While eating dinner on my first evening in Vilnius I got a list of recommended sites in Lithuania from the waitress at Ertlio Namas. One of the places on her list was Nida. Which was great since I already wanted to go there anyway. Nida is the most western point on the Curonian Spit before the border to Kaliningrad. Crossing over to the Spit is easy by ferry. Two different kinds, a pedestrian one and another for cars, cross in regular intervals.
I took one of the earlier ferries and luckily, once off it, there was a bus waiting. Since almost everyone was queuing to get one, I followed like a lemming. Turns out, it was the best idea ever, since the bus goes at the most once an hour. 50 minutes later I had arrived in Nida, which was also a favorite summer residence spot of Thomas Mann.
Instead of touring any museums, I was strolling along the coastal walk to see the famous dunes. More infamous actually, because the moving sand dunes covered 14 villages. After centuries of deforestation due to shipbuilding in Klaipeda, nature was taking its revenge. Eventually though the locals understood that the dunes needed to be reforested if they didn’t want to lose all livelihood. So it’s interesting to see that underneath it all is always sand.
The path takes you from one side of the spit to the other with some high dunes in between as well as an view point into Kaliningrad.
As you can see there is sand everywhere. It’s almost like in the desert except for the sea in the back.
And still more dunes to climb to get to the lookout over Kaliningrad.
Finally on top you can see Kaliningrad. The headland on the left already belongs to the Russian enclave.
The way down on the other side had a lot of interesting features. First a sundial,
then a sculpture of J. P. Sartre called ‘Against the Wind’,
and finally I walked through a forest. It didn’t look very dense, but the trees kept the sand at bay which shone through everywhere. Just imagine that every tree was planted by hand in the 19th century.
A wooden boardwalk led me to the beach of the Baltic Sea. After seeing almost no one during the coastal walk, suddenly I was surrounded by a lot of sun bathers. There were even people in the water. Except me, I kept my jeans on. The weather was definitely not warm enough for Central Europeans to go swimming.
After reading in a sheltered dune and observing my fellow beach comrades, I walked back to the village. Passing the lighthouse of Nida, I climbed up 132 steps for another look on the Curonian Spit.
Spending a day on the Curonian Spit and walking around the National Park was an excellent idea. The landscape is beautiful, especially once you realize how hard people worked to reforest the area again and save it from the dunes. Yours, Pollybert