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75 travelers at this place

  • Day3


    August 11, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Sommer Sonne, Strand und Meer. Urlaub! Heute sind wir mit dem Rad vom Campingplatz nach Klaipeda geradelt. Von dort ging es mit der Fähre auf die Kurische Nehrung. Viele Dünen und endloser Strand. Anschließend sind wir noch durch die Altstadt von Klaipedia gewandert. Nach insgesamt gut 30 Kilometern radeln waren wir wieder beim Campingplatz.Read more

  • Day9

    In Which Storks Roost but Chaos Reigns

    June 11, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Our day began with a bus transfer along the Nemunas River from Kaunus to Vente on the Baltic Coast. This region is famous for being home to some impressive 16th and 17th century castles, but by far the most interesting feature of this region is its proximity to the Russian enclave of Kalinigrad.

    Kaliningrad is a small isolated part of Russia with a population of about half a million people. It is situated between Lithuania and Poland and obviously has huge strategic significance to the Russians. We passed by some heavily fortified border checkpoints and eventually took a tiny track down to the riverside where we had a unrestricted view across the river to this forgotten Russian enclave.

    Although we were observing it from a distance of a couple of hundred metres away, the decaying and dingy looking buildings did little to encourage a future visit. After taking a few pictures and trying to make fools of ourselves by waving to the non existent residents, we climbed back on the bus and continued on our way.

    This region is also home to thousands of storks and the local residents try hard to encourage storks to nest on their chimneys. Just about every house was equipped with a huge stork nest, many of which actually had storks in residence. Those residents with active storks were sure to attract good luck.

    Judging by this there must also be a lot of lucky lamp posts as numerous power poles were also topped with giant stork nests. I wondered how they avoided setting fire to themselves as they were perched in such a precarious location.

    After unloading the bikes we rode out to an Ornithological Museum on the coast, before heading off to find somewhere for lunch. Although we had been promised that a nearby village boasted a bakery, when we arrived we found (to our horror) that it was only open three days a week, neither of those days being today. That was a severe letdown, but we kept knocking on doors and managed to find a tiny general store that sold fruit and about three other items.

    I bought a bag of cherries and sat down to devour them. It was not exactly the lunch I had been looking for, but it was not all bad. It was only when it was time to head off that somehow chaos crept into our peloton. We rode a short distance to the turnoff and stopped to count our riders. Two were missing. But where were they ?

    Since no one had seen them leave early we assumed that they must be behind us. The group waited in the hot sunshine while Kirsten and Douglas volunteered to ride back and search for them. Fortunately I had brought the walkie talkies and was able to keep in touch while they searched back and forth for them in vain.

    After about an hour we were really starting to worry. It was at this point we were met by a jovial German with a hugely overloaded bike. He stopped to chat. We asked if he had seen two women riders. He had - about 10km further down the road ! They had obviously left early and were almost back to the waiting bus.

    In the meantime Douglas and Kirsten were each about 10 km in the opposite direction,still searching. It took about another hour to finally round up the rest of the peloton and continue on our way. When we arrived at the bus the two missing riders had been waiting there in the shade for a couple of hours.

    We all then climbed into the scorching bus and waited (and waited and waited) while the driver checked and packed the bikes. In case I haven't mentioned it enough times, we have arrived in the Baltics at the same time as a highly unseasonal burst of hot weather also chose to arrive. Every day so far has been in the 30s and the sun seems to really pack a particularly ferocious punch. We had not been expecting this (and neither had the locals).

    Hotels and homes here are built for the cold, not the heat. Someone will make a fortune selling ceiling fans throughout the region, but for the moment the people swelter. Fridges cannot cope and the few air conditioners really struggle to make any impact.

    In spite of this we were really (really and truly) glad to find that our rooms in the Old Mill Hotel were air conditioned and cool. It took some time to finally bring my body temperature down to a comfortable level. It had been a challenging day and the heat is predicted to continue unabated.

    After a lovely dinner, I finally collapsed into bed after 11 pm. Of course it was still bright daylight outside.
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  • Day10

    Cycling the Curonian

    June 12, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ 🌙 25 °C

    The Curonian Spit is a 100 km narrow strip of land that separates the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon. It runs almost north-south and is shared between Lithuania and Russia (Kaliningrad). Because of the immense beaches along the coast, the Curonian spit is a very popular holiday location for Lithuanians in the short summer. Of course this year summer arrived early, seemingly catching everyone by surprise.

