23 July 2006: In the morning, I paid a visit once again at the same cafeteria that the waitress with the enchanting eyes was working at. Of course, when every other staff saw me once again… they knew why I did go there again.
Half an hour later I started for Klaipeda, a city close to Palanga, approximately 30 kilometers. Klaipeda is considered the commercial port of Lithuania. Reaching the city, I discovered that most of the central roads were closed, due to the “Sea Festival”, a festival that was taking place in both Palanga and Klaipeda that same weekend. I decided to park my bike in a hotel’s parking lot, which I thought would be safer than leaving it on the road. The price was 5 Litas.
After 5 minutes of walk, I found myself between lots of people that were enjoying the festival up and close. People and beer were plentiful. Along the roads there were plenty of street beerhouses where everybody could taste different kind of beers, some of them free of charge. Lots of life and motion. On one side of the harbor there was a huge stage setup where local artists were performing and singing 24 hours a day. On the other side of the harbor, small boats were getting full with tourists that wanted to go to the other side of the sea, at the Curonian Spit, where they could view the Baltic Sea.
At the place across the harbor, it’s the Curonian spit. It’s a lengthy peninsula of 98 kilometers in length, which is very thin and curved, composed of natural sand hills. Its width depends from 400 meters up to 4 kilometers. The whole spit was a natural creation, without human intervention and is now considered an UNESCO world heritage. It includes 4 small towns, one of them is Nida, a very vivid and colorful village, where plenty of German tourists use to spend their summer.
Around 1:30 I thought it was a good time for me to start for the city of Nida, using the ferryboat a few hundreds of further down. Of course, the few hundreds of meters further down finally ended up on being 30 kilometers up and down the road, due to non-existent road signs and since I originally found myself waiting on the wrong port. After 40 minutes, I finally found the right port. I paid at the entrance of the port 16 Litas, the ticket to travel to the other side. The traveling distance was 500 meters. Time to travel? 10 minutes in total, 9 minutes for the ferry to load/unload the cars and motorcycles and 1 minute travel!! The distance from the place the ferryboat left us up to Nida was 45 kilometers. What I was staring during my driving to Nida was the ground dust. It was nothing more than beach sand that many trees had grown from that sand, unexplained for me, since I didn’t saw this anywhere before. Reaching the beautiful town of Nida, I found a small restaurant and sat there to eat. Prices were “high” – around 30 Litas – for a full meal. The small city by the see was very scenic with its traditional and well-preserved houses, while the beaches resembled similar European ones. Unfortunately, I then realized that I was almost out of memory on my digital camera and that I could shoot 1 more photo!
Time was almost 7pm and I had to take the road back. I paid for my lunch and started quickly to drive back. Reaching the port, I discovered that I didn’t need to pay for a ticket, since the original 16 Litas I paid on my way there, included my return. From Klaipeda to Palanga it took me 1 hour, due to the fact that I got confused on some road signs and found myself driving on the wrong highway. Reaching my hotel at Palanga, I freshen up a little bit and got out again to go to the pedestrian street and see by myself the sunset and of course I found it a good idea to go for a coffee and sweet. I just wanted to see for the last time these beautiful people and the nice setup. Without even noticing it, time was already past 11. I thought that it was a good time to return to my hotel to rest. Next day the trip to Vilnius would follow up, though through Jurbakas, since they told me that the route was amazing and I also would see the river Nemunas right next to me while driving, ideal for photographs.