Liepaja and Palanga

We're currently in Palanga on Lithuania's Baltic coast. It's a tourist resort kinda town and quite nice.

After three sweltering days in Riga with temperatures above 35 degrees, we were in need of a beach. The water in the Gulf of Riga is very shallow, as we found in Parnu, and the water temperature was around 25 degrees, so we decided to hit the Baltic coast in search of cooler water, and maybe even waves.

So we headed to Jurkalne on Latvia's Baltic coast. Of course the weather changed on our way and it was quite chilly by the time we arrived. The place was tiny, with our little campsite serviced only by pit toilets adn ample firewood. The location was beautiful, just back from the beach behind steep dunes. The water was indeed cold, and pretty decent waves, but it was too cold to swim.

At the campsite we met a group of three scouts who were spending three weeks travelling around the Baltics by foot or hitch hiking. Couldn't imagine that being sanctioned behaviour for scouts in Australia! Anyway, we cooked up a big campfire feast of sausages, baked potatoes and salad and chatted into the night with the scouts. Lots of fun.

Heading down the coast we arrived quite late in Liepaja, a large seaside resort town and port. The tourist information office was closed for the day, so we had to wing it somewhat. We waylaid some French tourists who let us look at their guidebook, more detailed than our's, until we found the cheapest accomodation in town, the 38th Liepaja Technical School's Hostel. Interesting place to stay, to say the least. I can confirm that Latvian students certainly don't stay in the lap of luxury, though the town's beach is stunning.

We crossed the border the following morning into Lithuania and where we're currently based, Palanga. We're staying in a pretty ratty campsite 3km outside town, but it's a lot cheaper than all the other places. Nice town too, with lots of seaside activities. In the high winds yesterday we watched some very skillful kite surfers bouncing around the waves.

Tomorrow we're heading futher South, to Klaipeda, at the mouth of the Curonian Lagoon. This lagoon is created by a 52 km spit of land stretching out from Russia's Kaliningrad enclave into Lithuanian territory. It's supposed to be amazing. The following day we're off to Nida further down the spit towards Kaliningrad. We'll be meeting up with Hannah and Des down there and spend a couple of days before heading towards Vilnius. Better yet, Hannah and Des have a car!

So far Lithuania's accomodation has been a lot pricier than Latvia and Lithuania. Cheapest in Nida seems to be €40 a night! Fortunately there's a modern campground a couple of kilometres out. Lucky we've got our tent!

Quite enjoying the Eastern European experience. Lots of new things to eat. I've been particularly enjoying kvass which is a refreshing soft drink made from fermented black bread.