Published: May 18th 2009May 16th 2009
Today we went to the Curonian Spit. This involved us having to get up relatively early to make sure that we had breakfast and were at the ferry terminal in time for the 9am ferry. The hotel that we were staying at actually delivers breakfast to your room in a little wicker basket, so we had all asked for our breakfasts to be delivered at 8am to make sure that we had lots of time to eat and get ready to meet our tour guide at 8:45am. Unfortunately the breakfasts still hadn't arrived at 8:30am. MK and I have a strange door just beside the entrance to our room that has been locked since we got here and we couldn't work out what would be in the room. Well we found out at 8:35am when a lady came barreling out the door and nearly knocked me over carrying about 5 little wicker baskets on her arm. These we obviously the breakfasts and the lady was obviously very behind schedule as she was looking incredibly frazzled.
The breakfast itself was quite nice and consisted of a large amout of bread (both white and rye) and some cheese and salami, jam
and butter and also some yoghurt and juice. Some of the other group members were not very happy with the late arrival of the breakfast and there were some grumbles when we arrived down to meet up with everyone.
The next bit of bad luck that we had today was when we arrived at the ferry terminal. While Andy was buying the tickets for the ferry we watched the 9am ferry pull away from the dock. Yes that is correct, we had missed the ferry. It was a little strange that they let us purchase the tickets and didn't do anything to try and hold the ferry for us. So this wee incident put us an hour behind schedule for the rest of the day. When we finally got onto the Curonian Spit we hopped on a wee bus and were taken for a 4 hour tour of the Spit by a local guide who lives on the island, Manfreid. The first stop of the tour was Witches Hill we were got out of the bus and wandered through the forest looking at some seriously cool wooden sculptures. Check out the photos for a few of the highlights of
the sculptures.Witches Hill was created during the summers from 1979 to 1981 when folk artists from all over Lithuania came to the spit to create about 80 oak sculptures portraying devils and witches who are the characters from local folk tales. After finishing our stroll through the forest we had another brief stop to look at the nesting place of some of the Cormorants and Herons. This is one of the largest colonies in all of Europe. We then continued on to see some of the sand dunes of the spit. We climbed up to the top of the dune and actually got some very lovely view out across the Curonian Lagoon and back towards the Baltic. It was about the time that we finished walking up the dunes that lunchtime arrived. Unfortunatley though because we were an hour behind schedule we didn't have anytime to stop for lunch. This did not go down so well with me and little miss cranky pants come for a visit for the rest of the tour. I really wasn't interested in the Thomas Mann house and I was totally uninterested when we stopped and walked to the top of another dune just outside
of Neda (the town at the bottom of the Spit).
MK, Tony, Angie, Nilo and myself had elected to ride bicycles back up the spit from Neda back to Smiltyne were the ferry docked. This however meant that we had to catch the 2pm bus from Neda to Juodkrante where we were to pick up our bikes. And this meant that we wouldn't have a chance to get anything to eat in Neda, except for a quick dash into the supermarket. This turned out to be a great thing to do as we picked up some lovely rolls and cheese and ham and sweet pastries. So after having lunch on the bus to Juodkrante we hopped on our bikes and started our 25km bike ride. This was a lovely bike ride on a flat bike path up the centre of the spit through some lovely forest landscapes, and was a very enjoyable way to get back to the ferry. Once we were back on the main land again we headed back to the hotel (after watching about 400 motorcycles go past us in some type of rally) and picked up my laptop and headed off to find somewhere to
access the internet.
We had gone to the casino yesterday to change some money to the Lithuanian Latis and discovered that they had WiFi, so we thought that we would see if they would let us use it. Well yes they would. However before we could sit down and use the internet we first of all had to register as a member of the casino. Yes that is right, I am now a registered, card carrying member of the Olympic Casino in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The internet access however turned out to be the best access that we have had so far and was super fast and efficient. After using the internet for a little while we then headed off to the local microbrewery to get something to eat. The restaurant looked lovely, with a gorgeous back country farm wooden feel to it. However the chefs in the kitchen seemed to have a very relaxed sytle of cooking and it took us over an hour to get our food and when it arrived MK's chicken wasn't properly cooked and had to be sent back. So if anyone is in Klaipeda, Liuthuania anytime, only go to the Memel microbrewery if you
have quite a bit of time on your hands and are partial to samonella.
Tomorrow should see us back on the bus (perhaps with internet again?) on our way to Vilnius.
There are more photos below