Honey Valley Camping, Nemunas DeltaMay 24, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C
We've found ourselves a little bit of paradise here at Honey Valley Campsite, just a few hundred metres from the Nemunas River.
After having spent three idyllic days wild camping at Orija Lake, our cupboards were in need of restocking, so we set off along the country roads towards an Iki supermarket Will had found on the sat nav. The roads were narrow, often with sandy grit augmenting their edges. It was disconcerting when we encountered the ruts made from car and lorry tyres that threw Martha off course, but as the journey wore on we became more used to them.
Once again the supermarket car park didn't have space for us, so we found street parking nearby. The Iki was a reasonable size, serving numerous mid rise apartment complexes around it. We've been enjoying the good range of organic produce in France, Belgium and Germany of late, but there were very few 'bio' items here. However, there was an amazing cake counter, displaying beautifully crafted gateaux and tortes. The server spoke a little English and kindly halved a sumptuous lemon cream cake, presented with a slice of lemon and pansy flowers. We asked them to teach us how to say 'thank you' (ačiu) which we remembered easily because it sounded like a sneeze (achoo). We usually rely on the DuoLingo languge learning app to pick up words and phrases, but it doesn't cover Lithuanian. Google Translate is useful but it doesn't have speech output for this country, so pronunciation is a problem.
We'd done our research before arriving and found that like Britain, Lithuania doesn't cater specifically for motorhomes. There aren't dedicated filling and emptying points or low cost stopovers like in many european countries. The price of campsites is also comparable to the UK, with an average of €20pn. We've therefore decided to alternate between wild camping and campsites every 2 or 3 nignts, so we don't break the bank or worry about finding water and emptying points.
Arriving at Honey Valley campsite (€18pn) we drove up a track lined with tall acacia trees. A small gravel area was bordered by three dark stained flapboard cabins. One roof was covered in photovoltaic panels, one with felt tiles and solar water heating panels and the largest, a two storey construction with balcony, had a beautiful thatched roof.
We'd looked the site up online so we weren't surprised to see shelves of honey for sale in the small office. As you might expect, from the name, the owners of Honey Valley Campsite keep bees. They introduced us to the different types on sale; two Spring honeys, one harvested just the previous day and the other a week ago, both very runny and light. The forest honey from Autumn was hard, much darker and made from the sticky substance aphids deposit on tree leaves. We could see the pale honey foam around the edges of the jar, showing it wasn't overprocessed (a bit like the blob of cream that used to form at the top of milk bottles). We bought a jar of the freshest Spring and one of forest honey. We had to restrain ourselves from going back and buying more when we sampled them later!
After registering us for 2 nights, the manager slotted a small Union Jack into a display alongside German, Swiss and Lithuanian flags, before showing us the emptying and filling points, washbasins, small kitchen, shower and toilet blocks. Without the need for electric hookup (thanks to our solar panel) they said we could park anywhere we chose and that Will could fish in any of the four small ponds, although he would need a license for the river. After learning how to say hello in Lithuanian (laba diena), we scouted out the best spot on foot. There weren't alloted bays, just a lovely grassy clearing, dotted with trees - our kinda place! Pipped to the post by another couple in their overland vehicle with roof tent, we settled quite happily into our second favourite loction, between the smallest pond and a wooden picnic table.
Honey Valley had lots to look at on site; most things were constructed of natural wood, including the thatched outdoor eating areas and a children's playground with a swing bench for grownups. Two small sleeping pods provided minimalist accommodation for those without a van or tent and a pedalo on the largest pond provided entertainment for people staying in the hostel. Campfires were set up, bbqs free to use and communal washing lines strung between trees.
As well as being a haven for us, Honey Valley was also a haven for wildlife. Thousands of tadpoles wiggled around the edges of two of the ponds and frogs jumped in as we walked by. They were really noisy, their croaking drowned out the birdsong when they really got into it! Butterflies and cockchafer beetles flew above the seedheads sprouting in the grass and Will accidentally scared a mother duck off her nest, layed low in the grass with 7 white eggs. It was so well camouflaged, we wouldn't have known it was there had she not spotted us and flown off.
While Will fished, Vicky made use of the €3 per cycle washing machine, before we both sat on a picnic bench and tucked into the delicious lemon torte that tasted as good as it looked.
There didn't appear to be much to do off site, but then we didn't really feel the need to leave, other than to take a stroll down to the
Nemunas River on our second afternoon. The largest river in Lithuania, it runs most of the way to the coast before breaking up into many smaller watercourses that form the Nemunas Delta, one of the most wildlife rich areas in Lithuania. Just 30km from here, the river meets the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast and runs between the two countries, forming the border line. We arrived at a sandy beach from where we watched a swan paddling in a backwater. Three little Sandpipers played on the shore and we spotted a Stork flying overhead. We spent a little time strolling along the beach but the undergrowth meant we couldn't go far so we returned to Honey Valley for some indulgent rest and relaxation!Read more