we also did reviews with most of the major stakeholders, making sure we had not missed anything and that the direction was in line with our discussions over the past two weeks.  Thankfully, the city had been so open with information, people, and data, that it was easy to show where the recommendations tied into the research we had done.  We really appreciated the time that they gave us on Wednesday, especially since they would hear the presentation again on Thursday.
As busy as it was, we did try to get out into the city some more.  We know our time here is almost done, so we want to make sure to take in as much as possible, even if it meant working into the morning hours.  On Tuesday, we kept our now regular tradition of stopping for ice cream – this time it included trying the pistachio and maple ice cream flavors, both of which were surprisingly good.  We also bumped into Anton (from the city), who just bought a “blind date with a book” book.  At a local book store, they have a few books that are each tightly wrapped in brown paper.  There are a few clues written on the wrapper, but you don’t know what the book is when you buy it.  Its a fun idea, and we made sure to pick one up later.

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