Tuesday, June 26, 2012

179 steps to a sundial

First off, let me give credit to Mom for this blog post title.  Once upon a Tuesday, when we were hiking the steepest wooden stairs of my life to a giant sand dune, Mom decided to count them. And there were 179. I'll explain.

Today, we decided to go to NIDA!  For the 0.34% of the population who actually know where that is, ignore this next paragraph. For every one else:

The blue bit is Palanga, the Green Klaipeda, and the Pink is Nida!
 Lithuania is set on the Baltic Coast, with a long island extending on it's left.  On the bottom of this island, is the little town of Nida! To get there, we took a shuttle from Palanga to Klaipeda, a ferry across the sea from Klaipeda to Smiltyne, and a bus from Smiltyne to Nida. All in all, probably about 2 hours of travel. But we made it there! And when we did, we found the greatest stuff in that lil' town :)
Oh, and did I mention it was rainy and windy? That's a tree that was blown over down the road from our hotel.

On the ferry stop going to Smiltyne - the combination of rain and huge waves flooded the dock, so we took refuge by standing on the benches :)

The industrial portion of the Klaipeda boat dock. Feel free to appreciate the 382 cranes. We saw one painted like a giraffe.

The ferry, coming to transport our soggy selves over to Smiltyne

The ferry workers were kind enough to lay a gangplank across the bigger flodded portions

Mom and I, riding the ferry and layered in every sweatshirt we brought.  And a scarf.  I'll admit, the ferry ride was a little anticlimactic. I was SUPER excited to be on a ferry for the first time, all prepared to see the open Sea and feel the breeze... then I realize the whole ride lasted about 6 minutes and we were only going across the small strip of harbor. Boo.
The strange little door leading to nowhere that we discovered behind an Amber shop.

We were confused. Apparently, happy. But confused nonetheless.

All the trees have scoliosis here. Mom made about 27 bad jokes about it. 
Here is the beginning of our journey - aka, the 179 steps to a sundial!

There were alot of stairs.

And there was a strange abundance of mini florescent green caterpillars on said stairs.
Once we got to the top of the stairs though, we found a super cool sundial! It's full functional, and each step represents a month of the year. Depending on where the shadow falls, it also indicates the solstices, and various seasons.
Mom and I, with our new friend, Sonny (the sundial)
Once you went a little farther though, that's where the real fun was...
The view over the extension of the island.  It was AMAZING to see - on one side, the ocean spray and rain blew onto the right coast, while the left side was desert sand dunes and shrub. You can literally see the dividing lines where they morphed, and the sight was incredible.
The forest side -
The desert side.
These sand dunes were easily the highlight of our trip to Nida - I loved the clash of land, colors and overall beauty.
After the sand dunes, we just explored Nida -

 At the end of the day, we boarded our bus back to Palanga happy we made the effort to go to Nida, and deserving sleep :)

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