Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chilly Klaipeda

            Back home in Fredericksburg, where I’m from, Virginia Beach is about a four-hour drive. Because of this, my family does not exactly make a habit of going to the beach. However, after spending nearly a month in gray, urban Vilnius, I found myself longing for a change of scenery. I had heard about the beautiful, unspoiled natural beaches of Lithuania’s coast, so one cold day at the end of October I made the four-and-a-half hour bus trip west to Klaipeda with Matt, my fellow intern.

           Besides holding the status of Lithuania’s most important port city, Klaipeda also enjoys the distinction of being one of Lithuania’s top summertime resort destinations. Since Matt and I visited at the end of October, though, we saw the town in its off-season—with sunshine having made itself scarce and the streets empty of tourists. We ate a quick lunch in town and made a beeline for the ferry that would take us to the long shores of the Curonian spit.

            The Curonian spit is a long, narrow strip of sandy beach that hugs part of the coastlines of both Lithuania and Russia (Kaliningrad). It is sprinkled with several small towns and scenic beaches. The ferry ride from Klaipeda takes barely ten minutes; however, since Matt and I had recently disembarked from quite a long bus ride, this place felt like it was at the end of the world. We had no time to visit any of the towns along the spit, but we did take a path through the forests to the beach, where we saw the Baltic Sea.

Touching the waters of the Baltic Sea--and it was cold!

            It was cold, and rainy, so we didn’t stick around too long after seeing the beach. Despite the cold weather and the emptiness of the town, I was glad to have the opportunity to see another part of the country. This would definitely be a great place to visit in the summer!