“Summer’s such a weird time.”
(Jonas from Mint Vinetu)
“o po to?
o po to bus ruduo”
(Excerpt from a poem by Donaldas Kajokas)
and then comes autumn”
(My free translation from Lithuanian)
What this dialogue is about, you may ask. As with all the things in psycho-poetry, Mint + Vinetu + Donaldas Kajokas are interrelated. Let me explain you, how.
Mint Vinetu, open in Vilnius since 2010, is a book shop of used books “where good people meet” (words taken from their website), and is the first and only book store of this kind, in Lithuania. But this is not a story about being unique at any cost – the driving idea of its founders was to set up a place where:
You can be forgotten, and forget yourself.
Mint Vinetu? The non-Lithuanians might need some more hint to grasp what the title is about. It’s pretty simple: Mint stands for the mint tea, while Vinetu is a Lithuanian transcription of Winnetou, a fictional Native American hero created by Karl May, which evokes a direct association with the first (ok, the second) book every true Lithuanian read in his or her teen-age years.
As for Kajokas, I was simply looking (desperately) for his poetry books published some 20 years or more ago. When I was about to lose my last hope, Winnetou offered me some mint tea for relax, and handed me those books in… less than 2 days!
Besides sipping tea and enjoying delicious cakes, here you can read, buy or sell books (in Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian), take part in seasonal events such as poetry readings – but above all – meet some of the craziest people and hear some of the most interesting stories.
After all, the best thing about this place is people who come here. If suddently all them started popping in, one after another, you could shoot a great movie,
says Jonas, one of the co-founders.
Let the pictures – all courtesy of Mint Vinetu – talk for themselves. Enjoy!
The menu’s on the black board.
Make yourself at home.
Tea & Books.
Another vintage detail.
As for the mint tea (prepared in the white pot on the right), there’s a nice story behind: the mint leaves are picked, dried and brought to the bookshop by one old lady – she simply wanted to share her mint made with love.
“Books are changing with you. Discover your favourites again. Mint Vinetu”.
A book-shelf for books in Italian hides another nice story: all these books are a tribute of an Italian guy who one day packed up and left the town, after having lived there for a while.
Interior detail: vintage suitcase with old books.
First dictionary of Lithuanian.
Fresh cornflowers on the table.
Autumn and rain. Best time to pop in.
A place for instant psycho-poems.
“Yours, as much as mine.”
Post scriptum: last curiosity
The two poetry books by Kajokas were printed in Soviet times. On the back cover, each bears the original price: 1 ruble 60 kopeks for the first, and 40 kopeks for the second. A box of matches costed 1 kopek. A bottle of the cheapest apple wine, was at 80 kopeks.For more information please visit Mint Vinetu official website.
Words by Jurga