Driving to China (ish) - Day 5


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May 5th 2015
Published: May 6th 2015
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Day 5 - Gizycko to Palanga

The day before, on leaving Wolfsschanze, we had noticed signs for another smaller bunker that also promised the chance to see a U-boat and a V-2 rocket. It was close to our rented apartment in Gizycko, so we headed there in the morning before our 7 hour drive to the Lithuanian beach resort of Palanga.

Now called Mauerwald, it was set up as a basic museum, with shop window mannequins dressed in German uniforms posing next to pieces of WWII equipment and weaponry. There were no information boards or descriptions at all, though seeing a 3 dial enigma machine was interesting. There was also, totally out of place, a representation of the Amber Room. An astonishingly valuable treasure, the room was stolen by Nazis but never found after the war. Estimated to be worth €500 million today, many have tried to find it and failed. One of the pics explains the story.

A low tunnel led us into the second half of the bunker, where for some reason they had decided to place a lifelike mannequin of Adolf Hitler, sitting down in a small room with bars like a cell door. The dummy was quite realistic in the low light, and compelled you to get up close to make sure it wasn't an actor waiting to jump up and scare the bejeezus out of you. It was more than a little creepy and we were all glad to emerge into the sunlight again.

We then walked down a short track to get to the U-boot, wondering how they had transported it there. We were a bit disappointed to find that it was in fact a scale plastic model on the roof of another part of the 'museum' (see pic). They had instead tried to recreate the interior of such a vessel wihin the building. There wasn't much, but the effect was quite good.A replica of a V-2 rocket stood just outside the submarine interior.

One final room however had us all divided; I loved it, John thought it was a joke....... they had a Nazi flying saucer, antigravity engine and stealth fighter on display. Dave F muttered something that sounded like 'bullshit' repeatedly and constantly the whole way round. This time there were boards giving information, but the tone of language was totally serious: The Nazis HAD developed their own UFO, capable of Mach 10 and powered by an antigravity engine called 'Die Glocke' (The Bell). They had also built a working stealth plane looking very like the current US stealth bombers in shape.

Being men of learning, we were sceptical, but I did resolve to find out more when I next have some time with a decent internet connection. You should be able to read some of the info boards in the attached pictures on this post to make up your own minds.The bit about the special coating used to absorb radar (sawdust, charcoal and glue) would have made Mcgyver proud.

We then began our journey to Palanga via Kaunas. First however, we had to play hole 6 of TLCEP.My having opened up a sizeable lead, John was keen to peg me back with his choice of location. He wanted a water hazard, and found it in a park back in Gizycko (we had to double back after Mauerwald). A bend in a river meant we had to clear 60 yards of water. Having waited patiently for a man feeding ducks with his child to walk off (we would have hit over them, but didn't know the Polish for 'fore'), Dave F cleared the river first, followed by John. Mine got wet. John celebrated as if Villa had won two games in a season, and then grumped a bit as I recovered to tie Dave F in joint 3rd.

6 holes down: DP 10, DF 15, JR 12.

Once into Lithuania the roads were great, and we made good time. I had planned to save my pick of the next hole's location until the next day, but Dave F spotted a truly stunning opportunity at our last pitstop. A small pond at the back of the service ststion had a little island accessible by a wooden bridge. Hole 7, also known as 'I-shall-never-criticise-layby-golf-again' would have not looked out of place at Augusta. See the pictures.

Gansfelsen bravely volunteered to be the target in the middle of the green. Astonishingly, we all made said green at the first attempt. Dave F and I tied for first so picked up 2 points each (Our scoring system is weird, I know. Luckily the course is totally normal). John came last. Running totals: DP 12, DF 17, JR 15.

Because the other two wanted more of a chance to catch me, and because I want to further crush their spirit like the pretenders they are, we have all agreed to play a final 8 holes once in Kyrgystan to end the game in 18.

We arrived in Palanga at least 9pm local, dropped our bags in our 6 person apartment (costing a whole €30 for the night) and made for the beach promenade. As with Gizycko, it was out of season at this resort and very quiet. It can be packed in summer, with many bars resaturants and a great stretch of sand on offer. The food and beer were cheap and good, and having set at least one solar system to rights we headed for bed. The next day would be, I believed, the indisputable highlight of the European leg (and so it proved). More on that tomorrow.

David


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