    Everyone loves a sea journey - fresh air, the smell of salt, that queasy feeling of impending seasickness. We had been promised an extended 50km sea voyage, however it turned out to be a 5 minute trip across the Curonian Lagoon on a car ferry. Oh well, that's the way it happens in the Baltics.

    The bus then drove us south down the Spit, almost to the Russian border at Nida. Any further and we might have ended up in a Russian prison. After unloading our bikes, our mission was simple - to ride back along the entire Lithuanian section of the Spit to Klaipeda.

    The previous evening I had promised the team that it would be "completely flat and very easy". In fact it was neither of these things. Even though the Spit is very narrow, it does have quite a few undulations and even contains a number of small but very steep sand dunes. These have now been grassed and treed over, so that they look like old volcanoes.

    The biggest challenge of all was the relentless heat. As we stopped in Nida for supplies, the young girl in the shop explained that July and August are the "hottest months". She assured us that this is very unusual at this time of the year.

    We lathered up with sunscreen and headed north for the 60 km ride. The first section was a lovely seaside path which followed the coast of the lagoon for a short distance,before heading inland. This was not as scenic, but the forest gave us shade from the burning sun.

    There were a number of riders riding in the opposite direction, so I decided to try taking a survey of Lithuanian friendliness. As each cyclist approached I greeted them with a smile and a friendly "Hello". I then noted their responses. I am sorry to report that the vast majority gave no acknowledgement at all. They completely ignored us. Only perhaps 20% gave a grudging reply. We could only come to the conclusion that Lithuanians are not the most friendly people on the planet.

    This observation was also noted by many of the others in our group who had experienced similar abruptness from hotel staff and shop assistants. When I bought some food from the supermarket in Nida, the lady snatched my money so abruptly that I felt like it must have been infected with something.

    When so few people responded to my greetings, I decided to try "Bonjour" instead. It always works a treat in France, so I thought it might work here to. It didn't. Same blank stare, same lack of reply. At least I tried.

    Because the bike path wandered away from the road, there were very few opportunities to purchase food or drink along the way. Just when we were desperate for something cool chanced upon an enterprising you lady who had set up an ice cream and drinks kiosk in the back of her car. She was a lifesaver. The ice creams and drinks were icy cold and just what we needed on such a hot day.

    After riding for about 45 km we finally found a lovely seaside eatery which gave us a perfect opportunity for a rest and refreshment stop. The food in Lithuania is very cheap- only 6 Euro for a chicken schnitzel and salad lunch. Coffees usually cost 1.9 Euro. Even the lovely iced coffee only cost 3 Euro. They might not know how to smile, but you can certainly travel cheaply here.

    We rode the last few km, eagerly looking forward to reaching the ferry that would take us back across the lagoon to our hotel. By this time the sun was scorching from a cloudless sky and the temperature was in the low 30s.

    When we finally rounded the final corner and saw a ferry terminal, we all gave a sigh of relief and charged to the ticket office to buy a 50 cent ticket. We didn't have to wait long for the ferry to arrive and quickly wheeled our bikes on board. No point in asking questions we thought.

    It was only when the ferry started to move that we realised to our horror that it was going in the wrong direction. It was not the right ferry after all. We could have panicked, but we didn't (not much anyway). We decided that many people pay a lot more than 50 cents for a European river cruise, so we might as well just enjoy the experience and see what happened.

    Fortunately the ferry did eventually stop at Klaipeda and we were able to get to our hotel. I immediately went to the bar and asked for a cold drink "with lots of ice". I was told "no ice today, the heat has made all our ice melt". It was that sort of day.

    At least the air conditioner in my room was still working.

    PS Sorry there are not many pictures, it was too hot to take many.
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  • Day22


    August 9, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Unser erster Gang war zur Touristeninfo. Dort erhielten wir einen Stadtplan und wir stellten fest, dass die Altstadt recht klein war. Da sich auch das Wetter schlagartig auf strahlenden Sonnenschein ☀️ geändert hatte, beschlossen wir nach dem Rundgang durch die Stadt nach Palanga zurückzufahren.Read more

  • Day14

    Russland die Zweite

    June 28, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Wir versuchen es nochmal mit Russland. Diesmal geht es nach Königsberg.

