Updated: Feb 3, 2019
After our rock 'n' roll weekend in Riga, we headed to the Curonian Spit in Lithuania for a few days of R&R and yet another mini detox for ourselves. The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune off the west coast of Lithuania and is of the biggest tourist destinations of the country. The northern 52kms is owned by Lithuania and the southern 46km is actually owned by Russia! The bay side of the Spit is lined with blue and red Swiss-style cottages while the other side boasts pristine, white beaches that host magnificent sunsets.
We caught the ferry from Klaipedia and then an hour long bus to the town of Nida. In the height of summer it is apparently a bustling hub but in Autumn, it is a sleepy small town. We stayed in the Nida Apartments, fabulous self catering apartments, for a bargain €35 a night. We tried to hire bikes on our first day but all the rental businesses had packed up shop for the season so resorted to walking. We trekked up to the Parnidis Dune and had a sandy, windy picnic and meandered through the pine forest behind our apartments on our way home.
After a day in bed (Riga caught up with us), we were able to hire bikes on the Saturday. The Curonian Spit is perfect for cycling. It has a flat cycle path running the full length of the Spit and many smaller tracks running off in random directions, some taking you to secluded stretches of beaches and others to total dead ends. We rode all afternoon until we were sufficiently pooped, which was only around 20km...a far cry from the 60 miles we were averaging a day 5 short months ago!!
We started the next morning with an early morning cycle along a path following the beach and spent the afternoon browsing the local craft shops that had opened up for the weekend.
As you can see from the photos, the Curonian Spit is stunning and the perfect place for a proper relaxing, outdoor weekend. I can't imagine that even in the height of summer it would feel over-crowded and thanks to the exchange rate, it works out to be pretty cheap. It is a bit of a hassle to access but well worth the effort.
We finished our European travels with a couple of nights in Kaunas. We caught up with Jolanta, Tom's old work colleague, who is from Kaunas. She treated us out to a traditional meal in the evening, which consisted of deep fried bread smothered in mayonnaise and cheese, brown bread bowls filled with mushroom stew, pork with a bernaise sauce, perfectly grilled kebab and pork stuffed dumplings. We capped the evening off with 3 cakes and coffee. Amazing!
The town of Kaunas is gorgeous. It has one of the best pedestrian walkways I have ever seen which leads along the main shopping street into the quaint Old Town. It is easy to spend 2+ hours wandering along the road.
Our final evening involved attending our first ever salsa class. 'Twas an interested evening with both Tom and myself struggling to pick up the basics... especially since it was in Lithuanian. I have never felt such panic as I did when I realised it was my turn to dance with the instructor in the middle of the circle in front of the 30 class participants. Meanwhile Tom seemed to be having a fabulous time twirling girl after girl around.
And that concludes the European leg of our adventure. It has been amazing and we have seen and learnt so much! However we are both excited to be moving onto a new continent as we are getting a wee bit sick of the Old Towns! Farewell Europe!
PS. Our time at the Curonian Spit was enhanced by the discovery of the worlds best pancake recipe. One banana, two eggs and some shredded coconut. Combine, cook and top with fruit. It's the bomb jiggity!