    Vorfälle wie bei der Ausreise unseres Mitstreiters 6000 Pounds of Metal bleiben uns hoffentlich auch diesmal erspart.
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  • Day2

    Klaipeda, die Zweite

    October 4, 2016 in Lithuania ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    Auf der Jagd nach Futter ist mir heute Abend noch ein besonderes Highlight begegnet.
    Zurück von Sand, Strand und Sonne bin ich bei der Suche nach Futter über ein altes Segelschiff "gestolpert".
    Als ich das Schiff enterte, war mir nicht bewusst, was für ein edler "Schuppen" das ist.
    Am Eingang wurde mir meine Garderobe abgenommen von einer Dame im schicken Outfit. Ich mit Wanderschuhen, Shirt und Rucksack 🤔. Ich wurde dann in den Bauch des Schiffes begleitet und platziert.
    Edles Ambiente, mein erster Gedanke - da wird das Budget wohl nur für ein Salatblatt reichen...
    Ich war zu diesem Zeitpunkt der einzige Gast und hatte die volle Aufmerksamkeit des Kellners.
    Man gab mir keine Speisekarte, sondern reichte mir einen versiegelten Briefumschlag. Dieser enthielt die Speisekarte. Ein Blick auf diese und mir war klar, es reicht doch für mehr als ein Salatblatt.
    Ich habe sehr leckeren Fisch gegessen in einem edlen Ambiente, für einen sehr moderaten Preis. Als Vorspeise gab es eine Fischsuppe, die mit Wodka am Tisch verfeinert wurde. Sollte es euch einmal hierher verschlagen, kann ich euch das uneingeschränkt empfehlen. Fast schon Sterneküche.
    Ein großartiger Abschluss eines sehr schönen Tages.
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  • Day2


    July 25, 2019 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Endlich im Baltikum angekommen! Klaipeda ist eine schöne, ruhige und saubere Stadt. Ein totales Highlight ist die Kurische Nehrung. Sie ist einfach traumhaft schön und man möchte gar nicht mehr weg... Gestern war Stadtfest in Klaipeda. Das Fest war riesig, es waren in der kompletten Innenstadt und im Hafen Stände, Bühnen und Fahrgeschäfte. Es waren bestimmt 100.000+ Menschen da. Was extrem beeindruckend war, war das es keinen Stress gab (obwohl genug Bierstände da waren) und das nahe zu alle ihren Müll in die Mülleimer und nicht auf den Boden geworfen haben. Jetzt geht es nach Ventspils in Lettland.Read more

  • Day1


    October 3, 2016 in Lithuania ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Erstes Ziel meiner Reise nach Litauen.
    Eigentlichen war der Plan, sich mit einem Mietwagen fortzubewegen. Nachdem ich aber festgestellt habe, dass das Parken für das Auto im zweiten Teil meiner Reise teurer ist, als meine Übernachtung, hab ich mich komplett auf Öffentliche eingestellt und auch wenn ich bedenken hatte, ob das alles so funktioniert... heute war das schon mal super.
    Drei Stunden vom Bus durch viel Landschaft geschaukelt werden hat auch was, ich hab geschlafen, gelesen und einfach nur aus dem Fenster gestarrt. War irgendwie entspannt, wie Urlaub 😄.
    Klaipeda, die drittgrößte Stadt Litauens mit ca. 160.000 Einwohnern, bis 1914 übrigens die nördlichste Stadt Deutschlands 🤔. Soviel zu den Fakten.
    Ich bin hier, weil mein Ziel die Kurische Nehrung ist.
    Nachdem ich meinen Backpack im Hotel abgeladen habe, ging es ins Städtchen.
    Ganz tolle Altstadt, liebevoll sanierte Häuser, tolle Boutiquen (nur gucken nicht kaufen, wir erinnern uns, ich reise mit Handgepäck), süße Cafés (ich habe meinen Favoriten für Mittwoch schon gefunden) und jede Menge Restaurant. Auch der Burghafen ist sehenswert.
    Hier habe ich den "Schwarzen Geist" gefunden, der natürlich eine Sage als Hintergrund hat. Die Brücke an deren Ende er "hängt" wird auch heute noch nur mit Muskelkraft gedreht, um Segelboote in den Yachthafen zu lassen.
    Klaipeda hat jede Menge Skulpturen mit einer Geschichte im Hintergrund. Die "Kleine Maus", sie ist echt winzig, ihr soll man einen Wunsch ins Ohr flüstern, der sich sicher erfüllt, wenn man es niemanden verrät. Ich habe natürlich einen Wunsch bei ihr platziert und nein, nicht das was der eine oder andere hier denkt 😄....
    Am Abend hat sich sogar noch die Sonne gezeigt. Morgen hoffe ich auf mehr davon, ich will an's Meer.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Smiltynė, Smiltyne, Смилтине

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